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Your chance to go Hollywood

Gail Choice | 5/20/2009, 5 p.m.

Hollywood, CA -- No doubt the summer movies, summer replacements shows on TV and all the hype, cause those who wish to become filmmakers to dream of what could be. Well, stop dreaming and start doing!

NBC Universal announces its newly expanded Fourth-Annual Short Cuts Film Festival targeting minority talent and filmmakers across all film genres. Call for entries began April 21 and continues to Aug. 21, 2009 so you still have time to be a part of it.

Originally the focus was on comedy. In 2005 actor/writer/comedian Wil Sylvince along with NBC Universal, founded Universal's Short Cuts Film Festival to display and celebrate diversity in the entertainment industry. But the decision to shift from comedy will make the Short Cuts Film Festival more inclusive. We gotta laugh, but now drama horror and sci-fi are also on the ticket, kudos to the studio's dedicated interest in identifying culturally diverse filmmakers, actors and content producers.

The winning participants will be granted an NBC Universal Talent Holding deal for the Best Actor, an NBC Universal pilot script deal and executive meetings for the Best Filmmaker-along with a special international directing assignment from the Sci Fi Channel.

Kendra Carter, director of Talent Diversity Initiatives, NBC Universal, says they are looking for diverse, fresh voices. Now, don't confuse that with age, like you have to be young. Carter says there is no age limit. But you do have to have a fresh take on an old idea, (it is commonly believed there are no new story ideas), or be able to express your idea in a unique way, and it has to be 30 minutes or less.

Carter says the Short Cuts Film Festival is a great opportunity for exposure for filmmakers and a great entry point into the entertainment industry as well. For instance, the semi-final showcase in September is held in conjunction with the New York Television Festival where producers, directors and industry movers and shakers will get to view the entries. Then it's on to the finals held in Los Angeles in October where once again, exposure is the thing.

She further explains that anyone can enter a project, "when we say it has to be diverse in production, cast or theme, if you're a White writer/director then your theme or cast or production needs to be diverse."

According to Carter another great award this year includes travel to a far off land. "The winning filmmaker gets to fly out to Bulgaria to shoot the behind the scenes footage for one of our original sci-fi series." She says there are some really great opportunities involved in this showcase.

"Our constant goal is to discover, develop and present cutting-edge work from a diverse perspective to our colleagues within the NBC Universal family and the entertainment industry at large" says Carter.

Carter has been in talent and casting for about 8 years. She left the Spike Channel; yes, the male targeted network, to join the NBC Universal team. Already armed with creative talents and experience which she learned first hand from the ground up as in her fist gig; intern, Carter has become a vital force with not only the Short Cuts Film Festival for NBC Universal, but for other talent search assignments such as showcases, sponsoring scholarships and more. She calls it "a job with a purpose. . .which is why I love it. My focus is diversity."

Do you think you have the talent and skills to make your mark in Hollywood? Then go for it.
For additional information, please visit the 2009 Short Cuts website: www.nbcshortcuts.com.

- Gail Choice can be reached at gailchoice@strictlyhollywood.com.