DVC 212x348_Banner_AWARD_v2We are excited today to announce that Łukasz Szozda, one of the Polish entrants in the global YouTube/U.S. Department of State Democracy Video Challenge, has won the grand prize for Europe.  When he heard the news, Ambassador Victor Ashe responded:

 “We are very proud to see that one of the excellent contributions by Polish video artists went on to win the grand prize for Europe.  Congratulations to Łukasz from all of us in the U.S. Mission to Poland. Your uplifting and appealing video clearly struck the same chord with voters from around the world as it did with Polish voters and American diplomats in Poland.”

Mr. Szozda will travel to New York, Washington DC, and Hollywood in October 2009, where he and the five other grand prize winners from other regions around the world will meet with democracy activists and members of the film and television industry. The videos by Mr. Szozda and the other regional winners will be featured in a gala screening hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America.  To see Łukasz Szozda’s winning entry, click here.  

Mr. Szozda’s video is one of over 900 entries from 95 countries that competed for six grand prizes.  The Democracy Video Challenge ran from October 2008 through January 2009, promoted in Poland by the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, the U.S. Consulate General in Krakow, MTV Poland, the Center for Citizenship Education, and POLIS – the association of young journalists.  Three Polish semi-finalists were selected by an open vote and were announced by legendary Polish film director Andrzej Wajda at the New Media/New Democracy Forum in March 2009 at Warsaw’s Fabryka Trzciny.  A jury chaired by award-winning director Michael Apted and renowned economist Hernando de Soto selected three finalists from each region, with Mr. Szozda’s film competing for the grand prize from Europe.  From May 15 to June 15, 2009, people from all over the world voted through YouTube for their favorite films — and Mr. Szozda’s entry won! (more…)

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It is our pleasure to announce that Łukasz Szozda, one of over 26 Poles who submitted their videos for the “Democracy Is…”  YouTube/U.S. Department of State Video Challenge, was chosen as one of the 18 global finalists and will represent Europe in the last stage of the contest.  The jury selected his animated film from among 196 submissions by filmmakers from around the world who made it to the semi-finals. Congratulations Łukasz!

Public voting to select six grand prize winners opened on May 15 and will continue until midnight on June 15 (EST).  The U.S. Embassy in Warsaw would like to encourage everyone to vote for their favorite video here.

Six winners will be selected from the 18 finalists – one each from the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Middle East/North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia and East Asia/Pacific – and grand prize winners will be announced in mid-June 2009. The winners will receive an all-expense-paid trip in September to Washington, New York and Hollywood. The prize package includes time on television/film sets, meetings with film professionals, democracy advocates, the media, government officials, and special screenings of their videos.

The finalists, chosen from among a pool of more than 900 entries from 95 countries, represent Brazil (2), Cote d’Ivoire, Germany, India, Iran (2), Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, the United States, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. These videos provide an array of voices and visions about democracy from around the world. The finalists were selected by an independent jury, co-chaired by Michael Apted (President of the Directors Guild of America) and Hernando de Soto (President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy).

Here’s what’s going to happen next: (more…)