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Can One Video Stop Hate?

Six Semi-Finalists Chosen in Video Competition Aiming to End Intolerance

By (BI) Jessica Underwood

NEW YORK-- Six semi-finalists for the first "Seeds of Tolerance" video competition were announced this week. The competition, invited aspiring filmmakers to produce short 5-10 minute videos that illuminate the human struggle and consequences of intolerance.

The videos were screened by a panel of celebrity judges, including writer-director M. Night Shyamalan, actor Jeffrey Wright, 2006 Oscar winner Paul Haggis (Best Picture, Crash), actor Edward Norton, musician Melissa Etheridge, comedian Margaret Cho, and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me).

"Change starts with listening. Instead of preaching the message of tolerance to young adults, we want to challenge them to discuss the issue by using their own creativity, voices and perspectives. By making compelling content, we invite everyone to join the dialogue," said contest creator Dr. Marco Stoffel.

"Understanding and appreciating diversity is important for all of us. The quality of videos we've received in this campaign shows what happens when you allow this generation to showcase their talent and express themselves. We hope this inspires more people to pick up a camera and use the medium of video to stir up conversation around these issues."

Al Gore, who is also active in the creation of this contest stated, "Over the past year, I've discovered first-hand how the power of film can create lasting and meaningful dialogue about critical issues. I'm proud of all six of these filmmakers, and hope that this sparks critical discussion around the issues surrounding tolerance."

The six semi-finalists' videos delve into a wide range of timely, hot-button issues, from sex trafficking to homophobia. The winner will now be decided by the public on December 1st. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000 cash, with an additional $15,000 given to a relevant charity of his or her choice. Two finalists will each receive $10,000 cash.

The winners will be announced at a red carpet event in Los Angeles on December 14.

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