MPA, student fest team for anti-piracy message

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BEIJING -- The Beijing Student Film Festival and the Motion Picture Assn. are teaming for a Chinese anti-piracy film contest, the MPA announced Tuesday.

Organizers of the 14th annual BSFF and the MPA will sponsor the contest to select the best one-minute student-made film on the theme "Respect Copyrights, Stay Away from Piracy," the MPA said in a statement from Hong Kong.

The contest winner, to be selected from entries across China, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Hollywood to visit MPA member studios.

"Our partnership with the Beijing Student Film Festival represents a significant opportunity to reach out to China's 20 million university students, to give them an opportunity to think about the importance of copyright and the value of creative works," said Mike Ellis, MPA senior vp and Asia Pacific regional director.

MPA research shows that rampant movie piracy in China cost Chinese and overseas filmmakers a potential $2.7 billion in lost consumer spending on movie tickets and legal home entertainment products in 2005.

The MPA will not fund the student films but will retain the rebroadcast rights for the winning film, another regional spokesperson said.

It was not immediately clear when the contest will be held.

Begun in 1993, the BSFF usually takes place in April and is sponsored by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Radio and Television and Beijing Normal University. Last year, filmmakers from 150 universities participated in the festival.

Despite increased MPA anti-piracy efforts in China and regular government crackdowns on illegal DVD makers and sellers -- including stiffer penalties for pirates -- pirated, DVD copies of most first-run films from around the world can be bought on the streets of the capital for as little as $1 without fear of recrimination.
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