Apted selected to helm U.N. contest

People worldwide to submit videos that define democracy

DGA president Michael Apted has been chosen as jury co-chair for the Democracy Video Challenge, a competition sponsored by the United Nations.

Citizens from around the world are invited to submit three-minute videos online that define the nature of democracy and engage in a global dialogue on its meaning. The Challenge launched online and at the U.N. on Sept. 15, or International Democracy Day. Video submissions are due by Jan. 31.

"Film is a window into our common humanity -- the challenges and joys that make up the universal human experience -- no matter what language we speak or where we were born," Apted said. "The young filmmakers taking part in this challenge will harness the magic of this powerful art form to connect to people around the world in a global discussion on democracy."

Apted will oversee the selection of 21 finalists, who will represent six parts of the world. In the spring, online voters will then pick the winner of each regional section, and they will be flown to Washington, New York and Hollywood to meet leaders from film schools, government and nongovernmental organizations. The winners will also screen their films for the DGA and MPAA.

YouTube is providing the video platform, and WMA is providing part of the prize package.

The Challenge is supported by the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the International Youth Foundation, the DGA and MPAA, NBC Universal, New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal, USC's School of Cinematic Arts and the Department of State.

Apted, a documentarian and the director of "Enough" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," has served as DGA president for the past six years.