U.N. names helmer


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

Citizens worldwide 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, 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 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 screen their films for the DGA and MPAA.

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

Apted is a documentarian and director of such films as "Enough" and "Coal Miner's Daughter." (partialdiff)