Pangea Day docu project cuts across cultures


CANNES --With Cameron Diaz, Goldie Hawn and Meg Ryan already on board as advisers, documentary filmmaker Jehane Noujaim on Monday launched a global initiative to "inspire understanding across cultures and nations" through film.

The project, Pangea Day, combines 20-30 short films from around the world with live links from eight cities into four hours of programming that will air live May 10 on television, online, digital cinemas and mobile phones.

"The idea came from the belief that film can create a ripple effect of dialogue," said Noujaim, who directed the 2004 documentary "Control Room," about coverage of the Iraq War.

Pangea Day is being billed as an antidote to a world in which "people are divided by borders, race, religion and conflict but most of all by misunderstanding and mistrust," the organization said.

"Movies alone can't change the world, but the people who watch them can," Noujaim said Monday at a news briefing at MIPCOM.

The question to amateur and professional filmmakers is, "If they had the world's attention for five minutes, what story would they tell?" she said. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 15.

Noujaim created Pangea Day after winning an award from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), an annual event for global thinkers and leaders held in Monterey, Calif.

"The whole day is in celebration of what it is that unites us," said TED Conferences curator Chris Anderson, who has pledged $1 million to the project.

"If we don't find a way to bring young people together, we're in for a very bloody century," said Eboo Patel, the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, which also is supporting the Pangea Day project.

Pangea Day venues include Cairo; Jerusalem; London; Kigali, Rwanda; and New York.