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New Website Geared Towards Teen Film, Video, Radio And New Media Makers
YMDi.org Launches on September 30 with $1,000 “See Change, Make Change” Youth Media Contest


New York, NY, September 26, 2003—This first of its kind website for young media makers interested in film, video, radio, and new media will go live at www.YMDi.org on September 30, 2003. YMDi (Youth Media Distribution), created by not-for-profit organization MediaRights.org, is geared towards youth media makers and activists ages 13-21, as well as towards all those who want to see youth produced media. YMDi.org will be a meeting ground and free web resource for youth media makers and those who work with them, focusing specifically on providing youth with the tools they need to distribute their own work. The site will also help teachers, activists, librarians, broadcasters, and film festivals find youth media for educational and entertainment purposes. Young media makers can get access to all of YMDi.org’s resources for free by becoming a member, registering at the site and creating a profile. A call for entries for the See Change, Make Change youth media contest will kick off the website launch. Two winners will be selected by a jury and awarded $1,000 each (1) for best youth made film/video story and (1) for best new media/digital story. (see details below)

YMDi.org will include:
A searchable database of hundreds of youth made films, video, radio, and new media
A special section for teachers, youth media trainers and activists including lesson plans and activities on teaching media distribution
A toolkit designed to enable young media makers to distribute their work
Streaming video and audio of youth made films, video, radio, and new media work
Youth related political and cultural news
Off site workshops including distribution training workshops for youth media makers and activists

“With the advent of many youth video production programs, the rise of youth filmmakers in film festivals, and the success of youth working on films behind the scenes, we believe it is crucial to offer young media makers the tools to take their skills to the next level,” said MediaRights.org Program Director, Kibra A. Yohannes. “YMDi.org will make it possible for young media makers to showcase their films, radio, or new media pieces, post announcements, discuss ideas and learn how to distribute their work. In addition, media educators can find tools on teaching media distribution, and festival programmers, broadcasters and community organizers can search the database for youth made films—all for free.”

YMDi.org is sponsored by AOL Time Warner Foundation, The Open Society Institute, and The Waitt Family Foundation. Michele Sacconaghi, Executive Director, AOL Time Warner Foundation said, “Time Warner believes that the practice of filmmaking can teach youth the essentials of communication, creative and critical thinking skills, and it is a great way of building teamwork. We are proud to be one of the sponsors of YMDi.org.” Anna Leffer, Youth Media Program Officer at The Open Society Institute added, “We are committed to helping young people develop the skills to not only express their points of view, but to produce media that can make a positive impact on their communities.” Ellen Furnari, Director of The Waitt Family Foundation said, “It is critical to provide places where young people can tell their own stories, revealing extraordinary contributions to their communities and inspiring others to help create strong, nurturing places to grow up.” YMDi.org partners include: Active Element Foundation, Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA), gURL.com, Listen Up, National Council of Teachers of English, Video Machete and Wire Tap.

About the YMDi.org Contest
The September 30th launch of the Youth Media Distribution website announces the See Change, Make Change media contest. YMDi.org is looking for the best youth made film/video and new media/digital stories. Two winners will be selected by a jury and awarded $1,000 each for their distribution and outreach. In addition to the cash prizes, the See Change, Make Change media contest winners will be automatically selected for the Media That Matters Film Festival and featured in the 2004 online film festival when it is broadcast to 11 million viewers via DISH satellite and screened in hundreds of communities as a traveling exhibition. The award-winning projects will be included among other festival selections on 10,000 DVDs to be distributed around the country. Entry into the contest is free and all submissions must be under 8 minutes long. The deadline for entries is November 14, 2003. For an application and more information go to www.YMDi.org or contact 646.230.6288.

About MediaRights.org
The Youth Media Distribution website is presented by MediaRights.org, a non-profit organization building the capacity of community organizations and filmmakers to reach, teach, activate, and educate their constituencies. MediaRights.org promotes the exhibition of documentaries in non-traditional venues and puts filmmakers in touch with new audiences. Equipped with the nation’s most comprehensive database of politically and socially engaged films and videos, MediaRights.org provides educators and librarians with the tools they need to create video curricula, curate audio/visual collections and use film more effectively in the classroom. More than 30,000 users visit MediaRights.org each month making the site one of the most vibrant online centers for community/filmmaker collaborations.

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ymdipressrelease.jpgFor press information about YMDi.org, contact Fatima Kafele at (917) 723-1494 or fatimakafele@aol.com, or contact YMDi.org/MediaRights.org at 646-230-6288.

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this press release as a PDF
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