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Press Release

Zambian Filmmakers Lead Africa in U.S. Democracy Video Challenge Submissions: three chosen to advance to regional competition (March 11, 2009)

Lusaka. March 11, 2009.

LUSAKA—Zambia’s amateur and professional filmmakers proved themselves to be the most prolific in Africa, submitting nine short films for the U.S. Department of State’s Democracy Video Challenge, the most of any country on the continent.

Speaking at a screening of the nine films Wednesday evening, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Koplovsky commended all the filmmakers for their ambition in entering the contest, and challenged the audience to work together to promote civic involvement.

“As Zambia moves towards the 2011 elections, many individuals and organizations will be working to engage voters and overcome apathy,” said Koplovsky. “I hope each of you will continue to use your talents to reach out to your fellow citizens and ensure democracy is alive and well in Zambia.”

The Democracy Video Challenge, launched online and at the United Nations on International Democracy Day 2008, invited citizens around the world to engage in an online global dialogue on the nature of democracy by submitting three-minute videos that completed the phrase “Democracy is….” From Zambia, filmmakers Moses Banda, Charity Mbozi, Jerome Mulambya, Jonas Mumba, Kenny Mumba, George Howard Musonda, Christopher Phiri, Chansa Tembo and Edwin Zulu entered the contest. All nine films can be viewed on the U.S. Embassy’s YouTube site at

From the nine submitted videos, a judging panel selected the films by Jonas Mumba, Christopher Phiri and Chansa Tembo to move on to the regional competition. In April, an independent jury, co-chaired by economist Hernando de Soto and Directors Guild of America president Michael Apted, will select three films from each region for the final worldwide voting that will take place from May 15 – June 15.

The online voting public will choose one winner from each region, each of whom will receive an all-expense paid trip to the United States and meet leaders from top U.S. film schools, government and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, winners will participate in gala screenings of their videos hosted by the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association of America and meet with leaders in the U.S. film and entertainment industry.

“We were thrilled with the response from the Zambian filmmakers,” said Deputy Public Affairs Officer Sara Veldhuizen Stealy. “Their films showed thoughtfulness and originality, and we hope Zambians will watch the videos on YouTube and use them as a catalyst for dialogue about democracy.”

Challenge partners include the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the International Youth Foundation, the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal, the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, and the U.S. Department of State. YouTube is providing the video platform and William Morris Talent Agency is providing part of the prize package.

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