10.28.2003 (NEW YORK CITY) : Thanks to the Vail Film Institute, rights to the music of George and Ira Gershwin is available to independent filmmakers for the price of...well, for a song.

The Gershwin Foundation announced this week a short film contest worthy of its namesake: The Gershwin Showcase, to be presented at the 2004 Vail Film Festival.

George and Ira Gershwin wrote many of the most popular songs of the last hundred years, and selected recordings of these songs, by a mélange of artists, have been released for this short-film contest. Music rights have been granted to allow filmmakers to create short films inspired by, and showcasing the Gershwin tune of their choice.

Following submission to the contest, the films will be reviewed by the Gershwin Showcase Jury, who will bestow perpetual music rights upon the films that meet their approval. Cash awards of over $7,000 will be given to the first- and second-place winners. A shorts program will then be assembled from the best films and given their world premiere at the first Vail Film Festival (April 1-4, 2004 in Vail, Colorado).

"The Gershwin families are very excited to be involved with the inauguration of the Vail Film Festival," says L.J. Strunsky, the Director of Marketing for Gershwin Enterprises. "The fusion of film and music was instrumental in the careers of George and Ira, and in introducing their songs nationally and internationally: We're just happy to be able to give back to the film industry in some way."

The judging will be based on the integration and use of the music within the film's structure. With the exception of music videos, all genres are accepted. All films must be under eight (8) minutes in length, and must not have been shown publicly prior to April 4, 2004.

Here's a list of the eligible recordings from the Gershwin catalogue:

I Got Rhythm, Robert Palmer (featuring Larry Adler)

Bidin' My Time, Johnny Hartman

Foggy Day, Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices, Gem)

Embraceable You, Duncan Sheik

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Fascinating Rhythm, Antonio Carlos Jobim

Little Jazz Bird, John Pizzarelli

(MP3s of each song will be available on the VFF website as of November 6th)

The Gershwin Showcase is an unprecedented opportunity for filmmakers - in addition to cash prizes and worldwide publicity, it's a golden ticket to music rights that up until now, indie filmmakers could only dream of (or steal). So, choose your inspiration, fill out a submission form, and pick out your song.

Oh, yeah &endash; don't forget to make the film.



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