As part of their Focus Forward—Short Films, Big Ideas program, GE and Cinelan are happy to announce the 95 semifinalists in the Focus Forward $200K Filmmaker Challenge Competition. The contest, officially announced at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, invited interested filmmakers to submit a 3-minute film about a person or an organization that has made a difference in the world through innovation and ingenuity in fields such as medicine, robotics, green energy and so on.

Out of nearly 100 semifinalists, five will receive cash prizes, including the Grand Jury Prize of $100,000, to be awarded at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The finalists for the cash prizes will be announced on Wednesday, November 28, through the Focus Forward website. The esteemed jury consists of Joe Berlinger, actress Daryl Hannah, Barbara Kopple, José Padilha, Floyd Webb, Peter Wintonick and Sundance Film Festival Senior Programmer Caroline Libresco.

Let your voice be heard by voting online in the Audience Favorite race for the entry that, in your opinion, best celebrates the innovation and ingenuity of the Focus Forward $200K Filmmaker Challenge Competition. All 95 semifinalists are eligible for the Audience prize as voted on by you, the viewers.

Another exciting announcement from Focus Forward is that six new shorts from the program, by award-winning directors like Alex Gibney, Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein, Steve James, and more will world premiere at the 2012 International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. These exceptional films will also be shown before select features in IDFA’s official 25th anniversary lineup.

“We are thrilled to welcome Focus Forward back to the festival on the occasion of our 25th anniversary,” said Ally Derks, Director of IDFA. “As we celebrate all aspects of documentary culture over the next eleven days, it only seems natural to integrate a program about innovation that is itself highly innovative and smart about the power of the Internet and creating new funding and distribution models.”

Not planning to be in Amsterdam? Don’t worry! You can watch and enjoy the six new Focus Forward shorts online after you vote for the Audience Favorite award. Remember, the voting and viewing period for the Audience Favorite ends December 20.

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