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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

PBS station WGBH is seeking short videos about gay rights

Open Call: Stonewall Uprising and Gay Rights in 2011

Crowdsourcing Initiative  Invites Public to Submit Short Videos on Today’s
Gay Civil Rights Movement

Judges include Cyndi Lauper and Dan Savage

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and WGBH Lab, a creative incubator for public media, today announced an Open Call video contest entitled Stonewall Uprising and Gay Rights in 2011. The Open Call welcomes work from all citizen reporters, journalists, video-bloggers, documentary storytellers, animators and new media-makers.  The challenge: show us where Stonewall’s legacy in the gay rights movement is happening today.  Five cash prizes of $1000 will be awarded and the single best video, selected by WGBH Lab and a panel of judges, will premiere on the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE following the April 25, 2011 television broadcast of Stonewall Uprising, the acclaimed documentary on the history of the 1969 riots that sparked the fight for gay civil rights. Submissions will be accepted from November 22, 2010 to February 14, 2011. Complete details on submissions are here:

The panel of judges includes Cyndi Lauper, whose “Give a Damn” campaign aims to raise awareness within the straight community of discrimination against those of GLBT orientation, as well as Dan Savage, the journalist whose “It Gets Better” campaign works to boost the morale of gay teenagers who have experienced bullying and has created a national outpouring of support.  Other judges include Mark Samels, Executive Producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE; Stonewall Uprising Associate Producer and Advisor Eric Marcus; and Michael Rosenblum, founder of Rosenblum Media, who works with Video Volunteers to train the developing world on using media for social change.

On June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall bar was the scene of demonstrations and riots that erupted when gay patrons, fed up with brutal, routine bar raids by the NYPD Vice Squad, decided to fight back. They took their cause to the streets in protest for six days and sparked the modern movement for gay civil rights.

Forty years ago, gays and lesbians had to hide their identity or risk arrest. Today, a new generation fights the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy and debates same sex marriage legislation. Hundreds have responded to the tragic suicides of young people—bullied because they were gay—with video and social media campaigns asking youth to resist becoming another tragedy.

The Stonewall Uprising Open Call is sponsored by the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Media Partners include the True Colors Fund/Give a Damn, the It Gets Better Project, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the PBS series P.O.V., Rosenblum TV, and Illinois Public Television

Watch a trailer for Stonewall Uprising at

Meet the Judges

Cyndi Lauper is a Grammy and Emmy award winning artist with more than 25 sterling years and global record sales in excess of 30 million. Cyndi Lauper has proven that she has the heart and soul to keep her legion of fans compelled by her every creative move. In June 2010 she released her 11th studio album entitled Memphis Blues, which sat atop the Billboard Blues Chart for 14 consecutive weeks and is her 5th top 40 album of her career. 2011 promises to be another amazing period for this career artist as Lauper is set to release her autobiography through Simon & Schuster, launch her own reality show in partnership with Mark Burnett Productions, complete work writing the music for the Broadway show Kinky Boots, and continue her philanthropic work on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community through her foundation, the True Colors Fund, and its Give a Damn Campaign, which works to inspire straight people to get involved in advancing equality.

Dan Savage
is author of the internationally syndicated relationship and sex column Savage Love and the weekly podcast Savage Lovecast. He is editorial director of the Seattle weekly The Stranger, where he was formerly Editor-in-Chief. He is a regular to contributor to PRI's This American Life and has been featured as a Real Time Reporter on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. Dan heard about the suicides of Justin Aaberg and Billy Lucas and had a reaction so many LGBT adults had. “I wish I could’ve talked to that kid for five minutes before he killed himself,” Dan recently said. “I’d tell him that however bad it was in high school or middle gets better.” The It Gets Better Project was born.

Mark Samels was named Executive Producer of PBS’s flagship history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, in 2003 after serving as senior producer since 1997. Produced by WGBH/Boston, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is television’s most-watched and longest running history series, and the recipient of every major industry award, including the Peabody, Primetime Emmy, Writers Guild and duPont-Columbia Journalism Award. Numerous films for the series have been recognized at major film festivals, including Sundance, and eight have been nominated for Academy Awards®. Prior to joining WGBH, Samels worked as an independent documentary filmmaker, an executive producer for several U.S. public television stations and as a producer for the first co-production between Japanese and American television. A native of Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Eric Marcus is a New York Times best-selling author who writes books primarily of LGBT interest, including, Is It a Choice?, Why Suicide?, and Making Gay History: The Half-Century Fight for Lesbian & Gay Equal Rights. Eric is a former associate producer for ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS Morning News.  He served as Associate Producer and Advisor on Stonewall Uprising and lives with his partner in New York City.

Michael Rosenblum is the founder of Rosenblum Media, which includes the Travel Channel Academy, Rosenblum Films and Rosenblum TV. He is the creator of the videojournalism style of news reporting. Rosenblum built the first major VJ-driven local TV news operation at NY News. He later went on to train VJs at Voice of America, the New York Times, the BBC, German Public TV, Dutch Public TV and many other VJ-driven news operations around the world. On the board of Video Volunteers, an international media organization empowering the voices of the world’s unheard communities, he shares his training methods with the developing world as a tool in social change. Rosenblum blogs daily about the latest developments in the world of video and the media as well as future trends in technology and equipment. His latest feat: New York Video School, a complete online digital school, entirely done in video:

About the WGBH Lab

The WGBH Lab is an initiative designed to engage the public to help shape the future of public media. Following the footsteps of WGBH's New Television Workshop, which brought video to life in an age of film, the WGBH Lab is a creative incubator. The Lab encourages emerging talent, aided by the latest technology, to pave new ways of making and interacting with content. What remains the same is WGBH's commitment to substance, quality, and independent voices. The engine of the Lab is innovation. In an age where any screen—your TV, your computer, your cell phone or PDA—is part of the media experience, the Lab seeks to develop content to fit. By participating in the Lab’s Open Calls, the public can take its work to a new level, win prizes or a chance to make it on-air, and contribute to the content the Lab distributes to our partners in broadcast.

The WGBH Lab stands at the intersection of broadband and broadcast. The creative results of the Lab may appear on WGBH TV, and, as our partnerships expand, more broadly on PBS. The WGBH Lab is an innovation of WGBH’s Boston Media Productions, a leader in local news, public affairs, arts, and bi-cultural productions. 

Television's most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE has been hailed as "peerless" (Wall Street Journal), "the most consistently enriching program on television" (Chicago Tribune), and "a beacon of intelligence and purpose" (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America's past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including twenty-four Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and fourteen George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for "Two Days in October."

Publicity Contacts:

CaraMar Publicity
Mary Lugo, 770.623.8190
Cara White, 843.881.1480
Abbe Harris, 908.233-7990

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