AmEx Creates 15-Second Video Contest

American Express is asking video hobbyists and aspiring filmmakers to submit their 15-second clips online for a chance to win $15,000.

The contest, which runs through April 26, is part of the company’s sponsorship of the Tribeca Film Festival and its “My Life. My Card.” campaign.

Participants are asked to conceive their submissions around one of thirteen topics, such as “childhood ambition,” “fondest memory,” “alarm clock,” and “favorite movie.” A sophisticated microsite is home to the promotion, offering details of the contest and a gallery of recently submitted clips.

To promote the effort, American Express has bought prominent ad placements on a variety of big sites, including Yahoo, AOL, MSNBC, AtomFilms.com and the American Movie Channel’s Web presence at AMCTV.com. Paid search ads, on keywords like “film contest,” are appearing on Google.

“This online competition not only encourages storytelling but also helps to bring the spirit of the Tribeca Film Festival and filmmaking to an even larger group of people,” said an American Express spokeswoman.

Web-enabled video competitions have been big over the past year. Companies launching their own film contests have included Chrysler, Ford, Verizon and Intel. American Express itself sponsored an Amazon-hosted film contest as part of its Festival sponsorship last year.

Film directors Martin Scorsese and M. Night Shyamalan are among the judges for the “My life. My card.” competition. In addition to the cash prize, a winner will be flown to New York and honored at the Tribeca Film Festival there. 100 finalists will each receive iPods pre-loaded with all of their short-listed videos.

Some of the contest submissions will be showcased on American Express’ “My Life” podcasting channel on iTunes and on Moviefone.com/tribeca, an AOL-owned site with Tribeca Film Festival movie showtimes and coverage.

The 15-Second Clips Competition requires all entrants obtain and fax signed model releases and premises permits for outside actors and familiar locations. AmEx declined to say whether it would use any of the user-created footage in its broadcast or online video ad campaigns.

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