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Democracy Challenge

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ATTN: Mr. Democrat, 2010 Digital
Democracy Challenge
Curated by: U.S. Dept. of State

world wide web
world wide
world wide
Iran, Islamic Republic of
May 15th, 2010 - June 15th, 2010
Opening: May 15th, 2010 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

QUICK FACTS
WEBSITE:  
http://www.youtube.com/democracychalleng...
COUNTRY:  
Iran, Islamic Republic of
OPEN HOURS:  
24 hrs. a day through midnight in the last time zone June 15th
TAGS:  
freedom digital conceptual modern, video, democracy, iran, performance graffiti/street-art video-art figurative
COST:  
free

DESCRIPTION

 

Farbod Khoshtinat's short film, ATTN: Mr. Democrat, has been selected by judges for the Democracy Video Challenge to represent Iran in the final round of this competition. Khoshtinat's short is competing with videos from Israel and Algeria in the Near East category, one of six geographic divisions. Winners will be decided by "thumbs up" votes cast by signed in YouTube users who view the video via www.youtube.com/democracychallenge. One vote per video may be cast each day through June 15, 2010.

How to vote for ATTN: Mr. Democrat
Sign In to your YouTube account
Go to www.youtube.com/democracychallenge
Click on VOTE, search for ATTN: Mr. Democrat
Click on green thumbs up to vote

Thousands of Iranians have risked imprisonment, torture and death for demanding freedom and democracy, especially when they question the outcome that the Islamic Republic proclaimed regarding the June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential election. In a biographical statement submitted with his video, Khoshtinat wrote, "I am an artist, an Iranian film maker and a twenty one year old freedom fighter. I believe that one of the greatest things about art is that it gives us the ability to see, imagine and feel things in a certain way. This belief was the main reason I wanted to participate in this challenge, to give the opportunity to the people around the world to see how democracy is practiced in my country, so I visualized it through art; I wanted them to see it through my certain way of visualizing. As a young student who is studying abroad, this was the least thing I could do for my people since we all are in the quest for democracy."

Khoshtinat is no mere student. He edited the music video sequences for the Cannes award-winning film, No One Knows About the Persian Cats. And the music video Khoshtinat made for Iranian rapper Hichkas' Ye Mosht Sarbaz has received over 200,000 views on YouTube. Khoshtinat was a teenager in Tehran when he made Hichkas' video under the pseudonym "Fred" in hopes of evading arrest for promoting Western music in violation of Iran's strict Islamic laws.

YouTube Google analytics maps under the videos reflect the countries from which votes for the videos are cast. Countries grow greener as more votes are cast. The map for Khoshtinat's video (at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KI6oOgG-HRg ) shows far broader geographic support. Although some of the votes credited to the US and Canada could be due to proxy servers helping Iranians to access full internet despite the Iranian government's blockade against YouTube, voters in Russia, Scandinavia, Africa and Israel are also showing support for ATTN: Mr. Democrat. Wide support should come as no surprise because it is an exceptionally well written, highly artistic and beautifully scored short film--and because there are people all over the world who support freedom and fair elections. As of June 13, 2010, 3:19am, Khoshtinat's upload of ATTN: Mr. Democrat has received 10,912 views on YouTube. But because several thousand of those views took place before the May 15th beginning of the final round of this competition, many of those views could not be counted as votes. The closest competitor, Democracy Is… video by Israelis Tomer Zemel, Maria Levitin and Orit Englander received 7,042 views as of 3:19am June 13, 2010. But at least 5,000 of these views took place after the video was embedded on Russian websites www.newsru.co.il, www.newsru.com, www.sem40.ru, and was covered by Israeli journalists online and in Israeli newspapers. The winner of this competition will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., New York and Hollywood, gala screenings of the winning videos in Hollywood, New York and Washington, exposure to filmmakers and the U.S. film and television industry, and meetings with democracy advocates from government, media and civil society.--Julie Ashcraft A.K.A. Jigsawnovich