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BURBANK, CA (September 22, 2006) The first annual NBCUniversal Short Film Festival announced its winning filmmakers at the Los Angeles finalist screening Wednesday, September 20 with the $25,000 grand prize to produce a pilot presentation for NBCUniversal Digital Media and pitch meeting with creative executives Rogue Pictures, Focus Features, and Universal Pictures awarded to the filmmakers of “Equal Opportunity.”

The "Comedy Short Cuts" Festival is just one of many programs that NBCUniversal produces to encourage diversity both in front of and behind the camera. This festival was also a celebration of the recent launch of, the online community that serves as a hub for diversity across all aspects of the entertainment industry spearheaded by Damona Resnick, Director of Talent Diversity Initiatives for NBC. The NBCUniversal Diversity Initiative was launched in collaboration with Kevin Seldon and Keldof Marketing, who also co-produces the Short Film Fest. Keldof is a specialty-branding firm that creates and executes a wide array of marketing initiatives and partnerships for its clientele. Comedy Short Cuts was co-founded by New York Comedian Wil Sylvince (comedian, “Comic View,” “Def Comedy Jam,) and a writer for Damon Wayans’ “The Underground” for Showtime.

“Comedy Short Cuts was a particularly exciting endeavor for us as it integrated the many facets of our diversity efforts by seeking out projects with diverse production team, casts, or theme. We have brought our diversity initiatives to the next level with this event,” said Resnick.

“Equal Opportunity” was presented with the “Best Film” award by D.L. Hughley, star of NBC’s new show, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The team behind the film, Camille Mana (producer), Sameer Asad Gardezi (writer), and Howard Duy Vu (director) were awarded a $25,000 grant to produce a pilot presentation for NBCUniversal Digital Media and pitch meetings with Universal Pictures, Focus Features, and Rogue Pictures.

In addition to the Best Film category, selected by a panel of top NBC development executives, honors were also awarded for Most Creative Short and Best Character by a panel of judges (pictured upper left with festival producers) comprised of Eddie Steeples (My Name is Earl), Leslie David Baker (The Office), Jon Hurwitz (co-writer, Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) and Stephanie Allain (producer, Hustle & Flow & Focus Features’ Something New). Both categories were awarded to the video titled “Virus” by filmmaker Laura Hayes (pictured bottom left with host DL Hughley).

The voting window is still open for the online audience award, and is currently being showcased on the film homepages of both and The Award will be decided by online viewers at and will be announced on October 2nd, 2006.

The festival also marked a growing partnership between NBCUniversal sister networks' Bravo, SciFi, USA Networks, and Telemundo, as well as Rogue Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Pictures. Corporate partners included Blockbuster, Avid, Entertainment Partners, Final Draft, Coby, Palm,, Puma, Baseline StudioSystems, Without-a-box, Goodstorm, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Starwood Hotels.

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