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Pop musicians make the grade at mtvU

Viacom and State Dept. join forces

College web mtvU has greenlit a pair of series, a nonfiction skein about mental health starring pop musicians and an unscripted series featuring the work of young L.A. filmmakers.

Net has picked up half-hour interview show “Half of Us,” in which Mary J. Blige, Nelly Furtado and Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz discuss their mental-health battles.

Rep for mtvU described the segments as “intimate sessions” about the subject; Blige, for instance, talks about her experience with child abuse, while Wentz delves into his depression. Students also appear on air talking about their own bouts with mental-health crises.

Second series, “The Ronnie Day Project,” will feature a team of L.A.-based filmmakers shooting chapters about the making of singer-songwriter’s Ronnie Day’s upcoming album.

Net, which is transmitted to about 750 college campuses and also simulcast on the Web, also announced that its “Live Leak” series will featuring up-and-coming band the Academy.

And most oddly, Viacom net is pacting with the U.S. State Dept. on Fulbright-mtvU fellowships. As many as four students will get yearlong grants to visit foreign countries and research “how music can serve as a global force for mutual understanding.”

Among the judges for the grants are Fiona Apple, Shins frontman James Mercer and the rapper Common.

MtvU, which has a focus on user-generated content, announced Thursday the launch of online portal “Best Film on Campus.” Site seeks and rewards new filmmaking talent.

Among its promos are contests that will hand out a development deal with MTV Films and a spot at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. MtvU will also run one winning user-generated film from the site on the Net every week.

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