Vice Motherboard

Tech-culture site errantly announced Samsung as sponsor for short-story competish before deal was clinched

Motherboard, Vice Media’s tech-oriented website, has been forced to delay a competition soliciting sci-fi short stories — with winning yarn spun into a CGI short film — after it launched the promo this week before officially signing sponsorship deal with Samsung.

“Motherboard’s The Next Future program will be delayed indefinitely, as we were premature in announcing a partner and an allocated budget. Neither were confirmed,” the company said in a statement. “Motherboard will continue working to find the means to produce this initiative that we believe to be important. We apologize for the miscommunication.”

As previously announced, Motherboard enlisted director Neill Blomkamp as the judge to pick the grand-prize winning scribe, who would receive $5,000 and potentially be involved in the production. Blomkamp’s sci-fi pic “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, is skedded to unspool Aug. 9.

According to Motherboard, under the terms of the preliminary agreement with Samsung, the storyline of the 8-to-10-minute pic would have to incorporate a feature of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 smartphone. Motherboard had previously said the budget for the film would be $1 million but later said the final amount had not been determined.

Out of the stories submitted by aspiring movie scribes, Motherboard had planned to pick 20 submissions to turn into “digitally enhanced” short stories with animations produced by Seattle-based Straightface Studios. Website expects to publish those on a rolling basis, with authors receiving $500 and a Samsung Galaxy S4.

Vice, founded in 1994 in Montreal, is now based in Brooklyn, N.Y., with operations in 34 countries. Its Motherboard site, which competes with Wired.com and Vox Media’s The Verge, aims to be “a voice for our generation of how close technology is to our lives,” said Motherboard publisher Thobey Campion, who’s also head of digital sales for Vice Media.

In addition to a print mag and websites, Vice produces documentary films, music videos and books. Company has deal with HBO for newsmagazine show, which gained notoriety with seg featuring Dennis Rodman as would-be diplomat visiting North Korea.

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