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NYU and Def team unveil film grad prize

Honor to provide film student with $300k in funding

NEW YORK — Hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and TV vet Stan Lathan are teaming with NYU film school to launch an Alumni Def Filmmaker Award in a bid to develop movies with urban and hip-hop themes.

The honor — created by the Simmons Lathan Media Group and the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts — will provide a recent NYU grad with production funding of $300,000 for a feature. A winning docu would receive up to $150,000.

Initiative further extends Simmons Lathan Media Group’s Def brand, which already encompasses the Def Filmmakers Screening Series and Broadway hit “Def Poetry Jam.”

Contest is open only to Kanbar filmmakers who have graduated within the past five years. Entrants have until Feb. 15 to submit screenplays or treatments, budgets and other materials; a winner will be announced by May 1.

“While Kanbar filmmakers are some of the best emerging talents anywhere,” said Tisch dean Mary Schmidt Campbell, “making the transition from student to professional filmmaker is a difficult one. The early financial assistance provided by this award will make building a filmmaking career considerably easier.”

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