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 Illinois Film Office Announces 2nd Annual Shortcuts Contest

Winning entry receives cash prize, premiere at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO � The Illinois Film Office today announced its second annual statewide short film contest.  Named Shortcuts, the contest is designed to encourage filmmakers across the state to explore and showcase their creativity and short filmmaking skills. Shortcuts is open to all Illinois residents over the age of 18 and students over the age of 18 who attend Illinois colleges and universities. The winning entry will receive a cash prize and the winning film will screen during the Chicago International Film Festival.

�Shortcuts provides Illinois� filmmakers with a great opportunity to showcase their talent and achieve fantastic exposure for their work.  This year, we again encourage filmmakers of all levels of experience to participate in the contest to not only gain recognition, but also contribute to the overall success of Illinois� film industry,� Illinois Film Office Managing Director Betsy Steinberg said.

Participants may use any format � film, video, graphics and/or animation � to tell a narrative story, a documentary or free form visual expression of ideas. Submissions must be 15 minutes or less in running time. Entries will be judged by a panel of film industry professionals. Submissions must be postmarked by June 30, 2009.  Additional contest rules and details can be found at

�We are always looking for innovative ways to showcase and promote Illinois� film industry. Thanks to Illinois� competitive film tax credit, the film industry brings thousands of jobs to the state each year, and millions in revenue,� Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin said. �The Shortcuts contest is another way that we�re fostering film production in the state.�

The film industry has a sizable impact on the Illinois economy and brings thousands of jobs to the state each year. In 2007, Illinois film productions made more than 26,500 hires in Illinois - a 110 percent increase over 2006. A number of films and television shows were produced in Illinois in 2007 including: �The Dark Knight� (Batman); �Wanted,� starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman; �Fred Claus,� with Vince Vaughn; �Meet the Browns,� starring Angela

Bassett; �The Express,� starring Dennis Quaid; �ER� (TV show), and �My Boys� (TV show).  In 2008, movies such as �Public Enemies� starring Johnny Depp, �The Informant� starring Matt Damon and television show �The Beast� were filmed in Illinois.

In 2000, Illinois began suffering a mass exodus of the film industry as other states began enacting film incentives. By 2003, the Illinois film industry had fallen to an all-time low of $23 million. In response, Governor Blagojevich enacted the Illinois Film Tax Credit. Since its passage, the film industry has rebounded dramatically. The film industry reached an all-time record of nearly $155 million in 2007. This represents the single best year in the state's history - and an 80 percent increase over 2006.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is dedicated to advancing Illinois� reputation as a world-class film destination. The Illinois Film Office (IFO), a division of DCEO, promotes and markets the state as an ideal shooting location for films, television shows and commercials. The IFO also promotes and encourages the training and hiring of Illinois residents who represent the diversity of the state�s population.