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AFI Names Finalists For 2004 eTV Workshop

Six-month program to explore and help shape the future of television (July 20, 2004)

The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced its jury selections for the 2004 AFI Enhanced TV (eTV) Workshop, a six-month program that explores and will help shape the future of television. This year, over 100 industry visionaries will be among the participants, including creative teams from ?Queer Eye For The Straight Guy (Bravo), ?Dora The Explorer (Nickelodeon), ?The L Word (Showtime), ?American Experience ?TV411 (PBS), the 24-hour music channel MTV2, as well as two new shows from The Science Channel (Discovery Networks) and the Scripps Network. Major funding for the 2004 AFI eTV Workshop is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Microsoft.

"Today we call it enhanced television; someday well just call it television, says Nick DeMartino, AFIs Senior Vice President of Media & Technology. "With consumer spending on extended cable and satellite services surging, the rise of digital video recorders, and skyrocketing retail sales of high definition televisions, viewers demand the more powerful entertainment experience that digital technologies offer. We are committed to exploring advancing technologies and how they enhance the experience of watching and producing TV, DeMartino adds.

On Wednesday, July 21, orientation for the production season begins with the eTV Creative Showcase, a screening of the best broadcast eTV programming of the year, taking place at the Louis B. Mayer Library on the AFI Campus in Hollywood. The selections?determined by the AFI eTV staff and broadcast within the past year?are examples of how television shows have used new technologies. The events keynote speaker is Emma Somerville, the BBCs Head of iTV Programming.

When AFI launched the eTV Lab in 1998, the only set-top box most viewers had ever seen was a cable box. High speed Internet to the home was still futuristic. Hardly anyone had a cell phone. Zapping commercials was unheard of. Now in its seventh year, eTV brings together enhanced TV experts, studios, networks with interactive designers and technology platform providers?who serve as mentors?to create state-of-the-art broadcast-capable prototypes for currently produced television shows.

?In addition to providing cutting-edge research and development for the future of television, says Marcia Zellers, AFIs Director of Enhanced TV, ?the Workshop provides a unique forum to discuss issues such as revenue solutions in the interactive television framework and the emerging technologies that affect the TV industry, such as set-top boxes, home media centers, game consoles, and wireless phones.

All eTV participants are working television professionals with programs on air or slated for distribution for the 2004/2005 season. (A list of production teams and mentors is below). The Workshop wraps on Thursday, December 9, when each team will preview its prototype before an audience of colleagues and media attendees.

Previous eTV workshops have developed a variety of exciting and landmark prototypes, including exploring enhancements to run on multiple devices beyond standard set-top cable and satellite receivers, such as videogame consoles and wireless devices. One project developed the technology to transmit the soundtrack for PBS ?The New Americans in multiple languages, so viewers could watch their local PBS station but hear the show in their own language through their set-top box.

For a video overview of AFI eTV, please visit:


Mentors: Smashing Ideas (Design), emuse (Development), BigDigit (Line Producer)
Primary Platform: To Be Confirmed

DINOSAUR HIGHWAY (The Science Channel)
Mentors: Proteus (Design, Development, Line Producer)
Primary Platform: Game Console

Mentors: Sudden Industries (Design), Ensequence (Development, Line Producer)
Primary Platform: Satellite

Mentors: Zetools (Design, Development, Line Producer)
Primary Platform: MSN Video

THE L WORD (Showtime)
Mentors: Autonomy (Design), Vidiom (Development)
Primary Platform: OCAP

MTV2 (MTV Networks)
Mentors: Tractor (Design), NDS (Development), RCN (Line Producer)
Primary Platform: Satellite

Mentors: Schematic (Design, Development), BeyondZ (Line Producer)
Primary Platform: Windows Media Center/wireless

TV411 (The Adult Literacy Media Alliance/PBS)
Mentors: Sun (Developer), Puremac (Line Producer)
Primary Platform: To Be Confirmed

There are additional mentors assigned to each team. A complete list is available upon request.

About CPB
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, develops educational public radio, television and online services for the American people. The Corporation is the industrys largest single source of funds for national public television and radio program development and production. CPB, a grant making organization, also funds more than 1,000 public radio and television stations. For more information, visit

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About AFI
AFI is the preeminent organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers at its world-renowned Conservatory, provides film preservation leadership and explores new digital technologies in moviemaking. AFI's New Media Ventures programs bring together the creative and digital communities, as the department seeks to develop a literacy program for the 21st century, helping young people learn to read and write screens of all sizes-cinema, television, computer and the Internet. With AFI ON SCREEN, the institute is the largest nonprofit exhibitor in the US, with programs at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI FEST); the AFI National Film Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC; and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland. A 49,000 square foot complex with three theatres-one historic, two new state-of-the-art stadium-style theatres-the AFI Silver exhibits film and video generally unavailable elsewhere in the region. AFI's annual almanac for the 21st century, AFI AWARDS, honors the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year. AFI's 100 Years . . . 100 Movies, 100 Stars, 100 Laughs, 100 Thrills, 100 Passions, 100 Heroes & Villains and 100 Songs have ignited extraordinary public interest in classic American movies. During the past 32 years, AFI's Life Achievement Award has become the highest honor for a career in film. More information about AFI can be found by visiting its Web site, located at


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Related Keywords:AFI, eTV, American Film Institute, Enhanced TV, 2004 AFI Enhanced TV (eTV) Workshop, Microsoft, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Nick DeMartino, eTV Creative Showcase, Emma Somerville, Marcia Zellers,

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