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Canadian Filmmaker Up For Award To Be Presented at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Canada(prwindow)- December 12 2007 -Next month at the Sundance Film Festival, Winnipeg-raised filmmaker Robert Kirbyson has a short film up for a big award. His six-minute comedy, Ctrl Z, is one of five finalist films competing in a contest for emerging filmmakers presented by Delta Airlines, an official sponsor of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. View and vote for your favorite short film on select Delta flights and on delta.com.
 
HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 12, 2007 -- Next month at the Sundance Film Festival, Canadian filmmaker Robert Kirbyson has a short film up for a big award. His six-minute comedy, Ctrl Z, is one of five finalist films competing in a contest for emerging filmmakers presented by Delta Airlines, an official sponsor of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

Kirbyson’s film tells the story of a meek and lonely office worker who is bestowed unlimited second chances thanks to a malfunctioning computer keyboard. The film stars Tony Hale, best known for his role as Buster Bluth on the TV series Arrested Development, as well as Emy Coligado of Crossing Jordan and Malcolm in the Middle fame. Rounding out the cast is Zachary Levi whose star has recently risen in the title role of NBC’s new hit show Chuck.

The film was shot in a single day on a shoestring budget with a volunteer crew, so attracting top talent required more than top dollars. Kirbyson explains, “I didn’t know any of the cast before this, so I’d like to think they responded to the story – that and I promised to work with them again once I made it big.”

Through December until January 15, the online and travelling public can view Ctrl Z and all the finalist films at www.delta.com/flyinmovies and on the Delta’s in-flight entertainment system, and cast votes for their favorite to determine the winner.

The five finalists receive a trip to the Sundance Film Festival to attend a celebratory party on Jan. 23, where the winning filmmaker will receive a $10,000 cash award and a pair of round-trip tickets valid anywhere Delta flies. The Fly-In Movies contest is managed by Gen Art, a leading arts and entertainment organization in the US.

Kirbyson and his wife moved to Hollywood in 2005 with dreams of him making it big as a writer and director. “It’s been a tough road,” admits Kirbyson of his Los Angeles experience, “But I’ve made great friends in the industry and learned so much. I’ve never felt more like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

Kirbyson is also quick to acknowledge the great training he received working in the Canadian film and television industry. From 2000 to 2004, Kirbyson wrote and directed for the CBC series It’s a Living with host Peter Jordan. “One of the best experiences of my life,” says Kirbyson, “Peter and I shared some incredible adventures, travelling North America, profiling the most amazing people and their crazy, often life-threatening jobs. That show taught me the importance of meticulous planning and recognizing when to throw those plans out the window to make a better story.”

In 2003 Robert directed the CBC holiday film, The Christmas Orange, which was shot in Gimli and Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba. “I owe CBC a lot,” explains Kirbyson, “They’ve given me so many big breaks over the years. I was just a teenager when they first hired me to produce segments for the Canadian version of Sesame Street.”

Kirbyson wasn’t the only Canadian on the crew of his short film. His Toronto-born wife Catherine served as the project’s editor. Other Canuck crew members include Winnipeg musicians Cat Jahnke and Darren Johnston who contributed the film’s score. “Darren and I grew up in Charleswood together. He’s produced music for every project I’ve done over the past few years. We just send music and movie files back and forth over the internet. There’s great musical talent in LA, but no one I trust more than him. He knows what I like, what I need, and no one works as hard as he does for me.”

Ctrl Z was originally completed as part of Kirbyson’s application to this past summer’s FOX reality show ON THE LOT, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. “I made it pretty far in the process,” explains Kirbyson, “We even shot a second film for the show, but a last second change in the schedule made it impossible for me to get the appropriate work-visa in time. I was devastated for about an hour, until a big producer called wanting to make a screenplay I wrote. That’s the rollercoaster nature of Hollywood”

Kirbyson’s feature screenplay is called Snowmen and plans are already underway for him to direct the film right here in Winnipeg. “The script was inspired by my adventures growing up in Edmonton and Winnipeg. When I first pitched the movie to American producers I expected they’d want to change the setting to a US city, but instead, everyone has embraced the ‘exotic’ Canadian prairies.”

Snowmen will be produced by Hollywood heavyweight Stephen McEveety, whose many successful films include Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ. “It’s a beautifully crafted script,” says McEveety about Kirbyson’s screenplay, “And we’d like to use a Canadian cast and crew to stay true to the wonderful humor and world Rob captured on the page. It’s a charming story, full of heart, everything a movie needs to become a family favorite for audiences around the world.”

Snowmen was originally scheduled to shoot this winter, but looks to be postponed until next year. Kirbyson admits, “It’s frustrating. I’ve had so many close calls to my big break this year. But I’m thankful for every opportunity, even those that don’t work out because it tells me I’m on the right path. It’ll happen. And I’ll be ready.”

Perhaps that next opportunity will come next month at the Sundance Film Festival. And you can help by viewing and voting for the film online at www.delta.com/flyinmovies.


About Gen Art
Gen Art is one of the leading arts and entertainment organizations dedicated to showcasing the best emerging talent in film, fashion, visual arts and music. With offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, Gen Art has succeeded in launching the careers of many young filmmakers, fashion designers, visual artists and musicians, providing them with high-profile events that welcome industry and new audiences alike. Founded in 1993 by Ian and Stefan Gerard, Gen Art's film program includes over 60 events each year including the Gen Art Film Festival which will be celebrating its 13th year in 2008, its national film screening program which includes over 40 film screenings across the country each year, its "Cinema Circle" program as well as various customized film programs like "Shorts by the Beach" and 2nd Annual Gen Art Chicago Film Festival (June 2008) that occur throughout the year.

About The Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. and international independent film. Held each January in and around Park City, Utah, the Festival is a core program of Sundance Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. The 2008 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 17 - January 27, 2008.

About Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 317 destinations in 55 countries. Since 2005, Delta has added more international capacity than any other major U.S. airline is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 35 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers nearly 500 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 15,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 479 worldwide destinations in 104 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.

About Mpower Pictures
Mpower Pictures is dedicated to producing high quality filmed entertainment targeting the mainstream family market. Mpower’s first release, Bella, won this year's audience award at the Toronto Film Festival. The company was founded by Stephen McEveety, one of the most consistently successful producers working in Hollywood. Working through Icon Productions, McEveety served as Executive Producer on box-office smashes such as What Women Want, Payback, Immortal Beloved, The Man Without A Face and Braveheart, which garnered ten Academy Award nominations and won five, including Best Picture and Best Director. Among his many other credits, McEveety served as Producer for one of the most profitable films of all time, The Passion of the Christ.

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