NASA and Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS)’s inaugural CineSpace short film competition is ready for liftoff, opening for submissions on June 1 – with one of Houston’s most celebrated filmmakers on board to help select the winners.

Academy Award-nominated director, producer and screenwriter Richard Linklater – a Houston native who won best director honors at the 2015 Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards for his film Boyhood – will help NASA and HCAS judge the contest entries. CineSpace will offer filmmakers around the world a chance to share their works inspired by and using actual NASA imagery available at nasa.gov, with a total of $26,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. Finalists and winners will be announced during the 7th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival (Nov. 12-19).

“I look forward to seeing what the filmmakers do with the NASA footage,” Linklater said. “As someone who grew up in Houston during the Space Age – a fun, exciting time to be a kid for sure – I’ve always been fascinated by all things NASA. I’ve been a big supporter of the Houston Cinema Arts Festival from its beginnings in 2009, and I think this competition is a great new component for it drawing on Houston’s Space City identity.”

Linklater was a featured guest at HCAS’ Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF) in 2009, 2011 and 2013. He received the festival’s annual Levantine Cinema Arts Award for his contributions to cinema in 2013 at a 20th anniversary presentation of his cult classic Dazed and Confused.

CineSpace is open to all filmmakers, both professional and aspiring. Submissions of all genres, up to 15 minutes running time, will be accepted. Entries must use at least 10 percent publically available NASA imagery and video collected throughout the agency’s 50-year history. Judging criteria includes creativity, innovation and attention to detail, the same hallmarks of spaceflight. The submission period opens June 1 and closes July 31.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions and the two films that best demonstrate the themes “Benefits of Space to Humanity” and “Future Space Exploration.”

“CineSpace is a new and untested chance to inspire the next generation of explorers,” International Space Station Program manager Michael Suffredini said. “This unique opportunity allows others to help tell the story of humanity’s place in the cosmos as they see it, with the help of NASA’s vast library of moving and still imagery. Exploration and discovery, which are central to NASA’s mission, are as connected to human psyche as is art, so we are excited to see how artists can help to communicate that mission.”

NASA’s journeys into air and space continue to power inspiration that encourages future generations to explore, learn and build a better future. The next decade of exploration will be a time of rapid advancement and innovation as humanity stands poised to take the next giant leap to Mars and beyond.

HCAF, the only festival in the United States dedicated to films about the arts, is an expertly curated film festival that has hosted notable filmmakers and actors including Linklater, Robert Redford, Ethan Hawke, Isabella Rossellini, TIlda Swinton, John Turturro, Shirley MacLaine, Thomas Haden Church, Will Forte, Julie Taymor and James Ivory.

For more information on CineSpace, competition guidelines and the submission process, visit: http://www.cinespace15.org

To browse NASA video and imagery, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/content/download-nasa-videos-for-cinespace

ABOUT HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY (HCAS)

Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) is a non-profit created in 2008 with the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Neely. It organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Houston First Corporation, Texas Monthly, Levantine Films, Nabors Industries, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Amegy Bank of Texas and others. The festival is also supported in part by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The 7th Annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival will take place from Nov. 12-19, 2015. For more information, please visit hcaf15.org.

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