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'D&D' fans compete in film production contest

Entries to the "Dungeons & Dragons" competition are expected to range from parodies to documentaries.

The company behind "Dungeons & Dragons" is hosting an inaugural fan film competition to appeal to players who want to go a step beyond gaming.

Fusing the booming trends of role-playing games and Web-based video sites, "Dungeons & Dragons" owner Wizards of the Coast on Tuesday launched a contest in which fans can create their own "D&D"-related films.

Entrants have until Sept. 1 to produce and direct their own tributes to the game, and contest officials are anticipating a diverse mix. "We expect the submissions to run the gamut from tongue-in-cheek comedies, to perhaps even documentaries," said Liz Schuh, brand director for "Dungeons & Dragons."

The contest, formally known as the D&D Fan Film Fest, is in collaboration with GameVideos.com, a Web site devoted to online videos that pertain to gaming. Currently in beta, the site features trailers, game footage and videos from partner sites on the 1UP Network. In addition, following the mold of sites like YouTube and Google Video, GameVideos offers consumers the option to upload their own videos.

Finalists in the D&D Fan Film Fest will initially be chosen "American Idol"-style, with fans voting on their favorite 10 videos out of all the entrants. Those selected will be judged by a panel of celebrity D&D fans, game developers and independent film experts.

A total of three grand finalists will have their videos shown at the Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day in Los Angeles on Nov. 4. The prize package for the winner will include a new computer, a video camera, editing software and various "D&D" memorabilia, including a limited-edition chess set.

Hasbro-owned Wizards of the Coast, which is based in Seattle and purchased "Dungeons & Dragons" in 1990, is also known for card-based role-playing game "Magic: The Gathering."