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Internet

Star power to shine on Net film contest

An amateur filmmaker is about to get the green light from Miramax, HBO and Hollywood superstars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris Moore to produce an original screenplay.

    An amateur filmmaker is about to get the green light from Miramax, HBO, and Hollywood superstars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris Moore to produce an original screenplay submitted in an online contest.

    Backers of the contest, called Project Greenlight, announced this week that they have narrowed the field of contestants from 10,000 to 30.

    The winner will get a $1 million production budget from Miramax Films. Damon, Affleck and Moore will be executive producers, and Miramax television will chronicle the making of the movie in a 13-episode documentary series slated to air on HBO early next year.

    "We are very happy with the contest so far and think that we are going to find a great new voice in American film from among these 30 screenplays," Moore said in a statement. Moore is the chief executive of LivePlanet, a Hollywood entertainment start-up working with box-office hit "Good Will Hunting" writers Damon and Affleck.

    LivePlanet is trying to carve a niche for itself at a time when other online entertainment outfits have either failed or are struggling for a survival plan. Digital Entertainment Network, Psuedo.com and Pop.com have all fizzled, while others, such as Creative Planet, are scaling back staff to cut costs.

    Project Greenlight, one of LivePlanet's first programs, was popular from the start. The contest drew 10,000 amateur writers and filmmakers from across the country eager to get some notoriety for their work.

    Contestants submitted their work on the contest's Web site between Sept. 25 and Nov. 1. LivePlanet didn't charge a fee to join the contest, but those who submitted work had to evaluate their competitors' scripts.

    Finalists must submit 3-minute videos of their productions, which will then be evaluated by Affleck, Damon and Moore along with Miramax executives. A winner will be announced mid-March.