And the Winner of the CNU 17 Video Contest is ... Phenomenal!

Three-minute film makes the humorous-but-convincing case that "cul-de-sacs" threaten life on Earth

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The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), the leading international organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl, announces the winner of its 2009 video contest. The team of First + Main Media from Julian, CA and Paget Films from Buffalo, NY, award-winning documentary film producers, won for their short film entitled Built to Last. Members of the team include John Paget, Dr. Chris Elisara, and Drew Ward.

The outstanding 3-minute video asks the question “What’s the greatest threat to our planet?” and shows how reimagining our cities and suburbs to be sustainable and walkable will cut carbon emissions, commutes and calories. "When it comes to saving the planet, what we build is the greatest threat…or the greatest hope," say the filmmakers in Built to Last.

“Built to Last made me laugh out loud,” said John Norquist, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which offered the submitter of the winning entry a complimentary registration to this year's leading gathering of urbanists,CNU 17, which runs June 10-14th in Denver. “But this video is serious too. First + Main and Paget Films show how New Urbanism is the convenient remedy, providing quality of life and economic value while protecting the environment.”

"We're always looking to work with organizations and companies doing good, culturally transforming things, and have been following CNU for many years,” said Chris Elisara of First + Main Media. “We've wanted to bring our skill and talents to the movement, so this gave us a good opportunity to do so.”

The video is so good, says Norquist, you'll want to see it for yourself, probably before reading the rest of this announcement.

The winning video Built to Last will be will be showcased during the opening plenary at CNU’s 17th annual Congress ( ). CNU 17 is held this year in Denver, June 10-14, 2009, and features more than 200 speakers addressing answers to today’s challenges – from the economy and retrofitting suburbia to carbon emissions and changing demographics.

The criteria for the contest was to create a 3-minute maximum video that illustrates how the principles of New Urbanism - density, design and walkability - can effectively respond to current environmental challenges that we face. Entries were also judged on creativity, originality and entertainment value. The judging committee was made up of members of the CNU 17 Local Host Committee and chaired by Heather Korth of Van Meter Williams Pollack. Submitted videos will be shown on a loop in the exhibition hall at CNU 17.

About the Congress for the New Urbanism
The Congress for the New Urbanism is the leading international organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. CNU takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out. Whether it's bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building and creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.

About First + Main and Paget Films
The creators of “Built to Last” are award-winning documentary film makers. Their films include Alcatraz Reunion (2008), Almost Elvis (2006) and a Route 66 series An American Odyssey and Return to the Road. See their awards and films at First + Main Media and Paget Films.

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Theater photo via Flickr courtesy of whizchickenonabun (modified by CNU).