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The Producers Guild Presents Weekend Shorts Challenge 2013 - Mission
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The mission of THE PRODUCERS GUILD WEEKEND SHORTS CHALLENGE is to support talented emerging producers. 

In 2013 the Producers Guild Weekend Shorts Challenge will be honoring the life and legacy of Laura Ziskin by providing assignment details based off of her work.

We know that there are some great undiscovered producers out there. This is the chance for them to show us what they're made of. How fast can you mobilize your team? Craft your story? Find your locations? Hunt down your costumes? Call in your favors? Cut the pieces together?

We're not looking for Lawrence of Arabia, here. Your running time should be three to five minutes. For a great producer, that's plenty of time in which to tell a mesmerizing story.

Of course, just to keep you honest, we have some specifics that your story must include. (We can't have you go shooting the whole thing in advance, after all.) When the contest opens, we'll post the specific elements that your film will have to utilize. 

The films entered in THE PRODUCERS GUILD WEEKEND SHORTS CHALLENGE will be evaluated by a remarkable group of judges. Last year's judges included Bruce CohenGale Anne HurdPaul ReubensStacey Sher, and Cathleen Summers

There are some terrific prizes, of course. THE PRODUCERS GUILD WEEKEND SHORTS CHALLENGE is being held through

Laura Ziskin

After graduating from the USC School of Cinema-Television and serving an apprenticeship under such producers as Jon Peters and Chuck Barris, Laura Ziskin embarked on a career that would see her established as one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers and studio executives with a passion for discovering new talent.

In 1984, Ziskin partnered with Sally Field in Fogwood Films and produced Murphy’s Romance, which marked her first "Produced by” credit and yielded an Academy Award® nomination for James Garner as Best Actor. She also produced No Way Out starring then newcomer Kevin Costner and Gene Hackman. In 1990, she was Executive Producer of Pretty Woman, which remains one of the highest grossing films in Disney’s history.

Through the early 1990s, Ziskin continued to establish herself with critically and commercially successful forays in a wide variety of genres. In 1991, Ziskin produced the comedy hit What About Bob? starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss and the critically acclaimed drama The Doctor starring William Hurt and Christine Lahti. In 1992, Ziskin produced Hero, directed by Stephen Frears and starred Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia, and Geena Davis. In 1994, she produced To Die For starring Nicole Kidman (winner of a Golden Globe as Best Actress – Musical or Comedy) and directed by Gus Van Sant. She also developed and served as Executive Producer of Columbia Pictures’ As Good as it Gets, which garnered Academy Awards® for stars Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson.

In 1994, Ziskin was named President of Fox 2000 Pictures, a newly formed feature film division of 20th Century Fox. Under her stewardship, Fox 2000 released such films as Courage Under Fire, One Fine Day, Inventing the Abbotts, Volcano, Soul Food, Never Been Kissed, Fight Club, Anywhere but Here, Anna and the King and The Thin Red Line, which garnered seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture.

After several successful years as an executive, Ziskin left Fox 2000 to plunge back into active production, adding a variety of long-form television work to her resume, including Dinner With Friends for HBO and the live broadcasts of Fail Safe with George Clooney leading an all-star cast.

Ziskin became a part of motion picture history In May 2002, when Columbia Pictures released her production of Spider-Man, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and Willem Dafoe. In its opening weekend, Spider-Man grossed $114.8 million, making it the largest domestic opening in Hollywood history to that point, and the movie surpassed $800 million in worldwide box office gross. The film’s two sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, likewise were among the highest-grossing films of their respective years. In 2005, Ziskin became the first women to be honored with the Producers Guild’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion pictures, the first woman to be so honored.

Following her diagnosis with breast cancer, Ziskin partnered with with Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the Noreen Fraser Foundation and Ellen Ziffren to create the charitable organization Stand Up To Cancer in 2008. To date, the organization has provided $161 million in grants to cancer research. In 2011, ir recognition of her work with Stand Up to Cancer, Ziskin received the Producers Guild’s Visionary Award—again, the first woman to be recognized with the award.

Ziskin passed away on June 12, 2011, leaving a timeless legacy of outstanding filmmaking. Her final film credit was last year’s franchise reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, for which filming was completed just a couple of months before her passing.