Tony Blair Seeks to Bridge Religious Divides

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation launched a global film competition on Thursday in an effort to increase understanding between people of different faiths.

"By gaining insights into the lives of young people across the world this competition has the potential to build bridges across cultural and religious divides," said the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.

The competition is geared toward those who are 25 years old and under. They are being asked to make a short film demonstrating how their faith inspires them.

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Three winners will be chosen and their work will premiere at BAFTA in July 2010.

"I hope this competition will provide a platform for creative and talented young people and an opportunity for young filmmakers to see their work promoted on the global stage," said Blair.

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation was established in 2008 to confront the growing challenges of religious conflict and to promote respect and understanding about the world's major religions.

"[W]e want to allow people to respect and value the other person's beliefs, to understand what those beliefs really are, and to let those of different faiths see the values they often share," he has said.

The foundation has organized various projects around the world to promote education and understanding as well as to fight poverty and war.

Films submitted to the foundation will be judged by Blair and a panel of global figures and celebrities, including Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, Jet Li, Natalie Portman, Jonathan Caplan, Amr Khaled, Wendi Murdoch, Nik Powell, June Sarpong and Deepak Verma.

Jet Li commented, "The way I interpret the idea behind this festival is that faith doesn't have to be a separator, but rather, it can unite us."

Films will be accepted until May 15. Those who lack access to equipment are being given the chance to win a video camera to make their film by submitting a short written pitch by April 12.

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