Challenge society’s perceptions of poverty in five minutes: that’s the call to action TVO  is putting to Ontario filmmakers as part of the second annual TVO Doc Studio Contest , launching today. Under the theme Poverty in 5, amateur film buffs, budding directors and accomplished filmmakers alike are invited to capture their perspective on poverty in a five-minute film.
Poverty in 5 is part of TVO’s Why Poverty?  campaign, which is currently underway. Why Poverty? is a groundbreaking, international initiative aimed at raising awareness and sparking debate about poverty in the 21st century.
“Poverty touches people and places in unexpected ways,” says award-winning Canadian producer/director and TVO Doc Studio filmmaker-in-residence Shelley Saywell  (Fire and Water, Legacy of Terror, Kim’s Story). “We want participants to make us look at or think about poverty in a way we haven’t before. The documentary can be angry, raw, funny or inspiring. But it has to be honest. The winning film will make us understand poverty in a new way.”
A panel of judges, including Saywell, will evaluate eligible entries and select the top five films. Entries will be judged on their ability to challenge commonly held perceptions of poverty, tell a good story and elicit an emotional response from viewers.
Submissions can be made via YouTube or by mail until Thursday February 28. Complete entry details can be found on the Doc Studio contest page . TVO will showcase five finalists on the Doc Studio  site from March 11 to 18, when Ontarians are invited to vote on the winner. The winning film and filmmaker will be announced on the Doc Studio site on Monday March 25.
“TVO is committed to supporting and showcasing the work of Canadian filmmakers, and the TVO Doc Studio Contest is one of the ways in which we do this,” says TVO’s commissioning editor, Jane Jankovic. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer Ontarians a platform in which to display their filmmaking talent and have their say on the subject of poverty – one of the defining issues of our time.”
TVO champions documentaries year-round on air and through Doc Studio, an online showcase for documentary filmmakers and their work and a learning community supporting point-of-view filmmaking. A leader in Canadian point-of-view documentaries, TVO devotes more than half of its primetime schedule to documentaries and commissions 8 to 10 new point-of-view documentary films every year.