By Max Parker Dahl

Presentation of short-films and awards for a Salt Lake-based competition is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 11. A reception will begin at 5:30 in the Leonardo, followed by the awards program beginning at 6:30. Filmmakers were challenged with creating a 5-minute film proposing creative solutions to one of Utah's most vexing problems.

"Poor air quality in our metropolitan region is an obvious and serious public health problem,” says Stephen Goldsmith, co-chair of ImagineCleanAir’s planning committee. “We have some of the worst air quality in the country. Imagining clean air is an inspiring proposition and one we encourage all students in the area to consider. How we get from our imagining to reality is a shared problem they can help us overcome."

Filmmakers from BYU, University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College submitted entries, working with their department film programs and partnering with other Utah film production agencies and organizations. The goal is to create an unified outlet for the community to begin solving problems together.

Winning filmmakers will be awarded a cash prize, and will be able to meet and discuss their work with leading Hollywood directors. They will also receive a ticket and pass package to the upcoming 2012 Sundance Film Festival, donated by the Sundance Institute. Other organizations also supporting the evening include imaginecleanair.org, the University of Utah, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, the Lincoln Center in New York, and Utah Moms for Clean Air.

"One of the crises of our time is a crisis of the imagination,” says Goldsmith. “Old solutions to our problems are not working. Where better to look than to our youth to help us invent new solutions? There is no time to waste."