The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded a $50,000 grant to underwrite the Telluride Film Festival's Guest Director program. Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian political philosopher and cultural critic, will preside as guest director of the Festival's 35th show when it kicks off this Friday, August 29th. "Making the world of film more accessible is central to the Academy's mission," said Academy President Sid Ganis in a statement. "Telluride's Guest Director program does just that by sharing the experience and vision of some of the world's foremost creative thinkers." The Academy's cultural and educational wing - the Academy Foundation - annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. [Peter Knegt]