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Entrepreneur and investor Paul Allen is best known for being the cofounder, with Bill Gates, of Microsoft.
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Allen, already an investor in DreamWorks, reportedly invested $50 billion in the company, which aims to create and distribute short features exclusively on the Internet. POP.com was set to debut in the spring of 2000, but failed to get off the ground. Allen has also invested in Oxygen Media, a highly-touted company co-founded by Oprah Winfrey and dedicated to producing cable and Internet programming for women.
Other personal and philanthropic interests include sports (he owns the NBA's Portland Trailblazers and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks) and music. On June 23, 2000, his Experience Music Project, a $250 million interactive rock 'n' roll museum designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry, will open in Seattle. Allen co-founded EMP with his sister, Jody Allen Patton, who will serve as the museum's executive director. In April 2003, he announced he would be spending $20 million to build the Science Fiction Experience, which will open summer 2004. The museum is billed as "entertaining and thought-provoking exhibits and programs." Allen has also established philanthropic foundations for the causes of medical research, visual and performing arts, community service, and forest preservation.
Allen, with a net worth of around $30 billion, is variably reported to be from the second- to the fourth-richest man in the world (depending on the current value of Microsoft stock). A dedicated Jimi Hendrix enthusiast, Allen plays rhythm guitar in a Seattle band called Grown Men; the band released their first CD in the spring of 2000.
On May 29, 2013, it was announced that Vulcan Productions, Allen's award-winning media company, had signed on as a production partner of Pandora's Promise, the groundbreaking documentary by Academy Award-nominated director Robert Stone. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, and was scheduled to debut in the United States in November 2013, on CNN.
According to a press release issued by Vulcan Productions in May 2013, Stone's film tells the "intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have converted from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process." Stone exposes this environmental controversy with stories of defection by Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger, among others.
"Pandora's Promise presents nuclear power as a hopeful solution to climate change, and is opening people’s minds about one of the most critical issues of our time," Allen stated. "This is exactly the type of thought-provoking project we are proud to partner on and support."
Acclaimed films and series from Vulcan Productions include Girl Rising (2013); This Emotional Life (2010); Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (2007); Rx for Survival: A Global Health Challenge (2005); No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005); Strange Days on Planet Earth (2005); Black Sky: The Race For Space, and Black Sky: Winning the X Prize (2004); Lightning in a Bottle (2004); The Blues (2003); and Evolution (2001).
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