Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your Film Festival - A Global Search For The World's Best Storytellers

Youtube & Emirates Airlines recently launched Your Film Festival, 'a global search for the world's best storytellers.'  The idea is simply...

15 minutes to tell a story. Millions of people to watch it. $500,000 to make a new one for the world to see.

So how does it work? Aspiring Filmmakers have until March 31st to submit a short, story-driven video. There's no entry fee. It can be any format - short film, web-series episode, TV pilot - and any genre. In June, audiences around the world will vote, sending 10 deserving storytellers to open the 2012 Venice Film Festival where a Grand Prize Winner will be be rewarded with a $500,000 grant to create a new work, produced by Ridley Scott and his world class team (the same guys behind the Youtube Life In A Day initiative).

There's a couple things that really standout for me about this initiative.  We often talk about the democratization of content creation as the barrier to entry for filmmakers gets lower and lower.  Video and editing equipment that used to cost thousands of dollars can now be purchased for an almost inconsequential amount of money, allowing amazing and incredible work to be produced at a fraction of the price.  Obviously the emergence of video platforms such as Youtube, Vimeo, etc. provide an outlet and global reach for literally anyone and their work.  

However, the barrier that still typically exists is traditional distribution.  Many of the independent movies that make it into cinemas are first screened at various festivals, and those festivals have significant entry fees that are beyond the reach of many aspiring filmmakers.  

That's what I love about Your Film Festival.  There's no entry fee, literally $0.  Additionally, it takes the idea of global distribution and accessibility to an entirely new level.  The top 50 semifinalists will have their film translated/subtitled into more than 50+  languages where Youtube is localized.  Additionally, any entries submitted with a script will then be machine transcribed into any of the localized languages.  Pretty amazing if you think about...

In another cool twist, all of the semi-finalist entry films will be shown on the in-flight entertainment systems of Emirates flights for an extended period of time.

Supporting Articles: Huffington Post | PSFK | Youtube Blog