YouTube (GOOG) added some new details Wednesday night on its plan to make indie film and other long-form video part of the menu. Namely, a dedicated area within YouTube called “The Screening Room” that will host indie film, and offer tools to help producers build an audience and generate revenue.
YouTube will add four new indie films every two weeks–including some that have appeared in film festivals and others that have never been seen before.
Details on how YouTube plans to make money, or allow famously cash-strapped indie producers to make money, are thin. A press release said “The Screening Room” will include a “Buy Now” button allowing filmmakers to link to Web sites that sell DVDs and digital downloads of their films, as well as what it calls a “high quality” player to watch on the Web.
It’s an interesting idea and we’ll be curious to find out if advertising is playing any part in YouTube’s plan for ‘”The Screening Room.” We’re also interested to hear more about what’s in it for the filmmakers. Some of these films are pretty good and have significant festival-circuit credentials. The end game is probably a studio distribution deal because the revenue potential of YouTube has proven for most producers to be limited.
Among the first films included are:
- 2006 Academy Award nominee, “Our Time Is Up,” written and directed by Rob Pearlstein, starring Kevin Pollak. An excerpt of the film, about a therapist who learns he has six weeks to live, below:
The other scheduled films and the press release (with Moby quote), below:
THE YOUTUBE SCREENING ROOM DEBUTS, BRINGING DISTINCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING FILMS TO A MASSIVE GLOBAL AUDIENCE
YouTube Expands Business Opportunities for Filmmakers to Distribute Works; Four High-Quality Films Screened Every Other Friday
LOS ANGELES, CA (LAUNCH EVENT – HENRY FONDA’S MUSIC BOX) – June 18, 2008 -YouTubeTM today announced The YouTube Screening Room for filmmakers around the world to distribute their work, build an audience, and generate revenue. This dedicated area on YouTube will showcase an international selection of films. The YouTube Screening Room (www.youtube.com/ytscreeningroom) will feature four new high-quality short films every two weeks, as well as feature-length films on a case-by-case basis, creating new business opportunities for filmmakers and bringing informative, timely and entertaining films to the YouTube community around the world.
In its first month of programming, The YouTube Screening Room will include short films from Norway, Sweden, Canada, the UK and the US, featuring well-known actors and award-winning filmmakers alongside undiscovered talent. Over the next few months, films from Germany, Austria, France, Kenya, Australia, Ireland and the UK will be screened.
“Having produced over 25 short films and having watched hundreds, if not thousands, I know that The YouTube Screening Room will be a great forum for watching shorts and discussing them. It is a very fair and democratic way of allowing people all over the globe to watch films, rate them, and have the opportunity to speak about their feelings. I love watching films in theatres, but I now find myself watching more shorts on YouTube,” said Daniel Dubiecki, a producer of Juno, as well as the short film The Big Empty, which will debut in the program on July 4th. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the community’s feedback on our film.”
The YouTube Screening Room will showcase a wide range of films: some that have never before been screened in front of a wide audience and others that may have appeared in film festivals around the world. In the coming months, all filmmakers will have the opportunity to submit their work for consideration through an online submission process.
People will be able to communicate directly with filmmakers to share thoughts, exchange opinions with fans, and provide honest feedback using YouTube’s features to comment, rate, and share films. The YouTube Screening Room will also include a “Buy Now” button, allowing filmmakers to link to websites selling DVDs and digital downloads of their films, as well as a High Quality player, which offers users the best viewing experience possible.
“One of the fantastic things about the digital present is that means of production are so much more egalitarian than in the past,” said Moby, whose MobyGratis program allows filmmakers to use his music in their films for free. “The YouTube Screening Room is about empowering filmmakers and helping them get their work seen. What drives good artists, both filmmakers and musicians, is to create something they love and have other people experience it.”
“YouTube is a natural place for filmmakers and audiences to connect. The YouTube Screening Room will serve as a focused destination for people to discover new talent while being entertained and informed through film,” said Sara Pollack, film manager for YouTube. “We are excited to offer filmmakers around the world a new distribution opportunity and to encourage more conversation within our community around film.”
About the Films
In the first month of programming, The YouTube Screening Room will feature a diverse collection of films, including:
2006 Academy Award nominee, Our Time Is Up, written and directed by Rob Pearlstein, starring Kevin Pollak
2007 Academy Award winner, The Danish Poet, written and directed by Torill Kove and presented by The National Film Board of Canada
Are You The favourite Person Of Anybody?, directed by Miguel Arteta, written by Miranda July, starring John C. Reilly, Mike White and Miranda July, presented by Wholphin
2007 Los Angeles Film Festival winner, Love and War, written and directed by Fredrik Emilson and produced by Tomas Michaelsson
2006 Tribeca Film Festival winner, The Shovel, written and directed by Nick Childs, starring David Strathairn
2005 USA Film Festival winner, The Big Empty, adapted and directed by J. Lisa Chang and Newton Thomas Sigel, produced by Daniel Dubiecki and Jason Blumenfeld, starring Selma Blair, presented by Wholphin
2008 Academy Award nominee, I Met The Walrus, written and directed by John Raskin, produced by Jerry Levitan
2007 WorldFest Houston winner, The Clap, written and directed by Geoff Lindsey, presented by Future Shorts
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