San Bruno, CA – YouTube along with Sundance Film Festival and Moviefone today announced the return of “Project:Direct”, the sequel to last year’s successful online international short film competition designed to both discover hidden talent and engage the YouTube community. “Project:Direct” will offer the creator of an original short film the opportunity to attend the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and have his or her project shown at a non-theatre Festival event. The 25th Sundance Film Festival is scheduled to take place January 15 – January 25, 2009 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

From 12:01am EST Sunday, November 16 through 11:59 EST Sunday, December 14, filmmakers from Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States will be able to submit their original works, showcasing their personal style and incorporating three props: two that have played stand-out roles in films from 25 years of the Sundance Film Festival and the classic red phone associated with Moviefone.

Screenwriter, producer, director Darren Aronofsky, whose latest project The Wrestler will be opening in December and who also got his own start at the Festival with the 1998 film Pi, is launching the program with a call-out video to YouTube filmmakers. At the end of the submission period, a panel of Sundance Film Festival programmers will narrow the field of entries down to 10 semifinalists. The YouTube community will then be invited to vote on the finalists from Saturday, December 27 through Saturday, January 3, with the winner and two runners-up announced on the YouTube site on Monday, January 5.

“With prominent partners like Lionsgate, MGM, Cinetic Media, the Vancouver Film School, and the creation earlier this year of the YouTube Screening Room, YouTube has become an entertainment destination for film fans around the world and a powerful distribution platform for filmmakers,” said Sara Pollack, Head of Film and Animation, YouTube. “We are thrilled to celebrate with the Sundance Film Festival, which has been and continues to be a tremendous springboard for independent artists, on this search for up-and-coming YouTube talent.”

“For 25 years Sundance Film Festival has sought to put a spotlight on creative storytellers, innovative artists and social issues,” said John Cooper, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival. “Project:Direct is a great way to embrace the spirit of storytelling and to tap into a wide-reaching international artistic community.”

“Project:Direct underscores one of Moviefone’s primary missions of providing a mass consumer audience with access to up-and-coming film makers that have the potential to influence film in the coming decades,” said Kristin Rolla, Director of Business and Content for Moviefone. “We’re pleased to join YouTube and Sundance to help provide film makers with a substantial platform for exposure.”

The winner of Project:Direct will spend five days as a guest of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival where the winning project will be shown at an official non-theatre Festival event. In addition to receiving cash prizes from AOL, the winner and two runners-up will have DVDs of their films distributed to industry attendees of the Festival, and their entries will be displayed on the YouTube homepage in seven countries.


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