It’s snowing heavily in London and for budding filmmakers across Britain it could be a sign that Christmas has come really, really early. Lifestyle portal MySpace announced last night that it had teamed up with Vertigo Films and Film Four to create MyMovie MashUp, a unique collaboration that’ll see the MySpace community in the UK get together to make a theatrically-distributed feature film.
As well as contributing the talent required to actually put the project together, every user will be encouraged to help pick the director, name the film, edit the script, cast the actors, source the soundtrack and contribute to the marketing and distribution efforts. And, come summer 2008, find a comfy seat in a cinema and watch their work debut on the big screen.
A panel of industry experts including actors Sienna Miller and Ashley Walters, directors Kevin Macdonald and Michael Caton-Jones, producers Andrew Macdonald, Stephen Woolley and Nick Love and Christian Glass, Executive Vice President for 20th Century Fox EMEA will advise throughout the project.
Talking to Rotten Tomatoes UK at last night’s swanky – and Big Lebowski-themed – launch party, MySpace’s Senior Vice President for Content and Marketing, Jamie Kantrowitz said, “For the last three years MySpace has been a large part of the cultural watershed in media, one that has seen technologies like broadband empower a new set of tools that has enabled people to connect and communicate. It has also brought true professional talent to the surface and brought out in all of us our inner musicians, artists and documentarians. And I think MyMovie MashUp is a natural progression in this watershed.”
The project will unfold in ten acts, beginning today with the search for a director. Anyone wanting to have a go is encouraged to submit short films before 27th April 2007. These will then be judged by the panel and a shortlist of three finalists will be put before the MySpace community. And it’ll be wholly collaborative from then onwards, right up until its premiere at next year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“My hope is that people get involved,” Caton-Jones told us, “that it encourages a lot of participation by ordinary people and that it kind-of empowers them to have a go. It’s as simple as that.”
And Stephen Woolley was just as enthusiastic about the potential of the project. “It’s an open field for anyone to come along, make a short and then it’s down to the vote of the people. It’s a really unique and interesting way of young talent expressing themselves.”
The notion of filmmaking-by-committee isn’t lost on the panel, but they’re confident that by tapping into the audience directly, rather than working on the decisions of executives, the collaborative aspects of the project will be a help more than a hindrance. “It’s just a brilliant opportunity,” said Ashley Walters, “and I don’t think there’s a chance that we’ll make a film that no-one wants to see. The beauty of MySpace is that there are so many passionate people that will be involved that it’s impossible for that to happen.”
Whatever happens you can rest assured RT-UK will be keeping a close eye on events as they unfold. Head over to the MyMovie MashUp page now if you fancy your chances!