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YouTube to Launch Film Festival

Robert Kyncl

After several rounds, Your Film Festival will pick 10 finalists to attend the Venice Film Festival, where a grand prize winner will be chosen.

YouTube is launching a film festival, the Associated Press reports.

The video website announced Thursday that Your Film Festival will take in submissions of short films, up to 15 minutes long, from Feb. 2 through March 31. Scott Free Productions, run by filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott, will then choose 50 semifinalists to move on.

From there, YouTube will create a channel, Your Film Festival, that will allow users to that page to watch the films and vote for which ones they like best. The 10 finalists chosen will then attend the Veniec Film Festival, where their shorts will be screened and Ridley Scott will be among the jury members who will choose the winner.

The grand prize is a $500,000 grant from YouTube to produce a piece of work with Scott Free Prods. Participants must be at least 18 years old and the film could not be distributed before Jan. 1, 2010.

"Through this program, YouTube will give filmmakers the opportunity to reach a vast audience, screen their work during the Venice Film Festival and potentially be rewarded in a career-changing way," said Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, in a statement to AP.

This is an expansion on the film Life in a Day, released last year that was co-produced by Scott, which included footage sent in by YouTube users.

YouTube will have a presence at Sundance Film Festival and South By Southwest to ignite interest in filmmakers to participant in the film festival.

The website launched more than 100 channels from various partners last fall in an effort to expand into original programming.