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Fans of the Twilight series will soon have new films to watch — but they won’t be coming to theaters.
Lionsgate and author Stephenie Meyer are partnering with Facebook to create a new series of short films based in the popular YA universe that will be distributed exclusively on the social network next year. As part of the initiative, called “The Storytellers — New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga,” a “multiphase contest” will be held, resulting in the selection of at least five female filmmakers to helm the new shorts.
Participating in the selection and mentorship of the filmmakers will be a group of panelists including Meyer, Kristen Stewart, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Frozen writer Jennifer Lee, director Catherine Hardwicke, Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen and the president of Women In Film, Cathy Schulman.
Fans will then help judge the best short, with the ultimate winner receiving an unspecified cash price and opportunities to advance their career. Fans will be included in both the development and the production of the individual films, via both Facebook and the crowdsourcing platform Tongal.
“More people than ever before are creating, discovering and engaging with videos on Facebook,” Facebook vice president of partnerships Dan Rose said in a statement. “This collaboration with Stephenie Meyer, Lionsgate and Women In Film is a great opportunity to engage Twilight‘s massive global audience on Facebook through an innovative premium video program.”
The move provides a potential glimpse into Facebook’s video strategy moving forward. Back in 2011, Warner Bros. announced that it would begin renting movies on Facebook as part of a trial. That initiative eventually fizzled, but Facebook has continued forward with a more focused strategy in the years since. It began testing auto-playing video ads last year in connection with Divergent — another popular YA franchise — and projects like the Twilight initiative could both play to Facebook’s strengths as a social media platform, as well as allow it to be the exclusive home to to video content not available on other platforms.
Even more importantly, the Twilight contest will allow Meyer to reach the passionate fans of her franchise and enabling their own creative participation at the same time. “The female voice is something that has become more and more important to me as I’ve worked in the film industry,” said Meyer. “I’m honored to be working with Women In Film, Lionsgate and Facebook on a project dedicated to giving more women a chance to be heard creatively.”
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