YouTube distributes Lionsgate/Massify shorts

First project from the partnership to start shooting in May

TORONTO -- YouTube is to release film shorts jointly produced by Lionsgate and film collaboration Web site Massify.

The distribution deal follows Vancouver-based Lionsgate and Massify last October pacting to develop short and feature film projects by crowdsourcing production.

YouTube will be the main distributor of short films produced by Lionsgate Incubator, the Lionsgate/Massify partnership that taps Massify's online creative talent to produce film shorts and features.

The first project from the partnership will be a male-driven comedy short possibly to be developed as a feature film.

Before production on the short film starts in May, writers and filmmakers will have until March 8 to submit pitches for the inaugural project. After a Lionsgate development team selects a concept, directors will be invited to pitch how they would shoot the project, and cast and crew members from Massify's network will similarly compete for available production roles.

Once production on the short film begins, YouTube will release making-of footage, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage and an eventual completed film.