• The New York Times - LOS ANGELES — Two years after Lionsgate released the fifth and supposedly final installment of its “Twilight” movie series, the studio has devised an unusual franchise-rekindling effort — and it may hold clues about Facebook’s future in Hollywood.
Lionsgate and Stephenie Meyer, the creator of the vampires-and-werewolves “Twilight” saga, on Tuesday announced plans to select five aspiring female directors to make short films based on “Twilight” characters. The mini-movies, financed by Lionsgate and its production partners, will be shown exclusively on Facebook next year.
The short film series, called “The Storytellers — New Creative Voices of ‘The Twilight Saga,’ ” has the backing of Women in Film, an organization devoted in part to ending a shortage of female directors. While not overtly championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, the initiative could be viewed in the context of her “Lean In” efforts to empower women in the workplace.
A group of female panelists, including the “Twilight” actress Kristen Stewart and Ms. Meyer, will select the winning shorts and mentor participants, Lionsgate said. Other panelists include the actresses Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen; Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the first “Twilight” movie; the film producer Cathy Schulman; and Jennifer Lee, who co-directed “Frozen.”
Certain contest details, including the length of the shorts, are still being worked out and will be made available on Tongal.com, a crowdsourcing platform. A spokeswoman for Lionsgate declined to say how much the studio would spend, but added that it would be a “significant” amount, at least by short-film standards. The cast members of the “Twilight” movies are not expected to appear in the short films.
• The Hollywood Reporter - 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.
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."
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