This Monday, the seven finalists in a "Twilight" short film competition presented their work to a theater full of fans and industry insiders.
Back in October of 2014, Lionsgate, the studio behind the film series, and Stephenie Meyer, who, of course, wrote the "Twilight" novels, announced that the franchise was very much alive. The most exciting part of this news, in our world at least, was that female directorial hopefuls would be chosen to make the short films, based on "Twilight" characters, that would serve to keep the female-driven franchise going.
The competition, borne of a collaboration between Meyer, Lionsgate, Women in Film and the crowdsourcing program Tongal, received 1,300 script submissions. 150 directors pitched to direct.
Each selected filmmaker received $50,000 to fund the production of a short based on characters from the Twi-Universe. The directors worked closely with both Meyer and producer (and Women in Film board member) Cathy Schulman.
“It’s been really exciting to do something, maybe not on a huge scale, but on a small scale to get more female voices out there,” said Meyer during a Q&A that took place after the shorts were screened Monday. She explained, "In any given room, you are talking to 50 male directors and one female director pitching for the same project. What was exciting about this project is someone was willing to put their money where their mouth was.”
“This was the perfect opportunity to show the work of our philanthropy, which is to support and bring eyeballs to the work of female filmmakers,” added Schulman.
Let’s revisit the fact that the first film in the "Twilight" franchise was the only one to be helmed by a female director despite the fact that the movies are based on a series of books about a girl and written by a woman, and that the books’ primary readership — and viewership — consisted of girls and women. That’s why The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of "The Twilight Saga" is an especially welcome step in the right direction by putting women back at the forefront of the series.
You can watch the seven shorts and cast a vote for your favorite over at Tongal. Meyer, Schulman, original "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke, Kristen Stewart, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Julie Bowen, Jennifer Lee (co-writer and co-director of "Frozen), and others will help choose the winner, who will receive $100,000.
The shorts are directed by Nicole Eckenroad, Maja Fernqvist, Amanda Tasse, Cate Carson, Yulin Kuang, Lindsey Hancock Williamson and sisters Kailey and Samantha Spear. Five of the shorts have already been viewed more than half-a-million times, so the contest has definitely succeeded in bringing eyeballs to the work of female filmmakers.
[via Entertainment Weekly]