Filmmakers, mark September 15 on your calendars!
The Babelgum Online Film Festival, named after the internet TV network, will showcase films that are shorter than 45 minutes long, either shot in English or with English-language subtitles.
Online users will select the 10 shortlisted entries, with the nine-strong jury, headed by Spike Lee, selecting the final six from categories such as documentaries, advertising, animation, social and environment themed subjects or short film, for movies under 20 minutes long. The final category, titled the "Looking for Genius" award, will aim to praise a "new or emerging talent who displays clear and outstanding achievement". Each winner will bag €20,000 (£13,500) and, hopefully, the chance to break into the movie business.
Entry dates: 15 September, 2007 – 15 February, 2008. Winners will be announced at a Gala ceremony likely to be scheduled during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. So start rolling and good luck!
For those of you who don't know, Babelgum is a new contender for the global broadband video market. Just like the Joost project from the creators of the Skype voip service, Babelgum is based on a secure peer-to-peer video network. It is backed by Silvio Scaglia, who made a personal fortune from Fastweb, the Italian broadband video, voice and data service provider.
An interesting aspect of the Babelgum platform is the notion of personalised smart channels, which will automatically suggest specific programming based on recommendations and collective feedback from viewers.
Development is being led by chief technology officer Mallku Caballero, previously co-founder and chief scientist at White Pine Software, which produced CUSeeMe, one of the first popular video applications on the internet.
A billing and tracking system will record which programming and advertising has been viewed and by whom, enabling advanced billing options in the future.