If you’re hanging out at the crossroads between mainstream entertainment and online video you’ll probably run into Kevin Spacey. That actor’s hit show, “House of Cards,” pretty much single-handedly legitimized Netflix and every other streaming video platform looking to create premium content, so it’s not too surprising to find him hanging around the YouTube Space LA. In this case, he was there to host the Jameson First Shot Competition, a contest for emerging filmmakers.
Spacey’s production company, Trigger Street Productions, has co-sponsored the contests with James Irish Whiskey three years running. The competition gives unknown or rising filmmakers the chance to demonstrate their skills by shooting a short scene devised by Trigger Street Productions. Based on those scenes, the top three participants win the opportunity to direct a major Hollywood star in a short film of their own devising. Spacey has played that part in past years, as has actor Willem Dafoe. This year, Uma Thurman took up the challenge.
The winners this year were “Jump” from American director Jessica Valentine, “The Gift” from Russian filmmaker Ivan Petuhkov, and “The Mundane Goddess” by South African newcomer Henco J. All three winners’ shorts star Uma Thurman and are available on Jameson Irish Whiskey’s official YouTube channel.
YouTube has been a huge asset for aspiring filmmakers who no longer need the help of TV networks and Hollywood studios to put their work in front of audiences. Bringing a contest like James First Shot to the YouTube Space LA is an important signal that mainstream Hollywood is taking YouTube and online video more seriously as a way to scout new talent and develop audiences for new projects.
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