Ron Howard and Discovery Bet Big on 14 Short Films by YouTube Creators

You might remember Ron Howard as the wry narrator of “Arrested Development” or as Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show” (just kidding, no one on the internet is that old), but he’s obviously also an acclaimed director and producer of films like “Apollo 13,” “Mulholland Drive” and, soon, 14 short films by YouTube’s top filmmakers. Howard, partner Brian Grazer and Discovery Communication have teamed up to create New Form Digital, an online video studio that has cut production deals with some of YouTube’s biggest stars.

The names involved in the venture read like a laundry list of YouTube’s best and brightest. Expect films from 5SecondFilms, Anna Akana, Bertie Gilbert, Chris Riedell and Nick Riedell (The Brothers Riedell), Craig Benzine (WheezyWaiter), Joe Penna (MysteryGuitarMan), Joey Graceffa, Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17), PJ Liguori (KickThePJ), POYKPAC, Sawyer Hartman, Tim Hautekiet, Tony Valenzuela (BlackBoxTV) and Yulin Kuang. The short films are expected to land somewhere near the 10-minute mark and will premiere on their respective creators’ YouTube channels.

The films will be the first product of New Form Digital’s New Form Incubator program, designed to identify up-and-coming talent and provide them with resources.  Many of the candidates are already experienced filmmakers, who will benefit tremendously from the resources and connections that New Form can provide. Likewise, New Form Digital will certainly benefit from each creators’ native understanding of the YouTube ecosystem and built-in digital audience.

This is just the latest example of traditional Hollywood’s increasing interest in online video innovators. Recent months have seen Shane Dawson, The Fine Brothers and AwesomenessTV all developing projects for film and television. New Form is, no doubt, hoping that putting new tools in the hands of experienced online creators will yield exciting results.


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