YouTube is stepping up its existing partnership with Sundance to showcase its new original shows at the film festival.
Sundance, which begins today and runs until 31st January, is no stranger to YouTube, which has previously helps panels and workshops at the Utah-based event. The video site, which is one of the biggest platforms for short-form video, has long sponsored Sundance’s shorts programme and will also take the winning shorts on a tour of US cinemas.
“On YouTube, there are no limits to creative freedom and we are committed to actively advancing the work of innovative, risk-taking storytellers worldwide,” said Danielle Tiedt, Chief Marketing Officer at YouTube, in a release. “Our extensive collaboration with Sundance Institute furthers our mission to connect with, inspire, and support independent creators.”
During the festival, YouTube will host a digital panel discussing the rise of virtual reality and its impact upon storytelling. That educational initiative will continue after the event, with a “New Voices Lab” taking place at YouTube Space LA in November that will focus on developing projects that are more experimental or innovative. Those who complete the Lab scheme will become members of Sundance’s Alumni community, earning additional creative and strategic support.
“The Sundance Institute | YouTube Creators Intensive and New Voices Lab will discover and nurture a new class of visionary independent artists creating episodic content,” Michelle Satter, Founding Director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program, said in a statement. “Together with our broader Episodic Storytelling Initiative, these programs will support the next generation of artists who are shaping the very nature of the form and bringing fresh, original series to audiences.”
A separate workshop that starts at Sundance, Creators Intensive, before continuing for three days at YouTube Space LA in March will help selected YouTube creators, including Anna Akana, The Gregory Brothers, and sWooZie, to develop new series and shorts for potential first-look deals with YouTube Originals.
Indeed, YouTube’s original production arm remains a focus for the site, as its new shows not only reinforce its relationship with existing users but also provide exclusives to woo people onto its subscription service, YouTube Red.
A second YouTube panel, arguably the most important for the video site, will be held on 24th January and highlight the current slate of YouTube Red Originals, with stars such as Lilly Singh, aka. IISuperwomanII, discussing their upcoming projects.
In the case of Singh, that is feature film A Trip to Unicorn Island, a documentary about her first world tour and her battle with depression.
The movie will premiere on YouTube Red this year. You can watch a sneak peek of it above.