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Netflix Contest to Fund Indie Film

By Chris Tribbey | Posted: 08 Jan 2009

LOS ANGELES — Actor Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, W.) had only $17,000 to spend on his directorial debut, a short film called X.

Whoever he and other judges pick for the Netflix FIND Your Voice Competition will get a lot more help: $150,000 cash, a four-week camera package from Panavision, thousands of feet of film from Kodak, $75,000 worth of dailies and prints and a $150,000 digital production package from Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. The winner’s film will also get DVD and digital distribution from Netflix, maybe even Blu-ray Disc treatment too.

“These guys will give someone a great opportunity to manifest their vision,” Brolin said when the contest was announced Jan. 8. “What these guys are doing at Netflix is wonderful.”

The contest being held by Netflix and Film Independent (FIND) sets up an aspiring filmmaker with all the tools they’ll need to get their script off paper and onto people’s TV screens, said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

“The film will have its debut on Netflix and will be available to our 8 million subscribers … and they will retain all the rights to the film,” he said. Brolin will serve as one of the judges, along with Milk executive producer Dustin Lance Black and producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (Milk, American Beauty).

Dawn Hudson, executive director of FIND, said only Netflix could pull off a contest like this.

“I have access to more independent films than most people … and even I find new ones through Netflix,” she said.

The contest is limited to first-time filmmakers who have not publicly screened a full-length movie. Only 2,000 entries — in the form of video shorts — will be accepted, and the public will be able to vote for the 10 semi-finalists. For more information, visit www.netflix.com/findyourvoice.

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