Today YouTube launched a new section of its site titled The YouTube Screening Room, which it calls a "platform for films from around the world to find the audiences they deserve." Here, they will showcase four short films every two weeks and will even offer an occasional feature. Some of the films have been previously screened at film festivals and some have been nominated for or have won an Academy Award. But others will be premiering on the site. Apparently, the filmmakers will be paid a percentage of YouTube's ad revenue based on views and each film will also feature a "Buy Now" button so that you can purchase that film or other films.
Today's debuts include Are You the Favorite Person of Anybody?, a 2005 short written by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), directed by Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl) and starring John C. Reilly, Mike White and July. I've embedded it above for your viewing pleasure. The other three are The Danish Poet, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2007, Love and War, which is a stop motion opera from Sweden, and Our Time is Up, which was nominated for Best Live Action Short in 2006 and which stars Kevin Pollak.
Over at the blog CinemaTech, there's some criticism about the way the "Buy Now" button works (for Our Time is Up, it initially brings you to a page without instructions or purchase information) and the lack of personal communication from the filmmakers that would help develop a fanbase. Yet in general, the concept seems beneficial to both artists and audiences. There's even an email listed for independent filmmakers to recommend their own films for showcase.