It’s a bit impossible to not be a bit cynical about the news that an insanely profitable and seemingly finished film franchise has found a way to squeeze just a little bit more juice out of its concept (wassup, J.K. Rowling?), but the people behind this slight Twilight continuation have made it very hard to hate on them.
Author Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the four Twilight novels, and Lionsgate, the company that produced the movies, have partnered with Facebook to develop five short films set within the vampire-and-werewolf series’ universe to be shown exclusively on the social media network next year, and they’re seeking five female directors to make them. The talent search, dubbed “The Storytellers: New Voices of the Twilight Saga,” will be hosted on Tongal, according to The New York Times.
The winning directors will be chosen by, and get guidance from, a panel that includes Meyer and Twilight actress Kristen Stewart, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and notable figures in the movie industry not associated with the franchise, including actresses Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen and Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee. The organization Women in Film, which seeks to empower, promote and mentor women in the entertainment business, has also backed the “Storytellers” project.
Women aren’t getting enough opportunities behind the camera and when they do get a chance to helm a film, they usually aren’t getting the high profile gigs and the potential blockbusters. Last year, only two of the top 100 highest grossing films were directed by a woman. To push back against this disappointing trend a new crop of female filmmakers needs a chance to show off their talents on a big stage and that’s what this competition aims to do. Unfortunately, though, that means that these filmmakers will be constricted by the blood-drained husk of the Twilight mythology with their work relegated to Facebook. The fine people at Lionsgate are doing their damnedest to make that sound like a pretty cool thing, though.
“We think Facebook is a great way for us to introduce the world of ‘Twilight’ to a whole new audience while re-energizing existing fans,” Lionsgate’s vice chairman Michael Burns told the Times. “This is the just the beginning — a template, if you will,” Mr. Burns added. “You can probably guess what might be coming next.”
I love guessing games, don’t you? I think this means that Facebook and Lionsgate are going to team up to do a historical epic about the dust bowl via Farmville, but I may be somewhat off the mark. Also, do they really need to expose Twilight to an audience beyond the one that they already have? Have the tweens aged out of the coveted demographic? I understand the financial realities, but what about the moral concerns? What about the children? The ones that we’ve raised up on The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the idea that they don’t need a sparkly vamp or a hairless werewolf to save them. All of a sudden this contest feels like a double edged sword in that we’re going to expose new people to fresh Twilight, but hopefully the winners will spin something entertaining and worthwhile from the crumbs of the franchise and this can be a win-win.
Source: Rolling Stone