Like its brooding, sparkling vampire characters (and like jokes about its brooding, sparkling vampire characters), Twilight is deathless. The fifth and final film in the Twilight Saga movie series, Breaking Dawn—Part 2, was released almost two years ago, but author Stephenie Meyer is still sucking whatever last drops of relevance she can out of her supernatural-YA juggernaut. Still, Meyer’s latest effort to keep Twilight a going concern is a marginally intriguing one: a Lionsgate-sponsored short-film competition for aspiring female filmmakers, which boasts the involvement of names like Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Frozen writer Jennifer Lee, and Women In Film president Cathy Schulman.
The catch, of course, is that that, once selected (via a vaguely described “social media campaign” that involves something called Tongal), the winners of this competition, which is called “The Storytellers: New Creative Voices Of The Twilight Saga, will be forced—sorry, encouraged—to create short films based on characters from the Twilight universe, under the guidance and mentorship of a “blue-chip panel” that includes the aforementioned names, along with Meyer, Twilight star Kristen Stewart, and Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. Oh, and the films will all premiere on Facebook next year, because that’s the world we live in now. Fans will select their favorite short film, and the winner of that competition will receive “a cash prize and career opportunities,” along with a credit she surely will be in no way embarrassed to include on her resumé.
While the subject matter of this competition may be dubious—one could argue that five feature films is more than enough to explore the not especially deep universe Meyer created with her book series, and that the world isn’t exactly crying out to learn more about, oh, let’s say Bella’s friend Angela—the thinking behind it is admirable enough. Any project that encourages and promotes young, aspiring female filmmakers is commendable, and as far as short-film competitions go, this is a fairly high-profile platform on which an unknown could conceivably build a reputation. Then again, the fan-service nature of the project may prove too constricting for the resulting projects to be interesting to anyone other than Twihards. Which may be just fine by the contest’s eventual winner; as E.L. James has proven, staking out a corner of the Twilight fan-fiction universe can be insanely lucrative.