Every once in a while, a movie is released that is so well written, so well directed, so fundamentally GOOD that the film becomes more than just some scenes recorded on celluloid – they become the movies that remind us why we love movies in the first place. Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, The Godfather; these are just a few examples of movies that not only pleased generations of audiences but actually carved a place in American culture. Now, in the 21st Century, where we have the technology to bring pretty much any aspect of our imagination to life, filmmakers are exploring ways to make the best movies possible and this movement is giving birth to a slew of films that will remain important throughout time. Then, there’s Lionsgate who, for whatever reason, has decided to throw out any attempt at making a movie that matters and has now turned back to making more entries in a franchise that is…less than epic – The Twilight Saga. That’s right. There are more of these movies on the way.
Lionsgate and Twilight author Stephanie Meyer have announced that they will be partnering with Facebook to give fans even more Twilight to swoon over. These will be short films and will be distributed exclusively through Facebook next year, and it seems the fans will play a big role in which stories will be told through these films and, even better, which filmmakers should helm these productions. Yes, that’s right, the young adult fanbase is being tapped to make the creative decisions behind these shorts. On the one hand, this may be a brilliant move, considering the fanbase knows what it loves. On the other side of that, the project is not likely to convert non-Twilight fans if all that is presented is more of the same, or worse.
The project, labeled ‘The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of the Twilight Saga,’ will be “a multi-phase contest” in which at least five female filmmakers will be chosen to take the directors’ chairs for the various new films. The judges will include talent that all have some connection to the YA world: Stephanie Meyer, Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Kate Winslet (Divergent), Octavia Spencer (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters), Jennifer Lee (writer, Frozen), Catherine Hardwicke (director, Twilight), Julie Bowen (Modern Family) and the president of Women In Film, Cathy Schulman, who will each also mentor the filmmakers selected. Fans will be involved in every step of the production process through Facebook and Tongal, and the winner of the contest will receive a cash prize as well as a nice boost to their career. Why the decision to produce through Facebook? According to a statement from Dan Rose, VP of Partnerships for Facebook:
“More people than ever before are creating, discovering and engaging with videos on Facebook. This collaboration with Stephenie Meyer, Lionsgate and Women In Film is a great opportunity to engage Twilight’s massive global audience on Facebook through an innovative premium video program.”
For her part, Meyer offers a rather noble explanation for her decision to join the partnership.
“The female voice is something that has become more and more important to me as I’ve worked in the film industry. I’m honored to be working with Women In Film, Lionsgate and Facebook on a project dedicated to giving more women a chance to be heard creatively.”
I must admit, I can get behind that line of reasoning. However, while many would agree that we need more female filmmakers in Hollywood, making more Twilight movies, which center around an obsessed teen girl who is completely co-dependent on her 104 year old vampire boyfriend (oh, teen love), may not be the best way to get there. While each and every entry in the five movie saga mined every penny it could from the box office and absolutely dominated the weekends in which they were each released, the movies are not widely looked upon in a favorable light. The first entry was absolutely laughable but proved that not even bad acting, a terrible script, and poor direction could derail the Twilight train. While each new entry was marginally better than the previous entry, even the final movie, Breaking Dawn Pt. 2, would never be accused of being Oscar worthy. As a matter of fact, the movie was nominated for 11 Razzies (basically, the anti-Oscar), and “won” for worst picture of the year. In other words, creating more entries in the franchise isn’t the best way to showcase talent.
In the end, Twilight fans will continue to love whatever is fed to them and the rest of us will continue to roll our eyes anytime the franchise is mentioned. All we can hope is that the filmmakers that wind up winning make a name for themselves, and maybe we will have a whole new generation of female filmmakers in Hollywood who are ready to take on the world. Do you think it’s wonderful that we are getting more Twilight or are you sick of the series? If you are a fan, are there any characters or stories you hope will be featured in the shorts?