The ‘Twilight’ Saga Is Back, Proving Vampires Really Don’t Die
The Twilight era seemed to finally come to an end two years ago with the fifth and final installment of the movie franchise, but now it’s back — and in the most bizarre, unexpected way possible. Lionsgate and author Stephenie Meyer just announced plans to find five aspiring female directors to create seperate short films based on the characters in the hit YA vampire series. Entitled “The Storytellers — New Creative Voices of ‘The Twilight Saga,” the project is reportedly set to debut exclusively on Facebook next year.
Though none of the original stars will appear in the film, Kristen Stewart, who played Twilight’s Bella on the big screen, will reportedly be included in the group of female panelists responsible for choosing the winning shorts and mentoring the participants. Also joining the panel is a diverse group of actresses and other Twilight team members, including Meyer, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, producer Cathy Schulman, Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee, and actresses Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, and Julie Bowen.
According to The New York Times, certain contest details, including the required length of each film, are still being finalized, but all specifics will be made available on crowdsourcing site Tongal. All of the mini-movies will be financed by Lionsgate and its production partners. Though a spokesperson for the studio declined to reveal the exact budget, she did confirm that it would be “a significant amount” for short films.
“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 Chair Michael Burns said, per The NY Times.
This isn’t the first time Lionsgate has used social media like Facebook as a unique promotional tool for one of their movies. Earlier this year, they created a teaser for Divergent, another one of their popular YA franchises, that went on to become the networking site’s first video ad. It seems we should expect plenty more of that type of marketing in the future.
“This is the just the beginning — a template, if you will,” Burns told The NY Times. “You can probably guess what might be coming next.” Though the Chair declined to give any further detail on their future plans, he later added, “We love Stephenie Meyer,” leading many to believe there will plenty more Twilight collaborations headed our way and possibly even another full-length film.
Regardless of what exactly the studio has planned in terms of promotional partnerships in the coming months, this latest project does make one thing clear: social media will only became an increasingly valuable platform for studios looking to maintain buzz around their popular film franchises in between installments. It also means that, for better or for worse, studios will now have the ability to rejuvenate already ended series like Twilight.
Of course, whether it will really work or not is a different question. Lionsgate is smart to tie the project to a specific cause — in this case, the promotion of the female voice in film. But the competition itself doesn’t seem the most fan-friendly, given that the public isn’t choosing the winners, and therefore, have little way to participate other than watching the shorts once they’re released. Not to mention, the project lacks the very thing that fans are most passionate about: the presence of the franchise’s actual stars.
We’ll have to stay tuned to see what kind of response the mini-films get during their premiere in 2015. In the meantime, it seems like we’re stuck with more Twilight talk for at least another several months.