Spacey launches 'to give something back'

Story by Toby Gregory

DIRECTOR Steven Spielberg once said, in an interview, that every child starts off as a movie director, imagining different scenes when playing with their toys.

The trouble is, very few are given the opportunity to pursue their dreams, as the task of scaling Everest can often seem easier than bringing an idea to the Big Screen. Where do you go and what do you do to get noticed?

Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, is acutely aware of this situation and is now giving something back to the profession he has excelled in.

The star of films such as American Beauty and The Shipping News, was in London on Tuesday (November 26, 2002) to mark the UK launch of - a new web-based film forum created by himself and Dana Brunetti to offer undiscovered talent a platform for their work.

"The idea behind the site is to encourage both novice and veteran writers to upload their scripts on to the site, after they themselves have submitted reviews of two of their peers' screenplays," he explained, adding that the aim is to create a true online screenwriters’ forum.

As such, filmmakers are also encouraged to submit their completed short films to the site, where the public and other filmmakers can review their work.

A selection of the best short films, as critiqued by the public, will then be featured three times a year in's online Short Film Festival and will be judged by some of the key players in Hollywood, such as Sean Penn, Edward Norton, Mike Myers, Billy Crystal, Cameron Crowe, Danny DeVito, Tim Burton and Bono.

"If you have done well in whatever business you are in," says Spacey, "it is your duty to send the elevator back down and try to help bring up the next generation of undiscovered talent.

"When I needed help in starting my own career, many people gave me encouragement and became my mentors. Now I want to try to do something inspiring and interactive for new talent and for the film-making community," he added, before paying tribute to the role the late Jack Lemmon played in helping his career.

Thanks to corporate sponsorship, use of is free - and it is already proving a huge magnet for emerging talent. The site has already attracted 28,000 registered members and generated over 13,000 reviews. A total of more than 450 films are available to watch and another 400 screenplays have been loaded on to the site.

"We are using the internet for the purpose for which it was created - as a tool to communicate," explained president and co-founder, Dana Brunetti. "No longer will you need to 'know' somebody to get a foot in the Hollywood door."

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