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Kevin Spacey searches for online talent

The Academy Award-winning star launches an online initiative to help aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters get their foot in the door.

Actor Kevin Spacey on Monday unveiled an online initiative to help aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters get their foot in the door.

The Academy Award-winning star has launched a Web site called TriggerStreet.com in an effort to create an online community to shine a spotlight on lesser-known creative works. The site is hosting a festival for short films by new or relatively unknown filmmakers that will be screened strictly online.

The site will also offer screenwriters a chance to submit their works for peer review. Those who want to submit scripts must read, rate and review two other works.

Spacey envisions TriggerStreet "as a place where a community can be created for people who don't have access, who don't have an agent, who don't have the ability to get on a plane to knock on doors," he said in an interview.

The site is partnering with RealNetworks, which will provide its Helix technology to encode the movies, and will use Yahoo Movies to distribute promotions. Movies will also be encoded in Apple Computer's QuickTime.

Spacey and his business partner Dana Brunetti are hoping that the online film festival will lure film buffs and amateur directors onto the site. Viewers choose the 10 best entries, and then a winner is selected by a panel of celebrity judges, which includes actors Mike Myers and Annette Bening, and U2 lead singer Bono.

Spacey and Brunetti would not reveal the prize.

Using the Internet as a tool for exposing undiscovered talent has been a dream for the movie industry for some time. However, Hollywood's track record has been dismal, as evidenced by the failures of Imagine Entertainment and DreamWorks SKG's Pop.com, Digital Entertainment Network, Icebox.com and AOL Time Warner's Entertaindom.

Spacey and Brunetti, however, consider their initiative different because they're not trying to make money off the Internet. The pair is not guaranteeing that the film festival winner will be picked up by a producer, but it's a way for people to watch and get input on their creative works.

"We're using (the Internet) as a tool to communicate and not as a storefront," Brunetti said in an interview.