The online event, set to begin Monday, will coincide with the opening of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. People who are not attending the festival in Park City, Utah, will be able to watch the entries at the festival's Web site.
"We started to see some really innovative work coming out of these (online) filmmakers and wanted to create a forum to showcase it," said Sundance Film Festival spokesman R.J. Millard. "We felt that the time was right."
Millard said the idea for the online component began early this year as the Sundance Institute started to recognize filmmakers who were creating work for the Web. The filmmakers work with a smaller screen display and with special tools and software--from Flash animation to online editing.
The online event will be co-produced by Internet search company StreamSearch.
About 300 submissions were entered this year, but only 17 online projects and one special collection will be shown in three categories: animation, live-action and interactive.
"We're looking for great storytelling, a combination of the use of resources, and innovativeness in a way that the stories are told," Millard said.
He added that the films vary from two- to three-minute shorts to others that are over 20 minutes long.
During the 11-day Sundance Film Festival, the online festival will be housed in the Digital Center. Festivalgoers and online viewers will be able to vote for an Online Audience Award, which is scheduled to be announced March 5.
The Sundance Institute began nearly 20 years ago when actor Robert Redford gathered a group of friends and colleagues in Sundance, Utah, and created a nonprofit organization to support up-and-coming screenwriters and directors. The institute views more than 3,000 submissions annually and selects at least 100 full-length films and 60 shorts for exhibition.