There are few companies that sit more completely at the intersection of Hollywood and the startup ecosystem than ZEFR (formerly MovieClips). The Los Angeles-based company has signed partnerships with ten of the largest film studios to be their official distribution and rights management arm on YouTube. It has grown over the last 11 months into the largest network of professional content on YouTube, with over 800 million monthly views.
It’s no surprise then that the company announced plans today to further bring the film and technology communities together by hosting a “movie hackathon” during next month’s Film Independent Forum. ZEFR is inviting developers and Hollywood executives to its Abbot Kinney headquarters for three days beginning on Friday, October 19th with the goal of creating original tools and apps that can be used by fans and filmmakers to promote movies and independent films. The event is being sponsored by Co.Create from Fast Company.
Up to fifty programmer participants will be challenged to start from scratch at the event and build a mobile or Web app, or a Windows, Mac, or Linux desktop app using API’s from hundreds of movie sites including Netflix, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube, and Vimeo. Registrants are asked to indicate whether they are a Web, mobile, or desktop developer, a designer, or other, whether they will attend as a team, and what they are thinking about building.
The final products of approximately 41 hours of hacking will be presented at the Directors Guild of America on Sunday, October 21 and judged by a panel including MK Capital partner and ZEFR investor Yair Landau, Launchpad LA managing director Sam Teller, VC and advisor to cloud-based video publisher platform upLynk Dan Beldy, ZEFR co-founder and CEO Zach James, and other high profile representatives of the film community. Three winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $500 – $2,500, but more importantly, an audience with the titans of the independent film and digital technology industries.
More than just an intermediary between Hollywood and YouTube, ZEFR has build deep technology to identify and claim licensed content across the platform so that it can be monetized by its rightful owner, while also providing advertisers premium content to buy against. The hackathon, if successful, will lead to similar industry advancing innovation.
ZEFR operates the fastest growing and one of the most watched channels on YouTube and is a top 10 comScore property. The company recently completed a rebranding in conjunction with closing its $18.5 million Series C financing round, both aimed at positioning the company to move beyond movies into categories such as television, music and sports.
It’s ironic that less than one year after re-launching its business on YouTube, and two and a half years since inception, ZEFR is now an elder statesman of the industry and is itself taking initiatives to bridge the gap between traditional media and technology. The company’s rapid success is proof of what’s possible when all the constituents surrounding a problem get on the same page and agree to use every technological tool available to solve it.
Interested participants can register for the hackathon here.