Move is part of original content push

Yahoo is busting into Sundance in a move to capitalize on the high-profile fest, offering access to nine short films on Sundance.yahoo.com and allowing viewers to vote for their favorite.

The company, which has been seeking aggressively to raise its profile in original content, said Thursday that starting today through Jan. 27, Yahoo Screen will host a selection of shorts premiering at Sundance and chosen in close collaboration with the festival. Yahoo will present the winning filmmaker of the inaugural Yahoo Audience Award with $5,000. The winning film will also be given prominent placement on Yahoo, and all will remain accessible on Yahoo Screen for six additional weeks.

Yahoo said its Yahoo Movies is a top destination online for movie fans, with more than 26 million users per month. Its omg! is among the most-visited celebrity news sites.

“Yahoo is the home for major entertainment events online, and this year we’re bringing film buffs with us to one of the world’s most significant film festivals,” said Mickie Rosen, senior VP of Yahoo Media Network.”Some of the best filmmakers started their careers developing short films, and now our audience has the chance to pick what could be the next big name in the film industry,” she said.

The films include “’92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card,” “Aquadettes,” “The Arm,” “Debutante Hunters,” “Dol,” “Henley,”

“Long Distance Information,” “Odysseus’ Gambit” and “Una Hora por Favora.”

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