YouTube Red Unveils First Original Slate at Sundance Fest

Susanne Daniels
Courtesy of Susanne Daniels

YouTube gave Sundance Film Festival a sneak peek Sunday at the first slate of original programming coming to its new subscription arm, YouTube Red.

Susanne Daniels, who left the top content job at MTV last year to become global head of originals for YouTube Red, was on hand to unveil three of the films, which along with series, will be made available sometime next month.

“Today, I am working for a platform that has more power to reach youth audiences than any traditional outlet,” she said to an audience at Park City’s Holiday Village Cinemas.

She was joined by Scott Winn, director of “A Trip to Unicorn Island,” a behind-the-scenes look at a world tour featuring YouTube-based talent Lilly Singh, who is known on the platform as ||Superwoman||; Awesomeness Films president Matt Kaplan, whose “Dance Camp” will be the first of multiple films coming to YouTube, and Rooster Teeth creative director Gavin Free, one of the stars of sci-fi comedy “Lazer Team.”

All three talked about their respective projects while showing 10-minute excerpts to the crowd. Because the films feature talent who have already made a name for themselves on YouTube, the hope is even just a small percentage of YouTube’s massive global audience will spend to see longer-form content from creators they are accustomed to seeing short-form fare gratis.

“Putting the movie straight into the existing fan base will hopefully spread it further than any other platform could,” said Free, who cited sci-fi comedies of yesteryear like “Ghostbusters” as inspiration for “Lazer,” which follows a group of guys who accidentally shoot down a UFO.

“YouTube is open game for anyone in the world to become a next-generation media star,” said Daniels. “This is who we are.”