A group of online video storytellers are heading to the Venice Film Festival after their short films were named finalists in YouTube's inaugural Your Film Festival.

Organizers announced on Wednesday the 10 contenders heading into the finals.

The more than 15,000 films originally submitted were whittled down to 50 by filmmaker and producer Ridley Scott's production company Scott Free. The worldwide YouTube community then watched the 50 semi-finalists and voted for their favourites.

"These 10 finalists have achieved something quite remarkable and are all clearly talents to watch," filmmaker and producer Ridley Scott said in a statement.

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YouTube's Your Film Festival is sending 10 finalists to the Venice Film Festival, where one online storyteller will win a $500,000 prize to create more content. (YouTube)

"People may be surprised to know that making a short film is very difficult, but these filmmakers have all succeeded in realizing their visions and I congratulate them on this achievement."

The finalists, each about 15 minutes long, are:

  • 88:88, Joey Ciccoline (USA)
  • Bat Eyes, Damien Power (Australia)
  • Cine Rincao, Fernando Grostein Andrade & Fernanda Fernandes (Brazil) 
  • The Drought, Kevin Slack (USA)
  • El General, Diego Pino Zamora (Bolivia)
  • The Guilt, David Victori Blaya (Spain)
  • North Atlantic, Bernardo Nascimento (United Kingdom)
  • Super.Full., Niam Itani (Lebanon)
  • Scruples, Adrian Powers (Australia)
  • This Time, Ramy EL-Gabry (Egypt)

The filmmakers will travel to Venice and see their films screen as part of a special section at the festival on Sept. 2.

A jury led by Scott and actor Michael Fassbender will choose the winner, who will receive a grand prize of $500,000 to create original content for YouTube. Scott and Fassbender will also serve as executive producers on the subsequent project.

The Your Film Festival is one of several prominent YouTube projects tying together its online community with traditional artistic endeavours. Past initiatives have included the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, the YouTube Play exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Life in a Day documentary project.