In a rare move that tickles both my hope for the future of movies and my dormant, subterranean cynicism (my cynicism is like a pack of Jurassic piranhas, and only Ving Rhames can truly kill it once and for all. August 20th), Relativity Media's Rogue and AMC Theaters have come together to launch the "Big Break Movie Contest," a contest offering its winner the chance to have their previously undistributed feature film released in 50 AMC theaters for at least one week next spring.

Submissions will be accepted beginning today, with the deadline falling on October 15th. Five films will then be selected as finalists by esteemed film critics such as Kate Bosworth and others who have no vested interest beyond promoting the very best in independent cinema... such as Relativity Media's CEO, Ryan Kavanaugh. Once five films have been anointed, trailers for them will be assembled by Rogue's marketing dept. and slapped up on for public vote.
This contest is obviously mutually beneficial to both parties - some fledgling filmmaker gets to see their name in lights, and Rogue gets to acquire and distribute a new film for almost nothing. The finalists chosen can be expected to be either scary, sexy, or more likely some profound combination of the two, which is fine by me as the contest isn't subject to some benevolent moral decree to champion the finest and most thought-provoking stuff the world of undistributed films has to offer. But while I'm sure that Mr. Kavanaugh and his cohorts are salivating at the prospect of being gifted the next Paranormal Activity, the ominous tidbit in the press release about Rogue "supporting the finalists with further editing and production" suggests that they're happy to fiddle with the submissions until they've gotten what they're looking for.

it's always encouraging when the film industry openly invites new talent to squeeze through its cracks. It's no secret that Hollywood is often seen as a stale and creatively bankrupt place, and any new avenues for fresh blood are to be appreciated. That being said, I trust the public about as far as I can throw them, and that's not very far (the public is heavy, and I have about as much muscle-mass as can be expected from someone who wished Scott Pilgrim had topped the box office last weekend). But here's hoping that this contest will produce a genuinely solid film the public would otherwise have never had the chance to see, and that Rogue takes advantage of getting a free movie by giving us a movie worth paying for.

How do you think this is going to turn out? Will it be a quiet embarrassment or the start of an exciting new trend? Let us know in the comments below.

Head on over to the contest site for all the details.