Lanford Beard
January 19, 2012 AT 03:35 PM EST

Oscar-nominated Ridley Scott is teaming up with YouTube and the Venice Film Festival to host a worldwide (Web) film festival. The video upload site is inviting aspiring filmmakers to post 15-minute shorts online from Feb. 2 to March 31. From there, the Gladiator director (whose Prometheus hits theaters June 8) and members of his production company will select 50 semifinalists and toss them back to YouTube users to narrow down the top 10.

The finalists will screen in Venice — the world’s oldest film festival — in August, where a jury will choose the winner of a $500,000 prize. Nate Weinstein, YouTube’s manager of entertainment marketing, explained, “The goal is to connect new voices with a global audience of unprecedented size.”

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