MySpace launched its Mymoviemashup competition to open doors for new talent with a presentation, panel discussion and Big Lebowski-themed party last night at Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in London.

The $1.9 million (£1m) feature film project is a partnership between MySpace, Film4 and Vertigo Films, and has the support of Shooting People, The Times and FutureShorts.

The competition kicks off with an invitation for directors to submit short films via the website with a deadline of April 27th. The site will act as base for the interactive creation of a feature movie set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and the London Film Festival in 2008.

MySpace, Vertigo Films and Film4 will select 12 short films from the entries and will present these to the judging and advisory panel consisting of actors Sienna Miller and Ashley Walters, directors Kevin McDonald and Michael Caton-Jones, producers Andrew McDonald, Stephen Woolley and Nick Love, and the executive vice president of 20th Century Fox EMEA. From the three chosen finalists, MySpace users will select winning director.

Michael Caton-Jones remarked, 'If we see a film we like, we all get excited about it. We aren't typical of the people who put money into films. This is the lunatics taking over the asylum. We will choose something we like, rather than a film that'll make us money.'

He sees Mymoviemashup as a project of 'punk-rock' style creativity that is about finding the film 'gems' and 'empowering' the film makers to get their work seen.

The process of creating the film will be entirely interactive with the MySpace community acting as collaborators, helping to choose the name of the film, suggest script changes, cast aspiring actors, find unsigned bands for the soundtrack, then marketing and distributing the finished product through the MySpace network. On the film's theatrical release, if 200 people ask to see the movie, it will be screened at a cinema in their town.

The launch of the competition is matched with the introduction of MySpace Film in the UK, a new channel that intends to provide a platform for users interested in film. Independent film makers are able to create a Filmmaker profile containing tools to upload their creations. There are plans for a MySpace film festival.

David Fischer, managing director of MySpace for the UK and Europe, admitted that although Mymoviemashup is currently a uniquely British experiment, there are plans to take the idea to the United States and the recently formed MySpace France.