LA-based producer Deepak Nayar and former Fox TV chief Sandy Grushow have officially launched Filmaka, an ambitious 'digital studio' and online creative community which plans to create a new model for identifying talent and developing entertainment properties.

Nayar founded the company, which is based at, in late 2006 as a series of monthly competitions in which budding film-makers produce and submit short films on a designated theme. They are then judged by both the online community and a panel of judges including Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Neil Labute, John Madden, Zak Penn, Paul Schrader, Colin Firth and Bill Pullman.

Monthly winners are then entered into the final annual contest in which one of 39 contestants wins the chance to direct a feature film produced by Nayar and Filmaka. William Morris Agency is representing Filmaka and every year the top finalists will be flown to Los Angeles for meetings with the agency for possible representation.

The winner of the first annual competition will be announced next week (April 28).

Grushow came on board last summer. The former chairman of Fox Television Entertainment Group will run the company as president and has enlisted US TV network FX and brewing company SAB Miller to sponsor contests whereby Filmaka members will submit content for potential sitcom pilots or branded entertainment use respectively.

During its first year or so of trial operation, Filmaka has amassed an active community of 3,600 aspiring film-makers from 95 countries who have created more than 80 hours of content.

The company has also entered into revenue-sharing agreements with YouTube and Vuze for Filmaka-branded VOD channels and with Play TV UK for branded VOD and 24/7 linear channels.

Nayar, CEO of Filmaka, has producing credits including Lost Highway for David Lynch, Buena Vista Social Club, Million Dollar Hotel and The End Of Violence for Wim Wenders, Bend It Like Beckham for Gurinder Chadha and The Walker for Paul Schrader.

Grushow began his career as an intern for 20th Century Fox in 1983 rising to vice president of creative advertising for the film studio. He moved to Fox Broadcasting Company in 1988 as senior vice president of advertising and promotion, finally moving up to chairman of Fox Television Entertainment Group overseeing both Fox Broadcasting and 20th Century Fox Television Studios.