Two initiatives to raise the profile of short film are underway in Park City involving official short film programme sponsor Yahoo! and the separate Focus Forward partnership between video publisher Cinelan and video sharing service Vimeo.

Yahoo! is hosting nine shorts at Yahoo! Screen and the public will vote on their favourite, which carries a $5,000 prize and “prominent placement” on Yahoo! The winner will be announced at the Sundance awards ceremony on Jan 28.

The titles are: ’92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card, Aquadettes, The Arm, Debutante Hunters, Dol (First Birthday), Henley, Long Distance Information, Odysseus’ Gambit and Una Hora Por Favora.

“We look forward to providing film lovers a role in festival voting with our new Audience Award and keeping them connected with minute-by-minute reporting,” Mickie Rosen, svp of Yahoo! Media Network, said. “Some of the best filmmakers started their careers developing short films and now our audience has the chance to pick what could be the next big name in the film industry.”

Meanwhile Cinelan and Vimeo unveiled the global day-and-date premiere of the first five three-minute films in the Focus Forward - Short Films, Big Ideas initiative.

The films will receive their world premiere on Jan 24 here and will play at an evening screening the same day at the Holiday Village 1 in Park City. The selection will be paired with features in the US Documentary Competition and World Cinema Documentary Competition sections.

The first five films in the series are: Meet Mr. Toilet, Hilary’s Straws, The Landfill, Heart Stop Beating and Newton Creek Digester Eggs: The Art Of Human Waste.