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Back in May we brought new release movies and more for rent to YouTube in the US. Last month, we took it to Canada. Now, over a thousand full-length feature films from major Hollywood and British studios are available for rent in the UK at youtube.com/movies.

We’ve got some cracking films to keep everyone entertained through the upcoming winter months and beyond. From blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Reservoir Dogs, to new releases such as Hanna, Fast Five, and Red Riding Hood, and even British classics like Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, you can find many of your favourite films in high quality available to rent now at youtube.com/movies.

There’s always more to explore on YouTube. Many movie pages also feature YouTube Movie Extras with free behind-the-scenes videos, cast interviews, parodies, clips and remixes from YouTube’s unique community of content creators. Over time we'll also be adding additional videos and features to YouTube Movie Extras so that you can get even more into movies on YouTube.

Britain has a long history of cinema, starting from the first moving pictures being developed on celluloid film in the UK. Now British film buffs can be part of the digital revolution too, at youtube.com/movies.

Matteo Vallone, YouTube Business Product Manager, recently watched “The Big Lebowski.”

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Here at YouTube, we can’t get enough video. When it comes to movies, we’re just as excited: YouTube hosts a great selection of movie trailers and showcases a variety of independent films in our Screening Room; last year we announced the ability to rent movies from Sundance Film Festival; and this year at Sundance we premiered Life in a Day, a documentary film about a single day on earth filmed by thousands of YouTube users, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Today, we’re announcing another step in our goal to bring more of the video you love to YouTube: the addition of thousands of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios available to rent in the US at youtube.com/movies. In addition to the hundreds of free movies available on the site since 2009, you will be able to find and rent some of your favorite films. From memorable hits and cult classics like Caddyshack, Goodfellas, Scarface, and Taxi Driver to blockbuster new releases like Inception, The King’s Speech, Little Fockers, The Green Hornet and Despicable Me. Movies are available to rent at industry standard pricing, and can be watched with your YouTube account on any computer. The new titles will begin appearing later today and over the coming weeks to www.youtube.com/movies, so keep checking back.

But your movie experience won't begin and end with a single film. With 35 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, there’s a sea of content that can add to your movie experience. Many movie pages feature YouTube Movie Extras -- free behind-the-scenes videos, cast interviews, parodies, clips and remixes from YouTube’s unique community of content creators. Movie pages also showcase reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, so you’ll see feedback from critics before you decide what movie to get into. Over time we'll also be adding additional videos and features to YouTube Movie Extras so that you can get even more into movies on YouTube.

Learn more about movies on YouTube or visit YouTube.com/movies to start watching now.

Camille Hearst, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched "300" and Matt Darby, Product Manager, recently watched "The Matrix."

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You may have heard of a lil’ someone called Fred, the squealing, hyperactive force behind the first YouTube channel to hit 1 million subscribers. Since he hit that milestone in April 2009, he’s amassed more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube and his videos have been viewed more than 616 million (!) times. Oh yeah -- he made a movie, too.

In honor of “Fred: The Movie” joining the YouTube corpus for rent, we asked the Nebraskan teenager who plays Fred, Lucas Cruikshank, to take us behind the scenes of his movie, tell us what was in his trailer (was he a diva?!), and to spill the beans on the YouTube videos he can’t live without.



1) Some people say the movie’s Fred character is different than Fred in YouTube videos. Do you agree?
He’s a little different than the high-pitched voice on YouTube videos and that’s because I think the audience would get annoyed listening to that voice for the duration of the film. Fred is still obnoxious, but I toned it down for the movie, so he’s not as crazy as in his YouTube videos. He is more energetic and hyper in those videos. The movie consists of a theme rather than random videos, creating a need for calmer, storyline sequences with Fred.

2) Describe your on-set trailer. What was in it?
I am used to being all by myself when shooting my YouTube videos and this was completely different because there was a whole crew and service men placed around the set. It was my first trailer, which had a shower, kitchen, and that was a big change from just me with my camera. There were team members with ideas and creative input versus me making all decisions with editing. It was a good change. I was thinking of expanding “Fred” to another medium and need to be open to change and enjoyed the filming/production process.

3) Tell us a fact about the movie that no one else knows.
Nobody realizes how fast the movie was put together; there were meetings in July with Hollywood producers, and I started shooting in early November. Shooting ended two months later, around Christmas.

4) What was your inspiration behind creating Fred in the first place?
I became addicted to making videos after receiving a video camera for my 13th birthday. My friend recommended checking out YouTube. My show became poking fun at video bloggers who are telling a story, but I am blogging at the age of six, when kids are naïve and throw tantrums. I exaggerate all these naïve and child-like qualities in a high-pitch voice.

5) What advice would you give others in your place?
I would say have fun making videos. There is a notion of getting famous overnight, but you need to be patient and love what you do. I was making videos since 2006 and two years later, it took off, and the videos got popular. You should focus on creativity, not just views or subscribers, and be passionate about it.

Charu Magon, Partnerships, recently rented “Fred: The Movie.”

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What's new on YouTube since we last met? Let us count the things...

"Playlist Bar" launch: Last week, we introduced the "Playlist Bar": when you view a playlist, recommended videos (from the homepage), your subscriptions or your favorites, you'll see a control bar at the bottom of the page, displaying the videos from those categories. The goal is to keep you from having to jumping back and forth to different pages to select which videos you'd like to watch next. Autoplay (which is no longer on by default) and the ability to select specific videos from your playlists without ever leaving the page are intended to make your viewing experience more seamless. We're continuing to monitor your feedback here as we plan improvements to this feature.

Local music listings: A new addition to our revamped music page is the "Events Near You" section, provided by Songkick. Discover an artist you like on the page? "Events Near You" will let you know if he or she is headed your way.


Annotations upgrades: We now offer fully transparent annotations with black or white text, a new default color (half-transparent black, replacing red), a new default position for new annotations (off-center), and a cleaner look for tooltips.

Redesigned video manager: The My_Videos page has been reworked to offer streamlined ways of managing and reviewing videos you've uploaded, including options to sort your videos alphabetically, by length, by recency and by views. You can also browse the content you've viewed, purchased and liked, and there's access right here to Insight and Promoted Videos information (to the right of "Edit" button). For feedback on these changes, please chime in here.

Promotional badges: Take a look at the badges created to help you better promote your YouTube channel on site and off. Find the asset you like and click on it to generate handy embed code for your blog or website (you'll have to sign in at the prompt).

New way to embed videos: A new embed code style enables you to view embedded videos in one of our Flash or HTML5 players, depending on your viewing environment and preferences. For more information, see this blog post from our API blog.

Buzz videos on your homepage: As with the Facebook feed import, the YouTube videos your friends are sharing on Google Buzz are now be pulled into your YouTube homepage if you're connected to Buzz (e.g. to AutoShare your activity).

HQ Webcam uploads: That's right: You can now upload high quality video from your Webcam! All webcam recordings will be done at 360p.

Free previews on rentals: All rental videos in the U.S. will show a free preview or movie trailer automatically so you can decide if you want to watch it before buying it. If you're over 18 and live in the U.S., you can check this out right here on the movie Kick-Ass.

The YouTube Team

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The 9th annual Tribeca Film Festival came to a close earlier this week in lower Manhattan and we were proud to be a part of it. As a sponsor of the World Documentary Category, we supported the premieres of films from countries around the world that dealt with important issues ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the black market for falcons. We also spent time talking to filmmakers about opportunities to distribute their films on YouTube, which you can learn more about on our Filmmakers Wanted channel.

Fortunately, our partnership with Tribeca goes far beyond our sponsorship of the festival and we're delighted to let you know that six films from this year's festival are now available for rent on the Tribeca Film channel, as are numerous films from previous years.

Here's a snapshot of these newest Tribeca releases: 

In the year 2024, all of Europe is united by a vast web of underground railways, populated by an army of downtrodden worker bees. When one such cog starts hearing voices and encounters a femme fatale shampoo model who seems to hold some answers, he finds himself unearthing a vast Orwellian conspiracy in this visually arresting animated noir. With the voices of Vincent Gallo, Juliette Lewis, Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgård, and Alexander Skarsgård. 

Mahmud Nasir (comedian Omid Djalili) may not be the most observant Muslim but deep down he is a true believer. His life is capsized when he not only learns he was adopted, but also, even more scandalous, that his birth mother was Jewish and his given name was Solly Shimshillewitz. As Mahmud tumbles into a full-scale identity crisis, a true comedy of religious errors unfolds. With Richard Schiff and Matt Lucas. 

Mat Whitecross (codirector of The Road to Guantanamo) paints a stylized, ripsnorting portrait of mercurial British punk rock pioneer Ian Dury (portrayed by BAFTA nominee Andy Serkis). From a troubled childhood and a battle with debilitating polio to the effects of fame on relationships and fatherhood, here are the highs and lows of a life lived sneeringly, unapologetically out loud. With Olivia Williams, Ray Winstone, and Naomie Harris. 

Like most high schoolers, Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel, Tropic Thunder) is having an identity crisis. What differentiates Leon, however, is that he believes he is the reincarnation of Soviet thinker Leon Trotksy and predestined to follow the same path as his namesake. Tackling issues from students' rights to semi-formal dances, this "revolutionary" comedy will have you united in laughter. 

Loath to take over the family hair-oil business, young Vishnu jumps at the chance to drive his uncle's beat-up Chevy truck across India to its new owner. The young runaway, wandering old entertainer and beautiful woman he picks up along the way make for a magical journey that will change Vishnu's life. With the sumptuous landscape of India as his canvas, director Dev Benegal paints a delightfully original road movie.  

Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, recently watched "The Sandpit."

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Today marks the last day of the SXSW Film Festival (stay tuned for a "BBQ and Music" blog as the music portion of SXSW kicks off tomorrow), where we continued to roll out our Filmmakers Wanted campaign, launched back at Sundance, to educate filmmakers about opportunities to distribute and make money from their work on YouTube, especially through YouTube's new Rentals program.

Here's a shot of some of our handiwork for those of you who couldn't make it to Austin this year...


But for any filmmakers out there who want more than just my amateur photo of a poster, visit our Filmmakers Wanted channel for information on Rentals and how to become a partner.

As much as we've enjoyed our stay here in Austin, it's never a party unless we get to celebrate with all of you. So we've put together a kickin' collection of music documentaries to transport you to that artistic otherworld where music and film coexist in beautiful harmony (and if this virtual otherworld doesn't do it for you, try to get to Austin next year -- the BBQ's really good, too).

Below are descriptions of the films, which are available for rent, and trailers to help you decide what to watch.

Socalled is a Canadian klezmer/hip hop artist and part-time magician with millions of views on YouTube (and he also happens to be performing at tonight's SXSW Film Closing Party if you're here in Austin!). Find out what drives this eccentric rapper as he blasts through the boundaries that separate music from different cultures, eras and generations in "The Socalled Movie."

In the late 80's and early 90's, The Pixies took the indie rock world by storm until internal strife tore them apart. This rockumentary takes you behind the scenes of their 2004 reunion tour and explores some of the band's darker demons.

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, "DiG!" recounts the friendship and rivalry between the American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols.

In "Air Guitar Nation," a cadre of the nation's greatest would-be guitar heroes - including C-Diddy, Jam Toast and The Shred - converge on the first-ever U.S. Air Guitar Championships, before moving onto the world finals in Finland.





Sara Pollack, Entertainment Marketing Manager, recently watched "Socalled - (Rock the) Belz"

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Today's blog post comes from the chilly slopes of Park City, Utah, where we’re getting ready to kick-off our sponsorship of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. So, why are we here?

Independent filmmakers have been critical contributors to our platform ever since we launched our site, almost five years ago. In that time, we’ve increasingly come to understand some of the challenges facing these filmmakers: technology has made it easier and cheaper than ever to produce films; more films have led to more competition for audiences; more competition for audiences has led to more films needing massive marketing budgets to cut through the clutter. And these high costs have made it difficult for independent films to compete, leaving too many films going unseen. 

While YouTube has offered an easy and economical way for filmmakers -- as well as content creators of all kinds -- to instantaneously connect with fans around the world, many of them have told us that the ad-supported business model doesn't always meet their distribution and monetization needs. And so, we are excited today to announce our partnership with the Sundance Film Festival to make five films from the 2010 and 2009 festivals available for rent for U.S. users on YouTube starting this Friday and running through Sunday, January 31. In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead.  We’re also excited to put out the call for more independent filmmakers to join the rental program as part of our "Filmmakers Wanted" campaign at the festival. 

These are early days and in the coming weeks we'll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option. Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing. And making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration; they can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100% of their rights.

But enough talking! You want to watch movies! To prepare for Friday's debut, take a minute to set up your Google Checkout account and watch the trailers below to decide what to rent.  On Friday, we'll post another blog to walk you through how to find and start watching some of these independent films.





 

Grab the popcorn and Swedish Fish,

The YouTube Team