YouTube Next WeekendThought YouTube was all cat videos and Chocolate Rain? Think again! Okay yes -- most of them are cat videos (I'm not complaining,) but nowadays independent filmmakers are uploading videos that are gaining attention, paying their bills, and opening up doors for their careers. What kinds of doors? Well, for the first time, a major film festival will curate and screen a short film program exclusively featuring YouTube videos, thanks to the partnership between YouTube and Sundance to bring you YouTube Shorts @ NEXT WEEKEND. This means that not only will the big YouTube hitters, like CollegeHumor and VICE, have a chance at being in the lineup, but you as well.

Held this weekend (Aug. 8 - 11) in LA at Sundance Sunset Cinema, this is the first year of the NEXT WEEKEND film festival, which is an extension of the popular NEXT <=> section at the Sundance Film Festival. The 73-minute YouTube programming, YouTube Shorts @ NEXT WEEKEND, contains shorts from channels, like VICE, CollegeHumor, and Machinima, as well as some from individual users.

Raymond Braun, entertainment marketing manager at YouTube tells L.A. Biz:

The Sundance Film Festival programming team, led on this project by short film programmer Mike Plante, reviewed the wealth of content on YouTube and selected a lineup that reflected the energy, enthusiasm and aesthetic of NEXT WEEKEND. The program complements the feature films being shown at the festival and matches the spirit of the NEXT ⇔ category at Sundance Film Festival.

This gives indie filmmakers an opportunity to get their work seen by the folks at Sundance, however the competition is pretty stiff, with the likes of Sarah Silverman, BuzzFeed, and an assortment of users' videos that have gone viral being a part of the lineup. Here's a viral video from CollegeHumor that is a part of the programming:

What do you think? Does this sound like a good opportunity for indie filmmakers? Let us know in the comments.