In a true testament to the enormous effect online video has on the entertainment community, David Victori received an award that no one else has ever claimed before: top honors at the inaugural Your Film Festival presented by YouTube. The awards ceremony was held at the Venice Film Festival where the Spanish director bested nine other finalists for the title. With it comes a $500,000 grant that will enable Victori to work with renowned directors Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender.

This inaugural film festival is the cumulation of months of hard work and crowdsourcing. It was billed as being a festival centered around videos created not by famous directors, but rather by the public. Everyone was invited to submit their own video — which could be any format: long-form, short-form, web episodes, TV pilot, etc — the only stipulation was that all entries must not exceed 15 minutes in length. The public voted last June and the top 10 vote-getters were flown to Venice for the awards ceremony, where the winner was finally revealed.

Victori’s entry, “The Guilt” is a short 13-minute video filled with drama and suspense centered around a man infatuated with finding his wife’s killer. Director, Michael Fassbender, told the Associated Press that he found Victori’s video “very mature and confident” and that he was “engaged from the top of the film.”

Your Film Festival is a partnership between YouTube and Scott Free Productions and is just one of several efforts by the two companies designed to push the boundaries of music, art, and film. Perhaps their most acclaimed success was with the documentary Life In A Day.

YouTube has continued to expand its base from simply being a repository of videos (itself a key part of its appeal) and the Your Film Festival is a further example of this. The Google-owned service is placing significant emphasis on promoting original content — having sunk $200 million into its ‘Channels’ program — while it also recently announced plans for an investigative reporting channel, which will feature content from the likes of the BBC, ABC News, the New York Times and others.

YouTube’s professional channels quietly launched in December 2011 and the program now features close to 100 premium content makers.

For those of you that are curious, here is the award-winning film in full:

Image via Flickr / Rego – d4u.hu