Francis Ford Coppola today announced the relaunch of the Family Coppola’s Zoetrope.com site, which has become a virtual studio for the writing community. The redesign will include a showcase for short films.

The website is an interactive crowd-sourcing, online writing workshop platform that originally launched nearly two decades ago, with the intention that it would be a network for artists but also would provide a great source of content and story ideas for Coppola’s acclaimed literary magazine, Zoetrope: All-Story. However, the platform quickly gained traction among writers as an online creative community. The website set the precedent for a new era of crowd-sourcing and writing workshops.

“When I was a kid I remember looking in the locked gates of a movie studio which was across the street from the junior high school I was attending,” the filmmaker said in a statement. “I was wishing that I could get in and see what these mythical movie studios were. Years later, I actually bought that studio, and I went to that junior high school and talked about it to the students. “I said, ‘All right, kids, let’s go,’ and I took them across the street and right in through the studio gates. And that’s what I was trying to do with this site – let everyone have access to a movie studio or set a new context of creative community for people interested in cinema, music, acting, art, graphics, photography, songwriting and so on.”

Zoetrope.com added the short films section for screenwriters, directors and producers to receive peer feedback. The site encompasses acting résumés, photography, songwriting, short films, stories, novels, scripts, short flash fiction, poetry, music and photos.

The way it works is for every story a member submits, they are required to review five other works, so each person gets exposed to other writing, which provides growing opportunities in addition to receiving feedback. Members also can create groups based on specific interests and areas of creativity, as well as invite friends and other members to join. Membership is free.

Work submitted also can be considered for inclusion in Zoetrope: All-Story, as well as the first short-story vending machine in the United States, designed by Short Edition and housed in Coppola’s San Francisco restaurant, Cafe Zoetrope.

Two writing contests — the 20th annual Zoetrope: All-Story Short Fiction Contest and the 14h annual American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest — are running on Zoetrope.com, where anyone can submit entries. The grand prize for the fiction contest is $1,000 and $5,000 for the screenplay contest. Both contest winners also will receive consideration from top literary and talent agencies.