With Investment from Participant, Emerging Pictures Announces 12 City Digital Cinema Rollout for ’05
by Eugene Hernandez
Emerging Pictures, the digital cinema initiative being forged by Ira Deutchman, Giovanni Cozzi, and Barry Rebo has announced an investment from Participant Productions. As part of the partnership, Emerging will roll-out its Digital Cinema Network in 12 cities this year, offering an array of programming, including independent films and international films and other content, ranging from film festival programming, dramatic performances, and concerts.
While the terms of the investment were not disclosed, Deutchman told indieWIRE on Monday that the rollout will begin immediately. Up to a dozen permanent installations will be up and running by the end of the year, with a “substantial” increase for next year, Deutchman told indieWIRE.
Emerging Pictures is building its network by creating digital projection enabled sites at museums, performing arts centers, science & technology institutions and restored movie palaces.
Deutchman told indieWIRE that Emerging is focusing on smaller cities that are “underserved by current art house exhibitors.” He added that by partnering with existing arts organizations, they would target existing mailing lists and constituencies.
“It all tracks our original business plan, which we really haven’t departed from. We are currently narrowing down a list of 30 candidates to be among our first venues,” Deutchman told indieWIRE, “In addition to sizing them up from a marketing and location point-of-view, we are consulting with some of the indie distributors to find pockets of audience that are currently under-served.”
Deutchman added that the new venues would be full time theatrical venues, all on a regular calendar and showing the same programming contemporaneously. The exception is Emerging Pictures site at Theater Row on 42nd St. in Manhattan, which is a showcase venue that has programming which varies from what is on the network.
The rollout will include the second year that Emerging Pictures will partner with the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, running from April 7-10. They will syndicate the festival to more than a dozen cities while it runs live in North Carolina. Other roll-our programming on tap will include presentations in association with PBS, National Geographic Television & Film, and Japan’s NHK and others. One highlight will be an eight city pilot release of Ken Burn‘s “Unforgivable Blackness – The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson,” for PBS.
Participant Productions was founded last year by eBay pioneer and philanthropist Jeff Skoll. The company focuses on “socially relevant, commercially viable feature films and documentaries.” As part of the pact, Participant and Emerging have formed a distribution deal.
“We’re extremely pleased to have the support of Jeff Skoll and we share Participant’s goal of facilitating the creation of socially responsible media,” said Emerging Pictures founders Deutchman, Cozzi, and Rebo said in a statement. “We are excited by the prospect of providing these types of films as well as others to audiences who have an affinity for a quality cinema experience.”