DAILY NEWS: iCAST/Shortbuzz Post Mortem; Sundance Cinemas Fate in Question
by Eugene Hernandez /indieWIRE
>>Founders Discuss Fate of Shortbuzz After Death of iCAST
(indieWIRE/ 11.15.00) -- This week's apparent death of iCAST was a central
topic of discussion at last night's panel discussion at the Shorts
International Film Festival, entitled "Fate, Fear & Future of the Internet."
Robert and Dion Algeri, the two brothers who founded Shortbuzz (a film site that was acquired by iCAST this summer) joined the discussion on the day
that the news of iCAST's demise hit.
Two key questions of interest to the indiefilm community lingered in the
wake of iCAST parent CMGI's announcement: What is the fate of Shortbuzz
and what is the fate of the more than 400 films acquired by the site?
"The truth is we don't know the future of Shortbuzz," Robert Algeri told
attendees, "Right now we are investigating the possibility of getting it
back." As for the shorts, Algeri added, "We don't own them." Any rights
assigned to Shortbuzz by filmmakers have since been assigned to iCAST,
although it should be noted that Shortbuzz only made non-exclusive pacts
When asked why CMGI decided to make the move to stop iCAST, Robert Algeri
explained, "It really boils down to the fact that CMGI stock lost roughly
90% of its value over the last few months, and they had to make some cuts
-- financial profitability for iCAST was distant."
"What's happened is that the stock market has shifted from irrational
exuberance for Internet stocks to irrational pessimism for internet stocks,"
explained Jason Calacanis, Editor of The Silicon Alley Reporter and Digital Coast Reporter. He added that CMGI is by no means out of money, but simply decided to get out of the online entertainment business.
"They chose not to do this and informed us," added Robert Algeri, "Every
single company in this marketplace is subject to the irrational exuberance
that caused the internet to expand and is causing the Intenet to contract
equally as fast."
As for the Shortbuzz brochure that was distributed at this week's Shorts
International Film Festival indicating, "Put your work on a site that will
still be running tomorrow," Robert Algeri responded, "I wrote that statement
about three weeks ago and it was entirely true at the time, we had no idea
that the end was near." [Eugene Hernandez]
>>Sundance Cinemas Project "As Good as Dead"
(indieWIRE/ 11.15.00) -- The arthouse cinema project between Sundance and
General Cinemas is reportedly "as good as dead" according to today's
Variety. Citing the filing for bankruptcy by General Cinema's, the
Hollywood trade publication indicated that only two of the new arthouse
sites -- one in Santa Monica and the other in San Francisco -- may survive.
Variety's article indicates that Sundance Cinemas' reps declined comment,
but added that approximately a dozen employees for the effort have been let
go, according to a source quoted in the trade. [Eugene Hernandez]