DAILY NEWS: Icebox.com and FOX, Blow Up and Redford; and IFC Goes North of the Border
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> Icebox.com Makes Pact with FOX for "Zombie" Series; Makes Profitability Projection
(indieWIRE/ 11.29.00) -- In what it trumpets as the first sale ever of an
original Web series to a major U.S. television network, Icebox.com has
announced a pact to bring "Zombie College" to FOX. According to the
announcement yesterday, the web-based studio/incubator indicated that FOX
will unveil the series as a half-hour pilot for next Fall's season. The deal
marks Icebox' second series contract, following their sale of "Starship
Regulars" to Showtime. It also gives the company an opportunity to tout its
The animated series is about a university with an integrated human and zombie
student body. It was created by "Futurama" writer and producer Eric Kaplan. The network series will be a live-action rendition of the program.
"The sale of another Icebox series -- the first to one of the four major
domestic networks -- demonstrates the viability of our business model,"
commented Icebox.com CEO and Co-Founder Steve Stanford, in a prepared
The perception of the "viability" of a business model is a major benefit of
such a pact and important during what has been a trying time for web-based
entertainment. Yesterday's announcement went a long way to reassure any
readers that Icebox.com is solid.
In another statement, CEO Stanford predicted that his company would be
profitable by the end of next year. "We will accomplish this," he explained,
"By aggressively reducing our production costs while maximizing all of the
revenue generating opportunities available to us." Acknowledging the fact
that web-based entertainment requires numerous distribution platforms,
Sanford added, "It is currently very difficult to reach profitability on
advertising alone -- we will also focus on building a second run web
syndication business, forming international distribution partnerships, and
developing pay-per-view and subscription services."
According to yesterday's announcement, Icebox.com will offer new "webisodes"
of "Zombie College" and "Queer Duck," "Hard Drinkin' Lincoln" and the
much-discussed, "Mr. Wong." The company indicated that it is negotiating to
create feature films from two of its series and added that it is developing
new shows with "Felicity" creators J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Katz.[Eugene Hernandez]
>> Blow Up Teams with Redford for New Digital Feature
(indieWIRE/ 11.29.00) -- The producers behind the digital features "Chuck
and Buck" and Dan Minahan's upcoming "Series 7," have announced the start of production on Peter Mattei's "Nine Scenes About Love." The movie, which will be shooting for a few weeks in New York, stars Steve Buscemi, Rosario Dawson, Vera Farmiga, Malcolm Gets, Adrien Grenier, Jill Hennessy, Michael Imperioli, Carole Kane and Dominick Lambardosi. It is produced by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente's Blow Up Pictures, along with executive producers Robert Redford and Michael Nozik from South Fork Pictures (Redford's indie company).
Described as a chronicle of "the lives of nine New Yorkers connected in
their search for love and sex in the big city," the film was workshopped
by Mattei at the 1998 Sundance Filmmakers Lab. He is known for his work as a playwright and a theater director. Open City Films, Blow Up's parent, is currently
shooting Peter Sehr's "Love the Hard Way" in New York. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> IFC Heading to the Great White North
(indieWIRE/ 11.29.00) -- The Independent Film Channel (IFC) announced
yesterday that it has made a deal to launch The Independent Film Channel
Canada. The news was revealed yesterday by IFC and Salter Street Films, who indicated that the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications
Commission approved a license that will give the network guaranteed
"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to extend the IFC brand into the
Canadian market and to showcase independent film to a wider audience,"
commented IFC Executive VP/General Manager Ed Carroll in a prepared
statement. "The partnership reinforces IFC's position as the leading
network for independent film in North America."
As part of the announcement, the partnership confirmed that it will jointly
develop and produce television programming. Notably, Salter Street Films'
President and COO is Catherine Tait, former executive director of the IFP.
The company produces Michael Moore's series, "The Awful Truth," which airs on IFC's parent network, Bravo. [Eugene Hernandez]