DAILY NEWS: LAIFF Winners; IFILM/TiVo Convergence; AtomFilms Portable; and Miramax Movies Online
Eugene Hernandez and Mike Jones/indieWIRE
>> Birmingham's "Tully" Takes Top LAIFF Prizes; "Bounce" Wins Audience Award
(indieWIRE/4.19.00) -- High above the sunny LA skyline, after a downpour
that lasted all day Monday, the 2000 edition of the LA Independent Film
Festival announced their awards at Yamashiro restaurant in the Hollywood
Hilary Birmingham was the big winner for her fiction film, "What Happened to Tully," capturing both the Best Director and the Critics prize. "Tully"
follows the men of a Nebraska farming family struggling to adjust to
changing landscapes and emotions. Audience Award for Best Film went to
Steven Cantor's "Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope," a doc about the bouncers
at several prominent New York night clubs. Birmingham was presented with
$2,500 cash on behalf of the DGA from director Alexander Payne ("Election")
and roundtrip airline tickets from Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum
for her respective awards. Cantor got a $7,500 film grant from Kodak.
Other awards were given to William Blake Herron for his script, "A Texas
Funeral"; Kevin Fitzgerald for the soundtrack to his fiction feature on
hip-hop improvisation, "Freestyle," and Jason Reitman for his short, "In God
We Trust." A special citation was also given to "Keep the River on Your
Right," David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro's doc on artist Tobias Schneebaum's
revisit to a South American tribe of former cannibals. [Mike Jones]
>> IFILM Pact with TiVo Aims to Create "Convergence" Between Internet and TV
(indieWIRE/4.19.00) -- Today IFILM will announce a deal to deliver its
entertainment content in "high-speed" broadband mode -- and full
screen -- on TiVo's Personal TV Service. The pact not only marks the
first time that TiVo will present internet content via its service, but
it is a first of its kind pact bringing filmed entertainment from the
web directly to home televisions via emerging set-top technology.
In a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, IFILM CEO Kevin Wendle
commented, "This really is convergence -- content developed for the
Internet that is finding its way into [the] living room television set."
Explaining that the deal "further blurs the line between television and
the Internet," he added, "This is [also] a way for us to fulfill our
promise to filmmakers to help get their films out there."
Wendle indicated that TiVo boxes, which record TV programming onto a
hard drive that can be randomly accessed from a TV set, will be
loaded with IFILM movies beginning this summer and new content will be
updated weekly. IFILM with make deals with the makers of the most
popular content on its website (http://www.ifilm.com) as part of the
arrangement with TiVo.
Recent IFILM announcements -- acquiring the Hollywood Creative
Directory, studioXchange and Lone Eagle Pubishing -- have lead
to speculation that the dotcom is abandoning their strategy of
serving as a platform for the distribution of independent film
and video. Wendle clarified IFILM's plans, indicating that
the company is determined be both an entertainment destination
and a resource for Hollywood.
"We are broadening -- we clearly are pursuing the broad opportunity
of film," explained Kevin Wendle who is a co-founder of CNET and
FOX Broadcasting Company and became IFILM CEO in February, "We are
a vertical for the film industry -- whether you want to make a film
or showcase your own film." Wendle added that while other acquisitions
are still in the works, beginning next month the company will begin
to roll out its new products and integrate them into the IFILM site.
>> AtomFilms Will Offer Movies To Go in Deal With Microsoft; Pact to Provide Atom Entertainment on Mobile Devices
(indieWIRE/4.19.00) -- On the same day that IFILM is announcing a deal to
take its content to TV set-top boxes, leading next-gen entertainment
site, AtomFilms, will announce a deal that will put its short films
directly in the hands of consumers.
In conjunction with with today's debut of the new Microsoft Pocket PC,
Atom will announce its new wireless intiative, dubbed AtomToGo. The
pact fulfills a goal that Atom CEO Mika Salmi has been publicly
imagining for months during appearances at seminars and panel
discussions. It is the first initiative that will deliver filmed
entertainment to a personal digital assistant (PDA) or a wireless,
A collection of more than 20 Atom films are now available for download
on the new AtomToGo site (http://www.atomfilms.com/togo). Atom will
be the exclusive entertainment provider on the new Microsoft device,
according to an Atom spokesperson. And through a deal with ActiveSky,
consumers can download Atom content on "virtually any large-screen
mobile device," according to the announcement that will be made today.
"Through ActiveSky's proprietary technology, Atom is able to create
dedicated content for any mobile platform," explained Matt Hulett, chief
marketing and online officer for AtomFilms, in a prepared statement,
"AtomFilms has a broad entertainment vision where consumers can
experience quality content that can fit in every facet of their
lives -- now, with the Pocket PC and Web access, millions of people
will be able to enjoy award-winning Atom entertainment anywhere,
anytime." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Miramax Chooses SightSound.com As Partner to Release Features Online
(indieWIRE/4.19.00) -- Only on a day when AtomFilms and IFILM make major
announcements could a dotcom deal that involves Miramax be partially
eclipsed. The Indiewood studio announced yesterday that it has signed
a non-exclusive pact with SightSound.com to make 12 of its movies
available for pay-per-view download over the Internet.
According to the announcement, Miramax will operate the sites that
offer the films and SightSound will encode and encrypt the movies,
and also handle the ecommerce payments for Miramax. The Miramax
announcement pointed out that "the agreement ensures that
Miramax will retain the majority of download eCommerce revenue
generated by its films."
The titles of the movies that will be released online, and details
on the timing of the online release within a particular movies'
overall distribution plan, have yet to be announced.
"As use of the Internet is rapidly expanding, SightSound.com has
provided us with an excellent opportunity to try this new medium for
distribution of our films," explained Miramax's Harvey Weinstein in a
prepared statement. SightSound.com CEO Scott Sander added in a prepared
statement, "While others just talk about their future distribution
methods, we applaud Miramax for being a trend-setter." [Eugene Hernandez]