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DAILY NEWS: Site's Niche Plan; African Diaspora Fest

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire November 22, 2000 at 2:0AM

DAILY NEWS: Site's Niche Plan; African Diaspora Festby Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
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DAILY NEWS: Site's Niche Plan; African Diaspora Fest



by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE

>> New Site Aims to Create Web of "Micro-distributors" Via Niche Outlets


(indieWIRE/ 11.22.00) -- A new website with a catalog of more than 200 films
is embarking on a strategy aimed at selling videos and DVDs of mostly indie
movies. Dubbed Article27 (http://www.article27.com), the site will soon
announce specific plans to sell its library through partnerships with a
network of Internet sites. Co-CEO Rolfe Swinton spoke with indieWIRE about
his company's "micro-distributor" initiative.


"Fundamentally, the best place to start is where the market is most
underserved," Swinton explained, adding that that he is targeting specific
groups or niches for this strategy, aiming to secure sales from Gay sites,
indie sites and others. "Its about changing what is the nature of
mass-market," commented Swinton, adding, "It turns a niche into a large
addressable audience."


Among the partners that Article27 has already partnered with are
Chaitime.com, a site for South Asians, BuyIndies.com, an indie film outlet,
1-World Films.com, a foreign film-themed site, BigEmma.com, a laserdisc &
DVD clearinghouse, and Gay.com, which recently announced an merger with
PlanetOut.


Swinton indicated that Article27 secures what he calls, "direct-to-consumer"
rights from filmmakers, including broadcast, cable and/or video/DVD rights.
Among the movies that it is selling through this strategy are Guy Maddin's
"Twilight of the Ice Nymphs," Roko & Adrian Belic's "Genghis Blues" and other documentaries, including "Lucky People Center International" and
"Anthem."


Among the deals that Swinton and Article27 expect to announce over the next
few months are plans for a wireless pact, a video-on-demand (VOD) strategy
in Europe via cable networks and a partnership for Internet-based VOD.
[Eugene Hernandez]


>> African Diaspora Fest Premieres Van Peebles, Bankole and Sissoko Films


(indieWIRE/ 11.22.00) -- "That's the most stupid fuckin' question I've ever
heard," answers legendary director Melvin Van Peebles, when asked whether the
film industry has changed for the better for black filmmakers since he began
his career over 40 years ago. "Why? Because they didn't exist. Because there
were no black directors. There were none. None. Bupkiss," he says.


The "godfather of modern black cinema," and creator of the 1971 hit "Sweet
Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
," Melvin Van Peebles returns to narrative
filmmaking with "A Bellyful" ("Un Contre du Ventre Plein"),
having its New York premiere this weekend at the 8th annual Contemporary
African Diaspora Film Festival
(Nov. 24 - Dec 10). According to Van
Peebles, "A Bellyful" fits the bill of the Diaspora fest, reflecting the
diverse spirit of the term: "It's a very universal story in my mind," he
says. "It could have easily taken place in Oregon." The DV-shot French-
language fable follows the exploits of a middle age white couple who adopt
a young black orphan girl for some dubious plans. As a director who spends
as much time in New York as Los Angeles and Paris, Peebles himself is a
symbol of the wide reaching expanse of the diaspora.


With features and documentaries coming from as diverse countries as Algeria
to Australia, Chad to Congo, the USA to Zimbabwe, the festival will open
Friday night with the U.S. premiere of "Otomo," directed by German
Frieder Schlaich, a 2000 Rotterdam competition entry and winner of the
2000 Vancouver Film Festival's Diversity in Spirit Award. "Otomo"
is part of a retrospective of actor Isaach de Bankole, who also appears
in several festival selections, including "Ghost Dog" (Jim Jarmusch), "The
Keeper
" (Joe Brewster), and the U.S. premiere of Senegalese master Cheick
Oumar Sissoko
's latest film "Battu," a satire co-starring Danny Glover.


The festival also includes special programs and panels celebrating Brazilian
and Egyptian cinema, black images in Canadian cinema, the Afro-Latino
experience and the work of black women directors. The fest will take place at
the Anthology Film Archives and Riverside Church in Manhattan and the Plaza Twin in Brooklyn. [Anthony Kaufman]


For more information, visit the festival web site at:
http://www.africanfilm.com/festival or call
212-864-1760.