Slamdance has announced a worldwide video content collaboration with Microsoft on both Zune and Xbox platforms. The initiative will launch during the Slamdance Film Festival with a four film, 7-day program providing video rental throughout North America starting on January 27, 2010. The festival itself begins tonight and runs through January 28th.
This news comes just a day after fellow Park City-fest Sundance announced that it would premiere three of its films on YouTube during this year's fest.
With regard to the Slamdance deal, Zune video Marketplace will make the selected films available on video-on-demand across North America on both Zune and Xbox platforms. During this 7-day period movie fans have the opportunity to rent some of the same films being screened at the Slamdance Film Festival on their computers or through Xbox LIVE. Price per film rentals during the festivals will range from 600 to 880 "Microsoft Points" (which can be purchased on Zune.net, Xbox.com, from the Zune PC software or Xbox LIVE).
Thereafter, the video content from Slamdance will expand worldwide through the Zune Marketplace with year-round programs featuring download to own and rental videos to the more than 20 million Zune and Xbox LIVE members. The first films in the collaboration include two documentaries and two narratives, "showcasing Slamdance's range of emerging diverse and independent voices."
"We're very excited to be the exclusive digital presenter of the Slamdance Film Festival and bring its unique festival experience to our millions of marketplace users," said Paul Davidson, manager of Global Video Content for Zune Video Marketplace, in a statement. "We share their passion for nurturing and supporting new talent and by offering the films in the marketplace; we hope to do just that."
Slamdance President and Co-Founder Peter Baxter added: "Slamdance has a true independent identity and proven track record of unearthing great films. It's time now to be progressive and unleash our film programs outside of the festival and directly help filmmakers find popular, worldwide audiences. The standard of Slamdance films deserve this much and we believe the audience will respond."
Films selected for Zune and Xbox distribution are, with descriptions provided by the festival:
Making its US premiere, American Jihadist (directed by Mark Claywell) examines the life and times of Isa Abdullah Ali, and African-American Muslim from the ghettos of Washington, DC, labeled a "known terrorist" by the U.S. Defense Department though he's never been charged with any crime. Ali fought for six years in Lebanon and Bosnia and was shot multiple times for his religion. What makes a person willing to pick up a gun for their religion? Are the underlying causes purely religious? Or might religious militancy be a means of addressing chronic social, economic and political issues? And what do the answers mean for the wider Islamic World? These questions underlie American Jihadist.
Adam Barker directs the documentary Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story, a brutally honest look into the life and mind of one of the most out-spoken, forward-thinking, visionaries ever to come out of the motor-sports industry. Larry Linkogle is a world-record holding dirt-bike legend whose off-the-cuff antics and aggressive "never sell out" attitude was the spark that kick-started the entire freestyle motocross revolution. But as the new sport took off beyond expectations, so did Larry's battles with his inner demons. A heart-wrenching account of the demise of the sport's most infamous legend, Mind of the Demon's timeline is told through incredible archival footage, and interviews with every top industry name. Past and present storylines intertwine to drive the film toward one of only two possible conclusions: the most unlikely inspirational comeback story of all time or a nosedive into a black hole of self-destruction. Narrated by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorheard, the film features interviews with sport talents including Carey Hart, Christian Fletcher, Mike Metzger, Seth Enslow and Jeff Emig among others.
The Scenesters is an innovative and quirky murder mystery that both honors and deconstructs the conventions of the classic 'who-done-it?' film noir. A dark comedy that uses the 'found footage' approach to storytelling, the film compiles supposed 'real' clips from a variety of sources - courtroom transcripts, crime scene videography, news reports, etc - all detailing how a group of Los Angeles twentysomethings got mixed up in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a prolific serial killer. The film's soundtrack (and plot) features indie-rock favorites The Airborne Toxic Event, The Cribs, The Sonics, Wallpaper, Le Switch, and many many more. A film by Todd Berger, the film also stars Sherilyn Fenn, Suzanne May, Blaise Miller and Jeff Grace.
Making its world premiere, a modern medieval saga The Wild Hunt tells the story of Erik Magnusson, a young man who decides to follow his estranged girlfriend Evelyn into a medieval re-enactment game when he discovers that she has been seduced by one of the players. As the down-to-earth Erik treks deeper into the game in search of his love, he inadvertently disrupts the delicate balance of the make believe fantasy-land. Passions are unleashed. Rules are broken. Reality and fantasy collide. The good-hearted game turns into a tragedy of mythic proportion. Directed by Alexandre Franchi, the film's cast includes Kaniehtiio Horn, Mark Anthony Krupa, and Ricky Mabe.