Special Offering Makes Independent Films from Film Festivals Worldwide Available on VOD
New York, NY – January 15, 2008 – Building on IFC Entertainment’s successful creation of a national art house for independent films, the company announced Festival Direct, a special presentation of IFC Films that have premiered at major international film festivals and will be available for a limited time on local cable’s On Demand platform. This latest initiative reinforces IFC Entertainment’s commitment to give broad exposure to the many critically acclaimed independent films that are screened at film festivals each year but are lost within the marketplace, never reaching a wider audience. Beginning Friday, February 29th, Festival Direct will be available nationwide for exclusive, on-demand presentation on Cablevision Communication Systems, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Communications and Charter Communications.
IFC Entertainment’s Festival Direct will debut in a special movie section within each cable system’s Video On Demand offering. Customers visiting the Festival Direct VOD section will be able to choose from a selection of five films that have premiered at prestigious film festivals including Cannes, Toronto, Tribeca, Venice and Telluride. Featuring films ranging in subject from terrorism and corruption to the supernatural, this unique On Demand presentation will include renowned festival offerings as well as give film lovers who don’t have access to film festivals the opportunity to experience the best movies made each year. Each film will be available for purchase for $5.99.
"For more than ten years, IFC has provided independent filmmakers with a strong voice and has helped to expand the audience for independent film," stated Jonathan Sehring, President of IFC Entertainment. "Festival Direct extends our commitment to serve the independent community by recognizing these true independent films and delivering them to an audience beyond the entertainment industry and festival regulars, an audience that otherwise may never have the chance to enjoy these special films."
"European films that find a ready audience in Europe and many other parts of the world often seem to struggle in US cinemas. While we can all speculate on the reason for that, the initiative by IFCE seems to me to be enterprising and bold. We hope to reach the audience that more conventional distributors ignore and widen the choice of films available to cinephiles and the general public alike," said award-winning director Ken Loach whose latest film, It’s a Free World…, will be making its debut under Festival Direct.
After winning the prestigious Palme d’Or in 2006 for his film The Wind that Shakes the Barley, (also released by IFC Films), Ken Loach followed with It’s a Free World…, a gritty thriller about a beautiful and ambitious woman who is sexually harassed and then fired from her job at a recruitment agency. Power becomes corrupt, however, when Angie starts her own agency and fails to pay her workers their dues. Now her life is endangered by her own employees. The film, starring Kierston Wareing, and produced by Rebecca O’Brien, was a huge hit at the Venice Film Festival where longtime Loach collaborator Paul Laverty won the Best Screenplay award. It was also selected for the Toronto International Film Festival.
"We’re pleased to strengthen our ongoing strategy to find creative ways to help filmmakers reach as wide an audience as possible," said Lisa Schwartz, Senior Vice President of business development for IFC Entertainment. "IFC Entertainment became the first truly independent distributor to have films available on iTunes, and the first independent studio to launch a major theatrical and VOD day and date effort. By expanding our already successful day and date initiative with this new slate of acclaimed festival films and offering these films on-demand on local cable systems nationwide, we’re giving film lovers all over the country the opportunity to see specialized movies, creating more awareness among a whole new audience."
Other films to debut on Festival Direct:
The Icelandic entry for this year’s Oscars, and Telluride and Toronto Film Festival favorite, Jar City, directed by award-winning filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, follows the unsolved crime of an Icelandic girl who was murdered. Detective Erlendur must investigate a link between the unsolved crime and a new homicide of a local thug, as well as a missing brain from a DNA lab. Starring Ingvar Eggert Sigurosson, Jar City won several Edda Awards including Actor of the Year, Best Film, Best Sound or Music, Director of the Year and Supporting Actor of the Year. Produced by Agnes Johansen, Baltasar Kormakur, Kim Magnusson and Lilja Palmadottir, Jar City is the number one film of all time in Iceland and won Best Film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
From legendary master of suspense, director Nicolas Roeg’s horror film Puffball, is about an attractive, young architect who moves to an isolated valley in rural Ireland to build a house for her husband and her yet-to-be-born child. When her husband leaves her to travel, the town’s local women unleash a host of strange supernatural forces to tamper with her pregnancy. Puffball, which screened at both the Galway and Montreal Film Festivals, teams up Donald Sutherland with Roeg for the first time since the classic Don’t Look Now. The film also stars Miranda Richardson and Kelly Reilly.
Critically acclaimed film Beautiful Ohio, which is set in the 1970’s, tells the story of a family with two progressive parents and one exceptionally gifted son, a math prodigy who speaks in a made-up language. Starring William Hurt, Rita Wilson and Julianna Margulies, Beautiful Ohio screened at the AFI Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival for Breakthrough Performer Michelle Trachtenberg and Debut Director Chad Lowe. Producers on the film are Hilary Swank, Chad Lowe and Mark Burton with executive producer Reginald Miller.
From director and actor James Franco comes Good Time Max, a quirky comedy that follows two intellectually gifted brothers who take different courses in life- one evolves into a successful doctor while the other leads a roller coaster, drug-fueled existence. The film, which also stars Franco, screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Producers on the film include Vince Jolivette with co-producers Zak Knutson and Peter Manoogian and associate producer Annie Oelschlager.
About IFC Entertainment
IFC Entertainment consists of IFC Films, a leading theatrical film distribution company bringing the best of independent and specialized films to theaters; IFC First Take and IFC In Theaters is the operations that together make up IFC Entertainment’s theatrical and on-demand day and date initiative; IFC Productions, a feature film production company that provides financing for select independent film projects; the IFC Center, an art house in NYC and IFC Films on Demand, video-on-demand offerings.
IFC Entertainment was in the Toronto International Film Festival last year with eight films including 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days which won the Palme d’or in Cannes and recently won the FIPRESCI for Best Film of the Year from the International Film Critics; Gus Van Sant’s Cannes award winner Paranoid Park; Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely; Hou Hsiao Hsien’s Flight of the Red Balloon starring Juliette Binoche; Christophe Honore’s French hit Love Songs; Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress starring Asia Argento and Jacques Rivette’s The Duchess of Langeais. Recent successes include Patrice Lecontes’s My Best Friend, Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding, Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or winner The Wind That Shakes the Barley and Jerry Rothwell and Louise Osmond’s Deep Water.