REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 4, 2002 — ContentFilm, Magnolia Pictures and Microsoft Corp. today announced the commercial release of
“WENDIGO,” the first full-length independent film to be released to theaters using Microsoft® Windows Media™
. ContentFilm and Magnolia Pictures are distributing
using a preview of the upcoming version of Windows Media Audio and Video technology code-named
to reduce costs associated with traditional film-based distribution while retaining the picture and sound quality that film demands. Digital Cinema Solutions (DCS) will provide infrastructure and technology services to support the release of
The first screenings of
using Windows Media will begin in Seattle March 1 and in Dallas March 15. The movie also is being released in traditional 35mm format in New York and Los Angeles.
is an award-winning film directed by Larry Fessenden and starring Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber and Erik Per Sullivan of television’s
“Malcolm in the Middle.”
Lauded in reviews as
“a darkly beautiful, genuinely scary movie”
(LA Weekly) and
“one of the best indie features in years”
won the Best Film award at the 2001 Woodstock Film Festival.
“Traditional film mastering and release prints are expensive and fairly inflexible,”
said John Schmidt, co-founder of ContentFilm.
“ContentFilm is committed to a mode of digital production and distribution that will greatly reduce these costs, take advantage of ancillary online distribution and promotional outlets, and have the flexibility to respond immediately to split-second market changes. We view DCS and Microsoft Windows Media ‘Corona’ as key enablers in forging this new paradigm in the business of independent film.”
“I’m very excited to be working with Microsoft and DCS on this project,”
said Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures.
“With the quality and cost-effectiveness of the technologies they have developed, digital cinema has now moved past the gimmick stage to be a practical platform, both commercially and aesthetically, for the theatrical exhibition of quality motion pictures.”
was encoded using the audio and video technologies in Windows Media
to make it easy and inexpensive to distribute the film across a variety of media.
which enables the delivery of high-resolution video and multichannel surround sound, can take digital film beyond the Internet to open new possibilities for low-cost movie distribution at commercial theaters and other venues such as film festivals and the Web. Windows Media Audio and Video provide new flexibility for filmmakers and distributors to deliver a great experience on screens ranging from that of the smallest wireless device to digital projection systems in cinemas, such as those being used for the
release. Independent filmmakers can distribute their work more easily, securely and affordably without sacrificing quality, and with easy-to-use tools can go directly from digital video to Windows Media. Windows Media
will be available in beta in the spring of 2002.
“The technologies in Windows Media ‘Corona’ will help extend the reach of independent filmmakers by allowing them to avoid many of the costs associated with traditional 16mm to 35mm blowups and video-to-film recording,”
said Dave Fester, general manager of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“Because of these considerable cost savings and flexibility in content distribution, together with the high inherent audio and video quality of Windows Media, we are confident that Windows Media will become an important technology for distribution of independent films.”
Edward R. Pressman and John Schmidt, two of the most respected voices in the independent film business, established ContentFilm (the
) with the goal of it becoming the leading producer of digital feature film entertainment for distribution through emerging broadband channels and through traditional off-line channels. Through a strategy of aggressive production, and sublicensing agreements to offset investment, the Company anticipates creating a sizable library of feature films in a relatively short period of time and establishing ContentFilm as the leading studio for digital film production.
About Magnolia Pictures
Magnolia Pictures Co. is a newly formed independent film distribution and exhibition company based in New York and Austin. The company is developing a national network of design-conscious arthouse cinemas, utilizing digital technologies to bring efficiencies into the business of film distribution and exhibition. The company currently has theaters in Dallas and Denver, and is releasing its first film,
on March 1. Magnolia Pictures was formed last year by Eamonn Bowles, Bill Banowsky and Pete Warzel. Bowles served as head of Distribution for The Samuel Goldwyn Co., senior vice president of Acquisitions and Marketing for Miramax Film Corp., and most recently president of Shooting Gallery Films where he was responsible for bringing alternatives to film consumers with the critically acclaimed Shooting Gallery Film Series. Banowsky was general counsel and executive vice president of AMFM Inc., the nation’s largest radio broadcasting company prior to its merger with Clear Channel Communications in the fall of 2000. Warzel is the past president and chief operating officer of
United Artists Theatre Circuit Inc., and is past chairman of the National Association of Theatre Owners.
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated digital rights management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft and Windows Media are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
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