Microsoft, BMW and Artisan Debut BMW Films Digital Cinema Series With Premiere of “Standing in the Shadows of Motown”

NEW YORK, Oct. 30, 2002 — Microsoft Corp., Artisan Entertainment and BMW of North America, LLC, today announced the launch of the BMW Films Digital Cinema Series on Thursday, Nov. 7, with a premiere screening of Artisan’s
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”
and sneak preview of bmwfilms’
“Beat the Devil,”
part of
“The Hire”
short film series at the historic Apollo Theater in New York . The film will be encoded and screened digitally using Microsoft® Windows Media® 9 Series technology for a high-quality theater experience without a film print. As a supplement to the film’s theatrical release campaign, which begins Nov. 15,
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”
also will roll out to 25 commercial theaters across the country specially equipped with the new DCS Cinema System product introduced by Digital Cinema Solutions (DCS).
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”
will screen digitally in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to its traditional 35mm film exhibition.

Each digital screening also will feature a film from the groundbreaking bmwfilms’ series,
“The Hire.”
The series, featuring short films directed by John Woo, Tony Scott and Joe Carnahan, stars Clive Owen as the mysterious, unnamed driver-for-hire whose unshakable poise and superb driving skills are put to the test. The film series can be seen online at .

Working with a variety of companies, including Dell Computer Corp., Echo Digital Audio Corp., Intel Corp. and NViDIA Corp., Digital Cinema Solutions of Los Angeles has developed Cinema Systems, which combines the high quality and contrast of dark chip digital light processing (DLP) projection with the cost-effectiveness and quality of the Windows Media 9 Series format. The DCS Cinema System is an integrated, plug-and-play solution running on PCs that feature the Intel 2.8 GHz Pentium®
4 processor that allows distributors and exhibitors in the specialty theatrical space to utilize efficiencies in digital exhibition and to explore alternate revenue streams without displacing their current 35mm infrastructure.

“Our Digital Cinema System complements the currently installed 35mm film infrastructure of movie theaters rather than competing with it, and this enables distributors and exhibitors to easily begin delving into this new paradigm without jeopardizing their traditional business models,”
said Jim Steele, president of Digital Cinema Solutions.

As part of the BMW Digital Cinema Series, DCS is able to provide these systems as a service to participating exhibitors at no cost. Once the Cinema System is installed, DCS can continue to provide sponsor-driven programs such as the BMW Films Digital Cinema Series and work with the exhibitors on alternate programs such as virtual concerts, sports events, corporate rentals and multiplayer gaming events.

“Standing in the Shadows of Motown”
is the first of eight feature films in the series to be encoded in Windows Media 9 Series and digitally projected in theaters nationwide. Each digital screening will be preceded by one of the new shorts in the critically acclaimed
“The Hire”

Shot entirely on location in Detroit from December 2000 through January 2001,
“Standing in the Shadows of Motown” is the rousing film of Motown’s legendary studio band, The Funk Brothers, who backed classic Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross and the Supremes.

“Beat the Devil,”
directed by Tony Scott, will debut Nov. 21 on . With a nod toward pop culture, this satirical duel between good and evil finds The Driver hired to chauffeur the legendary James Brown to a meeting with the devil (Gary Oldman). Decades ago, the rock star sold his soul in exchange for fame and fortune, and now, in his twilight years, wants to renegotiate. Hired to take Mr. Brown to a rendezvous with the devil, The Driver soon finds himself entangled in fiendish plans. Rocker Marilyn Manson adds an edgy note to this already soulful short.


Hailed by critics across the country as
with a
“cinema connoisseur’s dream team of directors,” “The Hire”
Internet film series received international acclaim when it premiered in 2001 with original short films directed by five of Hollywood’s most noted directors.

More than 14 million film views were registered last year on the digital-quality streaming video Web site for the first five films of the series, directed by John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Ritchie and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.

This fall,
“The Hire”
returns with three new short films, directed by John Woo (
), Joe Carnahan (
) and Tony Scott (
“Beat the Devil”
). The constant in each short film is star Clive Owen, the mysterious, unnamed driver-for-hire around whom all the films revolve.

Joining Owen is an illustrious supporting cast:
features Maury Chaykin and Kathryn Morris;
stars F. Murray Abraham and Don Cheadle, with special cameo appearances by Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick and Dennis Haysbert; and
“Beat the Devil”
pits Gary Oldman against James Brown in a race between good and evil, with a special cameo appearance by Marilyn Manson.

The second installment of
“The Hire”
is executive-produced by Tony Scott, Ridley Scott and Jules Daly, and produced by RSA USA Inc. and Fallon Worldwide.

Journalists interested in
“The Hire”
can access photographs and press releases on the press Web site, located at

About Artisan

Artisan Entertainment Inc. is the leading independent producer and distributor of theatrical, television and home entertainment product. The company coordinates its business activities through two wholly owned operating divisions, Artisan Pictures and Artisan Home Entertainment.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The new Windows Media 9 Series will power the next wave of digital media, delivering the best playback experience, unmatched audio and video quality, and integrated optional digital rights management technology, and is the most comprehensive platform for developing digital media products and services. The Windows Media platform includes Windows Media Player; Windows Media Services, the powerful streaming server for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video for the best quality audio and video; Windows Media DRM for protecting content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit 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 .

About Microsoft

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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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