First effort to be marketed, financed by AtomFilms

Stepping into the production game, actor Michael Rapaport (“Small Time Crooks”) has formed Release Entertainment, together with former development exec Michael Lindenbaum, to create a slate of films, television shows and Internet projects.

First effort skedded to come out of the Los Angeles-based operation is “10 Items or Less,” a 10-episode Internet series produced, marketed and fully financed by Netcaster AtomFilms.

Series, set to begin shooting this weekend in Long Beach, stars Rapaport as a cynical New York supermarket bag boy with opinions on everything from paper vs. plastic to the contents of the customer’s grocery carts.

Each roughly two-minute seg will also star Adam Goldberg (“Saving Private Ryan”), among others. Webisodes will run on AtomFilms’ site beginning this summer.

AtomFilms will exclusively own the Internet rights to the series. It paid Rapaport’s Release Entertainment an undisclosed amount of cash as part of the deal.

Pact, especially in its willingness to fund new productions, continues to signal how far Seattle-based AtomFilms is willing to go to try to become an Internet studio and generate content for its own Web site.

On the traditional film side, Rapaport said Release Entertainment has seven pics in development, with the hopes of beginning lensing two of the independently financed titles before the start of next year.

“I’ve always been interested in producing,” Rapaport told Daily Variety. “It’s important not be only considered a hired hand. This is a huge step in making this possible. I’m fortunate to have a great partner, who’s the better half of me.”

Lindenbaum was a development exec for Joel Schumacher and Renny Harlin’s production companies. He met Rapaport on the set of “Deep Blue Sea.”

Currently appearing in Woody Allen’s “Crooks,” Rapaport will next co-star in Nora Ephron’s “Numbers” and “Navy Diver,” with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert DeNiro.

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