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Thesps leap to online pic ‘Quantum’

Zanetti to make his directing bow

Stephen Dorf, Fay Masterson and John Cleese have inked to star in “Quantum Project,” an indie pic to be helmed by feature production design vet Eugenio Zanetti (“What Dreams May Come,” “The Haunting”) and distribbed exclusively online, for a fee, through SightSound.com beginning May 5.

The $3 million f/x-filled pic about two “electron-crossed lovers,” begins shooting next week and marks the first project to come out of a two-year first-look deal between Pennsylvania-based SightSound and Metafilmics, which most recently produced “What Dreams May Come.”

Zanetti, who also worked on “Last Action Hero” and “Flatliners,” will make his directing bow with “Quantum Project,” scripted by David Aaron Cohen (“The Devil’s Own”).

Metafilmics’ Barnet Bain and Stephen Simon are producing, with SightSound providing the funding. Should pic prove successful, other online Netcasters could also begin producing their own features very soon.

With studios cutting back on slates and filmmakers increasingly searching for more funding, dot-coms could become the next pot of gold.

Deal inked last year with Metafilmics made SightSound the first Netcaster to fund original feature film production and distribute the projects using its own patented technology. SightSound does not plan to sell the theatrical rights to the pic.

SightSound, which has built its business around renting downloadable pics and music online, announced nearly seven months ago that it was stepping into the film production arena (Daily Variety, Jan. 27).

Intertainer recently inked a similar deal with Artisan Entertainment to fund five films at $500,000 each to be broadcast over the Netcaster’s services.

SightSound.com last year became the first dot-com to rent a full-length pic online through a deal with Artisan’s “PI.” Metafilmics is next developing a feature based on Neale Donald Walsch’s “Conversations with God” novels.

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