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Intertainer, Artisan team on five pics

Distribbery gets b'cast rights

Artisan Entertainment strengthened its support of digital filmmaking Wednesday, saying that it has paired with video-on-demand service Intertainer to digitally co-produce and distribute five pics in the $500,000 range.

Under terms of the deal, the produced pics will be showcased on Intertainer’s cable television- and Internet-based service, soon to roll out on various cable set-top boxes, after Artisan releases the pics theatrically or on homevid. Artisan will retain domestic rights to the features.

The announcement was made at the Sundance Film Festival by Artisan prexy Amir Malin and Intertainer chairman/co-CEO Richard Baskin.

Artisan hit digital pay dirt with “The Blair Witch Project,” a low-budget horror pic that grossed $136 million domestically.

The indie this week also bought Miguel Arteta’s digital pic “Chuck & Buck at Sundance” at the Park City, Utah, festival.

Artisan has dabbled with broadcasting pics on the Web before, most recently screening “Pi” exclusively through Netcaster SightSound.com. The deal with Intertainer signals Artisan’s interest in pursuing further new media avenues for its pics.

Said Malin, “Intertainer is a service that is on the forefront of digital distribution and we are extremely confident they will prove to be a great partner and resource on these films not only as a content-delivery vehicle but also as a production partner.”

The deal marks the second major pact for Intertainer in less than two weeks. Last week, the Santa Monica-based company said it secured $56 million in financing from Microsoft, positioning Intertainer to be paired up with interactive TV provider WebTV, as well as installed on Microsoft’s other high-speed Internet set-top box partnerships.

Distrib duo

The new deal expands an existing content distribution partnership between Artisan and Intertainer’s Baskin.

Baskin produced soundtracks for Robert Altman’s “Nashville” and Alan Rudolph’s “Welcome to L.A.” Jonathan Taplin, Intertainer’s prexy and co-CEO, produced indie pics “Mean Streets,” “The Last Waltz,” “Until the End of the World” and “To Die For.”

Intertainer’s service offers subscribers a slate of music, TV programming and pics to PCs or TV sets. Similar to TiVo and ReplayTV, the service also enables users to view selections like a VCR, allowing them to stop, rewind and fast-forward programming.

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