Wake-up call

Confab recognizes new-media industry with cell phone film showcase

As a testament to the ongoing convergence of entertainment and new media, and proof positive that good things do often come in small packages, NATPE and mobile media company BigDigit will host the inaugural World’s Smallest TV Festival.

In a competitive showcase honoring the best and most innovative digital video, graphic and TV content created for mobile phones that run two to three minutes in length, the young and expanding business of television-to-phone marketplace is expected to generate a great deal of buzz this year.

BigDigit, which produces and aggregates content for mobile devices, has created this market for filmmakers, animators and creative media professionals by showcasing content, technology, creative tools and brands. With an inventory of hundreds of made-for-mobile films, animations and videos, BigDigit is a pioneer in mobile content aggregation.

“One of the biggest perks for us is the seal of approval we get for participating in a convention the magnitude of NATPE,” says Beau Buck, CEO of BigDigit. “It’s a tremendous showcase and an important endorsement that we think will be mutually beneficial.”

According to research conducted by Intl. Data Corp., the number of wireless phones capable of supporting multimedia imaging and image capture is expected to increase from approximately 19 million units worldwide to close to 300 million in 2007.

With that in mind, and in an obviously changing environment, creating a marketplace conducive to programming to mobile phones is a natural progression.

“In today’s world of modern technology there are a vast number of opportunities for the licensing and distribution of programming content,” says Beth Braen, NATPE’s senior VP of marketing. “You don’t have to be at a television set to watch programming anymore. For kids, teens, people on the go, this presents new and creative viewing opportunities.”

Frank Chindamo of Fun Little Movies, a Los Angeles-based film and broadband production company specializing in comedy, will be one of the participants at this year’s contest.

“BigDigit is bringing together people who are on the forefront of this medium,” says Chindamo, whose short film “Love Bytes” won in the comedy competition at last year’s festival at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Assn.). “It’s a great way to showcase your product, get exposure, meet your competitors and float the crème of the crop to the top.”

John Derevlany, president of Blank Stare Prods., has a series of six short films under the umbrella title Rubber Chicken Loves Surfer Girl that he plans on showcasing in the festival.

“This is a new form of content distribution that could be the wave of the future,” says Derevlany, who was nominated for a writing Emmy in 1996 for Michael Moore’s short-lived series “TV Nation.” “The exposure and being able to create a product that I can personally own are certainly beneficial.”

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