Movie download service strikes deals

Jaman, the recently launched U.S. movie download service specializing in world cinema, has struck two separate deals, with the Tribeca Film Festival and sales outfit Dreamachine, to make a wider range of foreign arthouse pics available online.

Under the pact with Tribeca, six films screening at this year’s fest, which opens Wednesday, will be offered simultaneously for free download by users anywhere in the world for a period of seven days.

Deal is believed to mark the first time a major festival will have given online exposure to part of its full-length feature program at the same time the movies unspool at the fest.

Meanwhile, Jaman has acquired U.S. Internet rights to an initial batch of 42 films from Dreamachine, the company formed from the merger of Celluloid Dreams and HanWay Films.

Pics in the deal, which is intended to be the start of a longer-term relationship between the companies, include works by directors such as Walter Salles, the Dardennes brothers and Takeshi Kitano.

Jaman, based in San Mateo, launched to the paying public in February after a year in development. It’s a peer-to-peer service using proprietary technology to deliver world cinema in what it describes as “better than DVD quality.” It also aims to be a social networking site for fans of arthouse movies.

It has accumulated a library of around 1,300 films, which it offers either to rent for $1.99 or to buy for $4.99. It offers some titles free in a promotional effort to attract users. Jaman carries no advertising on its Web site as part of its strategy to present itself to filmmakers as a high-quality environment for their work.

Its proprietary P2P technology is attracting favorable reviews both for quality and level of security. Execs at both Tribeca and Dreamachine cited that technology, along with Jaman’s dedication to bringing world cinema to a wider audience, as principal reasons they chose Jaman as an online partner.

Jaman senior VP of operations Carlos Montalvo said: “In this year’s Academy Awards, foreign and independent cinema dominated every sector. But we believe there is a huge chasm between the consumer’s growing demand for such cinema and the ability of the traditional studio model to deliver a broad enough quality of films to supply that demand.”

Tribeca has entered a two-year relationship with Jaman. As well as offering online six movies that are screening at the fest, Jaman has run a promotion offering consumers a trip to the event. Tribeca will also help Jaman pitch its service to filmmakers attending the festival.

The six films available for download are Russian/Uzbek doc “Between Heaven and Earth,” Hungarian animation “A Guest of Life,” Serbian drama “The Optimists,” classic French crime movie “The Pelican,” experimental U.S. feature “Razzle Dazzle” and Argentine doc “The Tree.”

Jon Patricof, chief operating officer of Tribeca Enterprises, said, “We’ve secured permission from the filmmakers to do this. For them, it’s a very similar proposition to their reasoning for coming to the festival in the first place. These are all films which are continuing to look for broader distribution, and having the films on Jaman will raise their profile and might lead to additional distribution opportunities for them.”

Patricof also said the filmmakers will get detailed info on how their films performed in the online showcase.

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