Auteurs deliver in hi-def

Online cinematheque will stream classic films

Film producer Eduardo Costantini and computer scientist Efe Cakarel are launching the Auteurs, a Silicon Valley-based global online cinematheque that will stream high-definition independent and classic films.

The Auteurs’ main content provider is Celluloid Dreams.

In May 2006, Costantini teamed with the Weinstein Co. to launch the Latin Film Co., a joint venture to produce and distribute worldwide films by top, and often young, Latin American filmmakers. 

The LFC’s first production, “Elite Squad,” plays Monday in Competition at Berlin.

An initiative outside the LFC, the Auteurs is seeing a beta works-in-progress launch. The Internet cinematheque is backed by the Auteurs, the company created in May by Costantini and Cakarel.

Other investors or board members include Ranjan Das, CEO of SAP India, Aydin Senkut, Stanford professor Joel Peterson and Georges Harik, formerly with Google, who directed the Goolettes, the Google research and development team that created Gmail.

Celluloid Dreams has provided most of the films in the Auteurs Library for its beta launch.

Another key content provider is Kino. Library films include movies from Takeshi Kitano, Walter Salles and Andrei Zvyaginstev, as well as Luis Bunuel’s “L’Age d’or,” Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Cry” and Claude Chabrol’s “The Good Time Girls.”

“The Auteurs is focused only on distinctive and important auteur-driven films,” said Costantini.

Currently, 35 films have been selected, with a target maximum of around 200, he added.

“Our ideal is to show ‘Look At’ sessions: a week, for example, of Iranian cinema,” said Costantini.

The site will be curated by established programmers: the Latin America section, for example, is curated by Peter Schumann, recipient of the Berlinale Camera, who worked for the Berlinale for 35 years.

In consumer terms, the Auteurs will deliver feature-length films at a moment’s notice.

“It’s like YouTube but you get a two-hour, full-length full-screen film in high definition,” said Cakarel.

A social site allowing interactivity, Auteurs will offer interviews and reviews.

The Auteurs’ business model is “freemium,” Cakarel and Costantini said. Most of the catalogue films will be offered gratis. The Auteurs will also offer paid-for premium content and the venture will be financed through advertising.

Costantini’s Costa Films will aid second-phase financing and access to further films.

The Auteurs’ launch comes as “Elite Squad” has its Euro preem at Berlin. Bowing September in Brazil, the Weinstein Co.-Costa Films film, made with Zazen Prods., the label of director Jose Padilha, was the highest-grossing Brazilian film last year.

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