'La vida loca' to be digitally delivered to theaters

Christian Poveda’s documentary “La vida loca” will become one of the first feature films commercially distributed in Europe by satellite when it opens in France on Sept. 30. It’s a sign that digital distribution is finally open for business in Europe, according to Arts Alliance Media topper Howard Kiedaisch. “It’s here; it’s real.”

Arts Alliance and Arqiva Satellite & Media handled the technical side of delivering “La vida loca” for Gallic distributor Cine Classics.

Digital cinema rollout in Europe has been slow compared with the U.S., with the region only now approaching 2,000 screens. Digital delivery has lagged even more. So far, exhibitors have been happy to receive digital prints on hard drives and to get alternative content via consumer satellite systems. Professional satellite systems capable of handling encrypted digital feature prints are less common, limiting commercial distribution opportunities. “People are hesitant to put in the equipment until they see there is the possibility of delivery,” Kiedaisch says.

Talk of using broadband has also been a distraction. “It’s very difficult, particularly in Europe, to guarantee that you’re going to have a thick broadband pipe into a cinema.

“La vida loca” was beamed to 19 theaters belonging to the CGR Cinemas multiplex chain as a JPEG 2000 digital cinema package.

Exploring street gangs in El Salvador, the pic may sound like alt content, but it has considerable local buzz following the helmer’s murder in El Salvador this month. The size of the booking and CGR’s d-cinema commitment made satellite distribution an attractive option.

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