Momentum hosts Q&A with cast in London

With studios offering films via iTunes to SAG voters, Momentum Pictures, the Brit arm of Alliance Films has unveiled another campaign innovation: In an outreach to BAFTA members, the distrib held a London Q&A with the team behind “The King’s Speech” and satellite fed it to 62. U.K. theatres. The film led BAFTA noms with 14 bids.

Days later, the pic’s U.S. distrib, the Weinstein Co. wanted in and approached Momentum-Alliance to pick up the Q&A feed for the U.S. for two theatres for BAFTA and SAG members.

The feed also went to the Landmark Theaters in L.A. and the Regal East Walk in N.Y., and it was available live on Ustream.

Director Tom Hooper and actors Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Claire Bloom participated.

The studios are tapping into technology as a way of campaigning in a cheaper and more effective way. Fox announced this month that its Searchlight films would be available to SAG members on iTunes, and Focus Features and Sony soon followed. Studio execs agree that the iTunes screenings are now safer than sending out screeners and are significantly cheaper than mailings to 120,000 SAG members.

Similarly, a hefty portion of campaign budgets is spent on travel expenses for a film’s team. Other studios are bound to use the satellite-feed concept. “Speech” also held a Jan. 13 Q&A at L.A.’s Wads-worth Theater that was fed live to KCRW and the Huffington Post.

In the past, there have been occasional satellite feeds for Q&As and for panel discussions (such as the DGA’s session with nommed film directors), but nothing on this scale.

Weinstein Co. will widen “King’s Speech” to 2,500 screens on Jan. 28, banking on a slew of Oscar noms Tuesday.

With Oscar ballots already turned in, the big campaigns are next targeting the SAG Awards. SAG final ballots are due on Jan. 28, with the awards ceremony to be held two days later at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, switching from its usual Saturday slot to Sunday.

“Speech” and Paramount-Relativity’s “The Fighter” led the Dec. 16 SAG noms with four bids apiece.

SAG Awards are key to campaigners, and there’s an added urgency this season because Sony’s “The Social Network” has taken home multiple awards; that film has the reputation as a director’s-writer’s film, while “Speech” and “Fighter” are considered actors’ films.

Those three are nommed for SAG’s ensemble-cast award, along with “The Kids Are All Right” and “Black Swan.”

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