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Intel inside H’wood, via IMAX

INTEL GOES to the movies: Mention the word Intel and most people think of computer chips. And why not? After all, the company introduced the world’s first microprocessor 23 years ago, and since then, has been leading the way with their 286, 386, 486 and most recently, the Pentium processor. But now, in one of the best examples of the merging of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Intel has stepped into the world of big-budget filmmaking, producing the $ 10 million IMAX film, “The Journey Inside,” which is scheduled to open in Atlanta next month and at additional IMAX theaters this summer.

In addition to marking Intel’s foray into the IMAX world, the 40-minute film, which was directed by veteran ridefilm director Barnaby Jackson and produced by Adam Moos, is noteworthy for a number of other reasons.

For one thing, though the film is educational, it features a narrative plot, something not usually found in the IMAX format. IMAX films are often referred to as “destination” films; in other words, the viewer travels to a specific place, such as the Grand Canyon or the Brazilian Rain Forest, sans plot.

“The Journey Inside,” on the other hand, is an action-adventure story about a young boy who goes up against aliens. Not forgetting its educational roots, however, the film does attempt to teach us how computer chips are made and used.

“The film was a true test of this medium,” said Jackson, whose company, Rocket Motion Pictures, is currently producing “Endless Summer: The Ride,” which will be released concurrently with New Line’s bow of the feature film sequel this summer. It was Jackson who suggested the sci-fi theme of the movie. “With the use of large scale sets and action sequences, the Imax technology was pushed to the edge, but never failed,” he explained.

Another interesting angle is that the film, whose production was coordinated by Dick Clark Corporate Productions and shot at Hollywood-based Raleigh Studios, utilized the talents of many top-notch Hollywood pros, including cinematographer John Hora, editor William Goldenberg, special effects supervisor Peter Anderson and composer David Shire, in addition to effects house Dream Quest Images, IMAGE G and Metrolight Studios.

“Everyone was eager to work in IMAX,” Intel’s Dana Houghton said. “There’s a growing recognition that these alternative formats are viable and the projects are attracting Hollywood talent.”

Houghton, who runs the company’s IDEA (Intel Digital Education and Arts) program, hatched the idea of Intel getting behind this type of film, and said the company was looking for a way to make people comfortable with technology, but in an entertaining way.

“If you look at research on penetration on personal computers, more people don’t use them than do use them,” says Houghton. “This will prepare the public to consume technological products. We can effect that part of that equation.”

As for Intel’s future involvement in filmmaking, Houghton said, “This one will have to be very successful before I go back to my management to invest and do another one. We may very well consider it.” And for the next step, feature films? “It’s highly unlikely that we would branch out into feature films,” he said.

MORE AWARDS SHOW: From the “What took them so long?” department and on the heels of the Oscars, Grammys, Tonys, People’s Choice and various other awards shows, comes word that Toronto-based Milestone Entertainment has joined up with the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences to produce the Interactive Academy’s first awards show for worldwide TV distribution.

The show, which will be presented live on June 16 from the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, will feature awards in 34 categories.

A call for entries has been mailed to members of all branches of the entertainment industry, requesting submissions for nominations in various categories. The categories have been broken down into five areas: general, talent, talent support, platform awards and the Governor’s Awards, including a lifetime achievement award and best technical achievement.

The nominations will be announced during the week of May 15, and just like the Academy Awards, both the nomination and final voting will be supervised by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse.

Regardless of who gets nominated, one thing is for certain — we can’t wait to see the production numbers.

SPEAKING OF AWARDS: Kodak looks to be well-represented on Oscar night Monday. Not only is the company previewing a new 30-second commercial featuring eight Oscar-winning cinematographers, but the company will give out 400 of its Fun Saver single-use cameras to fans in the bleachers outside of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Kodak will also use its digital cameras to photograph Oscar winners as they receive their awards. By the time the winners reach the backstage area, a thermal print will be presented to each winner.

MARKETING multimedia: It looks like the selling of the new media isn’t going to be as easy as unloading soap or toothpaste. At least that’s what Odyssey, a Bay Area research firm, has discovered. The Odyssey study, which surveyed 4,000 consumers nationwide on their attitudes about the new worlds of multimedia and interactivity, revealed that, unlike traditional advertising, demographics will not play as important a role as “attitudes” in the selling of multimedia products.

“A lot of what has been said and written about the new media assumes a single market,” says Nick Donatiello, Odyssey’s president and CEO. “For all intents and purposes, there are six markets, not one. This poses a remarkable challenge to marketers, because what turns on one segment alienates another.”

Those six segments comprise:

  • “New Enthusiasts,” who are described as willing and able to pay a premium for the latest technology, but are demanding consumers and more cautious than traditional early adopters;

  • “Hopefuls,” who believe it is important to learn new technologies, but lack the economic and educational means of the previous group;

  • “Faithful,” who are satisfied with current TV offerings, but who are willing to pay more;

  • “Oldliners,” who are not interested in learning to use new technologies and are concerned with costs of the new technologies;

  • “Independents,” who watch TV less than any other group and have a below average cable TV subscription rate;

  • And “Surfers,” who have above average cable subscription rates, even though they are dissatisfied with their cable TV provider.

With these six groups in mind, Donatiello says that “marketeers are going to have to be savvy. The groups are a lot more diverse than anybody thought. The idea that there is one application out there that will appeal to everybody isn’t realistic anymore.”

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going “surfing.”

(Andy Marx can be reached on PAGE and CompuServe. His CompuServe number is 70324,3424.)

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