IFilm shorts get Oscar runs via AMC

Series will bow next month in Los Angeles

This article was corrected on June 22, 2000.

In a novel partnership, movie theater chain AMC Entertainment and iFilm said Wednesday they are launching a showcase that will allow selected helmers of short films to comply with a recent AMPAS ruling requiring films to be screened theatrically prior to Internet distribution in order to be eligible for an Oscar.

The jointly produced iFilm@AMC Series will bow next month in Los Angeles, screening several short films to ticket buyers in a program totaling 40-55 minutes. The partners will screen the program twice daily for three days.

IFilm will handle all marketing, distribution and print production costs, while AMC will set aside theater space. The dot-com’s programming team, led by former AFI fest director Jon Fitzgerald, will work with AMC’s film execs to select films for the series.

AMC is one of the nation’s largest exhibs. IFilm chairman Skip Paul sits on AMC’s board of directors.

“This is about helping filmmakers get a shot at winning the Oscar,” said iFilm co-founder and CEO Kevin Wendle.

Submissions from iFilm’s 24 dot-com “preferred partners” will be encouraged as part of the program. Partners include AlwaysI, Cinema Pop, Eveo, FilmFilm, Film Roman, Film World, Heavy, Honkworm, Icebox, Like Television, Nibblebox, Oddcast, PlanetOut, PitchTV, ReelShort, Romp, RSUB, Shockwave, Sputnik7, StudioNext, UrbanEntertainment, WebSiteStory, Wirebreak and Z.

Seattle-based AtomFilms has not yet pacted with the company, signaling that the Netcaster must still find a way for its own slate of short films to circumvent the AMPAS’ ruling.

Last year, AtomFilms’ shorts “Humdrum” and “Killing Joe” were nominated for Oscars in the animated and live-action short films categories, marking the first time that a dot-com has influenced nominations.

IFilm’s own library of Internet films is now the Web’s largest, with more than 1,500 pics online plus links to more than 5,000 others.

“AMC Entertainment wants to tap into the creative explosion occurring among online filmmakers,” said AMC Chairman-CEO Peter Brown. “Together with iFilm, we are exploring a number of avenues to deliver this new world of motion pictures to our 150 million guests each year.”

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