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AtomFilms, director ink 2-year shorts pact

Director Spike Jonze (“Being John Malkovich”) has joined the advisory board of AtomFilms.com and plans to exclusively produce several short films for the Netcaster as part of a two-year relationship.

As an advisory board member, Jonze will counsel AtomFilms on creative directions and artistic relations and work directly with the company to recruit filmmakers for short film projects.

Landing Jonze is considered a major coup for AtomFilms, which distributes short films on- and offline while the highly respected helmer has created a brand in himself in the commercial and musicvid arenas.

Former NBC topper Warren Littlefield is also an AtomFilms advisory board member.

“I’m excited to be working with a company that helps filmmakers show their work without having to go through traditional distribution channels,” Jonze told Daily Variety. “What’s exciting about the Web is that it lets the best ideas rise to the top and get out where they wouldn’t otherwise. It’s a place where anyone can make something and show everyone without needing lots of money behind them.”

On the production front, Jonze has agreed to offer up several short pics to exclusively bow on the AtomFilms Web site. These include “Amarillo by Morning” and “How They Get There.” Films will become part of Atom’s catalog of more than 1,500 short films and animation.

Together with Atom’s artists, Jonze plans to create an additional three original shorts for AtomFilms to distrib online, offline and via wireless devices. Specific projects have not been lined up.

Jonze is readying to helm the black comedy “Adaptation” for Columbia Pictures, written by Charlie Kaufman, which Jonathan Demme is producing.

“We talked to a lot of people,” said AtomFilms CEO Mika Salmi. “We didn’t want to follow the Shockwave path and just partner up with anyone. We said, ‘Let’s find someone who understands what AtomFilms is all about.’ ”

Separately, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Birken Interactive Studio said Tuesday that it has pacted with Atom to host and produce an online short film festival called the Savage Sideshow. Event will bow in November at AtomFilms.com.

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