Intertainer and Artisan Entertainment Enter Into Digital Production and Distribution Pact

Hollywood Reporter January 27, 2000

Artisan, Intertainer.com Go Digital By Chris Gennusa and Dana Harris PARK CITY -- Artisan Entertainment and Intertainer.com have signed an agreement to jointly develop, produce and distribute five features that will be shot and edited using only digital technology. Artisan will retain domestic rights to each picture, budgeted in the $500,000-$600,000 range. Intertainer will distribute the features on demand following their theatrical and video release through its Web site, Intertainer.com. The partnership has yet to announce any of its projects. "This is a new paradigm for the film business," Artisan president Amir Malin said. "Digital technology allows us to reduce production costs, and with a strong script, a production can find an audience. We proved this with 'The Blair Witch Project.' " Intertainer is a broadband entertainment-on-demand site that offers music, movies and TV from companies including Warner Bros., DreamWorks SKG, Sony Music and Columbia TriStar TV. Company co-CEO and chairman Richard Baskin produced the soundtracks to such films as Robert Altman's "Nashville" and Alan Rudolph's "Welcome to L.A." Intertainer president and co-CEO Jonathan Taplin has been a producer on the independent films "Mean Streets," "The Last Waltz" and "To Die For." Taplin was the sales rep who sold "Shine" to Fine Line Features. Earlier this week, Intertainer netted a $57 million investment from Microsoft Corp. The deal, which gives Microsoft a minority stake in the Internet company, calls for the two firms to collaborate on delivering entertainment content to consumers via Intertainer's broadband service. Intertainer, which will use Microsoft's TV service software to distribute its programming, will get access to a broader distribution network through Microsoft's alliances with cable giants like AT&T Corp. and Comcast Corp. Microsoft, in turn, will expand the presence of its software in the burgeoning broadband, or high-speed Internet, market. Laura Randall in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Variety January 27, 2000
Intertainer, Artisan team on five pics By Marc Graser Artisan Entertainment strengthened its support of digital filmmaking Wednesday, saying that it has paired with video-on-demand service Intertainer to digitally co-produce and distribute five pics in the $500,000 range. Under terms of the deal, the produced pics will be showcased on Intertainer's cable television and Internet-based service, soon to roll out on various cable set-top boxes, after Artisan releases the pics theatrically or on homevid. Artisan will retain domestic rights to the features. The announcement was made at the Sundance Film Festival by Artisan prexy Amir Malin and Intertainer chairman/co-CEO Richard Baskin. Artisan hit digital pay dirt with "The Blair Witch Project," a low budget horror pic that grossed $136 million domestically. The indie this week also bought Miguel Arteta's digital pic "Chuck & Buck at Sundance" at the Park City, Utah, festival. Artisan has dabbled with broadcasting pics on the Web before, most recently screening "Pi" exclusively through Netcaster SightSound.com. The deal with Intertainer signals Artisan's interest [pursuing further new media avenues for its pics. Said Malin, "Intertainer is a service that is on the forefront of digital distribution and we are extremely confident they will prove to be a great partner and resource on these films not only as content-delivery vehicle but also as a production partner." The deal marks the second major pact for Intertainer in less than two weeks. Last week, the Santa Monica based company said it secured $56 million in financing from Microsoft, positioning Intertainer to be paired up with interactive TV provider WebTV, as well as installed on Microsoft's other high-speed Internet set-top box partnerships. Distrib Duo The new deal expands an existing content distribution partnership between Artisan and Intertainer's Baskin. Baskin produced soundtracks for Robert Altman's "Nashville" and Alan Rudolph's "Welcome to L.A." Jonathan Taplin, Intertainer's prexy and co-CEO, produced indie pics "Mean Streets," "The Last Waltz," "Until the End of The World" and "To Die For." Intertainer's service offers subscribers a slate of music, TV programming and pics to PCs or TV sets. Similar to TiVo and ReplayTV, the service also enables users to view selections like a VCR, allowing them to stop, rewind and fast forward programming.