NETCASTER INTERTAINER NABS RIGHTS TO AFI PIX

Intertainer Inc. and the American Film Institute on Thursday announced that AFI will give the Netcaster exclusive rights to show the org's library of short indie films online.

In addition, the two will team up to create www.afifilm.com, which will feature works by the AFI Conservancy and the Directing Workshop for Women. The portal will launch this summer and hopes to expand to include works from up-and-coming filmmakers from around the world.

"This new site will provide a kind of portfolio for the filmmaker and exposure within the profession, as well as to the general filmgoing audience around the world," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI Director and CEO. "Intertainer's new broadband service will also allow AFI to interact directly with audiences who want fresh, original programming from the world's most exciting and promising filmmakers."

The AFI library of short films includes more than 500 titles, said Tom Pollock, chairman of the AFI board of trustees. Pollock declined to discuss financial terms of the deal.

"They were willing to embrace our vision of what we wanted our site to be," Pollock said. "There's lots of dot-coms out there who are licensing short films but this wasn't only a matter of getting the films on the 'Net. What we wanted to create was our own special site."

Partnering for VOD

Culver City, Calif.-based Intertainer has teamed with a variety of partners to offer video-on-demand through the Internet and eventually via TV.

Intertainer chairman Richard Baskin said the Netcaster wants to open a dialogue with young filmmakers who are interested in the digital arena.

"We're doing it because we want to have as much diversity of programming as possible," he said.

Intertainer has deals with traditional studios including DreamWorks, Columbia TriStar Television and Miramax.

"AFI has produced outstanding independent works throughout the years, and earning the rights to showcase them on the Intertainer service is an incredible opportunity," said Intertainer prexy and CEO Jonathan Taplin. "We are confident that through this collaboration with AFI, thousands of independent filmmakers craving the complete digital experience will be satisfied."