The incredible story of Indie Game: The Movie

The independent film’s lifecycle has undergone a lot of upheaval in the last 20 years, but digital distribution’s truly disrupting things. Less than six months after debuting at Sundance, Indie Game: The Movie will be available for sale via iTunes, VHX and gaming platform Steam.

Kevin Smith’s Indie Spirit Gives Hollywood the Finger

Kevin Smith thumbed his nose (that’s the polite version) at film distributors last night when he pledged to self-distribute his new film, Red State, directly to his fans. Is it a risk? Not when you consider how the director has become his own brand.

Sundance Hopes to Please the Bandwidth-Sucking Hordes

The folks at the Sundance Film Festival are fighting physics as they add a public Wi-Fi network and boost cellular coverage in order to deliver decent mobile broadband to the 50,000 expected attendees. Here’s their plan of attack, and why it may not work.

YouTube Users Pass on Paying for Movies

Indie filmmakers looking to YouTube as a possible new distribution outlet might want to think twice, based on weekend returns from the video site’s new movie rental service. Last week, the online video site teamed up with the Sundance Film Festival to make a small selection of critically acclaimed full-length films available for rent for 48 hours. [digg=http://digg.com/tech_news/YouTube_Users_Pass_on_Paying_for_Movies]

But, despite a post on the YouTube blog and pickup from various tech blogs, very few users have actually taken YouTube up on the offer. Based on a quick look through the movies that were made available, it appears that YouTube viewers rented the five films less than 1,500 times in total, or an average of 300 times each. At $3.99 a piece, that means the indie films generated less than $6,000 in total sales over the course of the weekend, or about $1,200 per movie — and that’s before YouTube took its cut for hosting the files.

Video Views
Bass Ackwards 308
Homewrecker 308
The Cove 303
Children of Invention 301
One Too Many Mornings 250

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Where To Watch the Sundance Film Festival Online

Sundance has been the mecca of the indie film world for more than three decades. The festival, which was co-founded by Robert Redford, was a launch pad for unlikely blockbusters like Clerks, Napoleon Dynamite and Little Miss Sunshine. Of course, not everyone is able to venture out to the beehive state for ten days to watch countless movie premieres and events with high-profile industry insiders, which is why the Sundance Institute is starting to make a few of these events available online in real time.

Sundance is cooperating with Ustream for live streams from the festival. It will stream the opening day press conference with founder Robert Redford and festival director John Cooper on Thursday, followed by a accoustic live concert on Saturday as well as a number of awards ceremonies during the following days. Check below for the full program.

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YouTube Premieres Movie Rentals at Sundance

YouTube (s GOOG) just announced on its blog that users will be able to rent movies from the site starting this Friday, but don’t hold your breath for streaming The Hangover anytime soon: The initial offering will consist of just five independent movies featured at this and last year’s Sundance Film Festival. The movies, which include the 2009 Sundance Audience Winner The Cove, will cost $3.99 a pop and are available until the end of Sundance on January 31st.

Google has been playing with the idea of movie and TV show rentals for a while. In fact, Google Video initially featured an option to rent movie downloads, but the offer was quickly scrapped after it failed to take off. Reports about renewed efforts to jump on the VOD bandwagon surfaced last fall when the Wall Street Journal wrote about talks with Lion’s Gate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros..

It’s unclear when more high-profile partners will become part of the offering, but Google has announced that it aims to gradually open up rentals to other partners, including content providers focusing on “health and education”, and that these content providers will be able to decide the duration, pricing and local availability of their rentals.

Vid-Biz: Wikipedia, IPTV, Kutcher

Wikipedia Ramps Up for Video; expecting a crush of video uploads in the coming years, the sum of all human knowledge boosts its storage to 48 terabytes. (Network World)

IPTV to Grow 32 Percent Annually Over the Next Six Years; cable and satellite growth rates will slow as IPTV services forecasted to reach 79 million subscribers by 2014. (ABI Research)

Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Rose Create 24 Hours at Sundance; the online reality show is backed by mobile streaming company Qik, and follows four “social media mavens” as they compete in a set of challenges around the famed film festival. (CNET)

Google Officially Launches SpotMixer Service; service lets people automatically convert text ads into video spots that can be aired nationally. (Google Traditional Media Blog)

More than 2 Million Requests on DTV Coupon Wait List; too bad the program ran out of money. (Broadcasting & Cable) (See who the big losers will be should DTV be delayed over at GigaOM.)

Sony Pictures TV Acquires Embassy Row; purchase also brings the digital assets including the YouTube entertainment series Poptub. (The Hollywood Reporter)

ABC Puts Daytime Online; now you can watch full episodes of The View and General Hospital at ABC.com. (emailed release)

Vid-Biz: Gmail Video, Flip, ConAgra

New Video Chat Options From Google and TokBox; Plugin allows video chat embedded within the Gmail interface (CNET), while TokBox now lets users watch and discuss YouTube videos, SlideShare presentations and video mails together. (emailed release)
Pure Digital Ranked Fifth on Deloitte’s 2008 Fast Technology 500; maker of the Flip Digital video camera made the list of fastest-growing companies in North America with reported revenues of $54.6 million in 2007, an increase of 44,667 percent from 2003 revenues of $122,000. (emailed release)
ConAgra and MSN Partner for Comedy Series; The Working Lunch aimed at building buzz for the Healthy Choice Fresh Mixers line of foods. (AdWeek)
YouTube Brings Back Project: Direct; short film competition requires the use of a red phone prop, winner gets a trip to the Sundance Film Festival. (YouTube Blog)
Joost Appoints Jason Gaedtke to CTO; can his technical guidance help the once high-flying startup regain some of its lost luster? (emailed release)
ExtendMedia Launches OpenCASE 3.0; product manages the publishing and delivery of digital content across PCs, televisions and mobile devices. (release)
BoinxTV Now Shipping; video tool for podcasters comes in either a sponsored edition ($199) or an ad-free edition ($499). (The Apple Blog)