French site to offer VOD indie pics

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PARIS -- Le Meilleur du Cinema Francais, a new French society uniting 34 independent French producers, has announced plans to launch Universcine.com, a platform for downloading independent films online.

Beginning in January, the site will offer a Web-based video-on-demand service that will make French and European independent films available for €4.99 ($6.40) per download.

More than 450 contemporary titles already are on offer and the site plans to develop rapidly, with talks with television and ADSL operators already underway. Currently accessible in a beta version online, Universcine.com will be the first online catalog of French films.

Initiated by Marc Bordure of Agat Films, president of Le Meilleur du Cinema Francais, the site aims to give a second chance to specialty titles that have fallen victim to the increasingly commercial French distribution system.

The new Web site also will offer movie news and forums where Internet users can share their passion for cinema with other cinephiles, directors, producers, technicians and talent.
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