Indies on-demand via IFC

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IFC Entertainment is creating a new straight-to-VOD business for indie films called Festival Direct.

Under its IFC Films banner, Festival Direct will launch Feb. 29 with an initial slate of five features: Ken Loach's thriller "It's a Free World ..."; Nicolas Roeg's horror film "Puffball," starring Donald Sutherland and Miranda Richardson; "Beautiful Ohio," starring William Hurt, Rita Wilson and Julianna Margulies; actor-director James Franco's comedy "Good Time Max"; and Baltasar Kormakur's thriller "Jar City," Iceland's official Oscar entry.

Each film will be available for VOD purchase for $5.99 for one to two months prior to its DVD release. The new program will showcase films to some 30 million homes via on Cablevision Communication Systems, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast Communications and Charter Communications.

IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring said he will continue releasing about 25 films a year via IFC Films' theatrical/ VOD day-and-date First Take program. The exact number of additional Festival Direct films will depend on the success of the program and the number of films his acquisitions team locates at film fests, but it could be several times the number in First Take.

Festival Direct, he added, addresses the glut of many films in the marketplace and today's often prohibitive theatrical releasing costs.

"The art houses are dominated by films from specialty divisions, which have a lot more money for P&A, and it's hard to compete," Sehring said.

He said that if art house theaters request prints of Festival Direct titles, IFC Films will provide them.
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