Babelgum attracting original productions

Online video site attracting attention from studios

ROME -- Three-year-old online video site Babelgum says it is becoming a destination for original productions, as studios look for low-cost ways to promote new projects.

The site, which hosts the online Babelgum Film festival directed by Spike Lee, featured the debut of Ceri Levy's film documentary "Bananaz" -- which examines the cryptic cartoon band Gorillaz, which has sold nearly 20 million albums. It also premiered the wildlife television series "Extinction Sucks" and the environmental documentary "Downstream."

Babelgum said it agreed to a multi-year partnership with Cinelan films, with other similar deals in the works.

The changes come as the site unveiled an updated interface in March that it said attracted 1 million viewers each on the web and on iPhones and iPods in its first month.

The site, which started out as a destination for independent filmmakers to showcase their work, continues to provide access to non-studio projects.

The company said it is attracting attention from studios looking to create a buzz for new projects before moving to other distribution options, looking at the online premieres as a marketing tool.