Wayne Wang's 'Princess' goes YouTube route

Online release part of distrib'n plan for two Wayne Wang pics

Wayne Wang's new film "The Princess of Nebraska," from Magnolia Pictures, will make its world premiere on YouTube on Oct. 17. It will be released for free on YouTube's recently launched YouTube Screening Room, a channel dedicated to premium film content.

Magnolia is releasing another new film of Wang's, "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," theatrically on Sept. 19. But it opted to release his companion film, "Nebraska," online as part of a larger distribution plan for the two films.

"Nebraska" and "Prayers" are both adapted from a collection of short stories by Yiyun Li. They mark the seventh and eighth of Wang's Asian-themed films that explore the bonds of family and Chinese identity in the modern world.

"The Princess of Nebraska" is about a young woman from China who tries to locate her identity through different kinds of new media," Wang said. "The piece was shot with this kind of mentality with various kinds of easily accessible digital sources. I am very excited that the distribution will be consistent with the way the piece was conceived and produced."

In "Princess," Sasha (Ling Li), a foreign exchange student who finds herself pregnant, travels from Nebraska to San Francisco to get an abortion.

Magnolia, Cinetic Rights Management and YouTube worked together to devise the parallel distribution strategy.

Magnolia's Ray Price said, "The Internet's ability to provide free streaming video is going to radically redefine independent film's access and availability to its audience. It provides a new platform, which can free us from the 'Top Ten' mentality in the same way that FM radio did for the music business."

"For years, filmmakers have asked me when a veteran icon would release a new work for free, online," Cinetic's Matt Dentler said. "That time is now, and we're thrilled to be part of this exciting distribution strategy."