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European auteur cinema to get US web debut


The online world cinema community, Inc. have signed a 42-film Internet distribution deal with Dreamachine. The deal, which boasts of 35 US web premieres, including Claire Denis’ Towards Mathilde (2005) and the Dardenne brothers’ The Promise (1996), has several acclaimed Asian titles in addition.

French auteur cinema features strongly in the list, with works from Jacques Rivette, Arnaud Desplechin, Jean-Pierre Limosin, Philippe Garrel and Bruno Podalydes available.

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“Foreign films and international directors dominated all key categories of the 2007 Academy Awards, People's Choice Awards and Golden Globe Awards, yet the traditional US film distribution and marketing system consistently under-serves world cinema in the mainstream US market,” said Gaurav Dhillon, CEO of Jaman.

The Jaman service offers customers three free downloads and thereafter charges a small fee per film. There are also a number of free films available on the site. Though Jaman, like Yahoo, Joost and CurrenTV, is initially focusing on the lucrative US market, recent figures indicate that 31% of site traffic is from outside that country.

According to Carlos Montalvo, Senior Vice President of Operations for Jaman, “We will be looking to expand into Europe through country and pan-European partnerships and joint ventures, particularly those that allow us to unify film rights and distribute them across the EU.” The company’s ambition is to go beyond a mere retail experience and create a social network where online world cinema fans get a sense of community.

“Dreamachine's ambition is to build a global multi-media business based upon an ever growing supply of premier cinema from around the world,” said the company’s co-founder Hengameh Panahi. “Jaman creates exciting new ways to discover and enjoy great films while growing the overall market for quality cinema through its extensive online social network.”

With over 500 films in their back catalogue, Dreamachine certainly has the wherewithal to achieve this.

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