With 10,000 Online Theaters Open, SnagFilms Will Present Premiere of "Haze" Simultaneously with Hamptons International Film Festival

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In a keynote presentation to the IFP’s Independent Film Week Conference, SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen today updated the independent film community on developments since the site’s launch, and announced that Haze, a documentary film introduced by Robin Wright Penn, will premiere simultaneously on SnagFilms and at the Hamptons International Film Festival.

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The SnagFilms partnership represents for us another significant step in CINELAN's ongoing commitment to filmmakers to reach quality audiences across all media platforms

With its focus on the death of a young Colorado University fraternity pledge, Gordie Bailey, due to alcohol poisoning, Haze is a documentary that explores a range of issues regarding youth culture in America and their use of alcohol, such as binge drinking, hazing, the current drinking age and peer pressure. Robin Wright Penn is a Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated actress. The 16th annual Hamptons International Film Festival takes place October 15th to 19th. SnagFilms brings the best nonfiction films to the web audience, promotes viral web distribution through virtual movie theater widgets, and engages viewers to assist charitable and community efforts. The premiere of Haze online simultaneously to its premiere at a festival is the first time there has been such a "dual premiere."

"We are so thrilled to partner with SnagFilms on this unique opportunity to present Haze to the wide audience that the film deserves. It is a special film, and one that we feel strongly should be shared by both our audiences here in the Hamptons, and to as broad a population as possible. This new initiative will really allow us to fulfill that goal," said David Nugent, Hamptons International Film Festival, Programming Director.

In addition to featuring Haze, SnagFilms will extend the Hamptons International Film Festival with "Hamptons Extra" – a slate of independent documentary films accepted to screen exclusively online. The titles of these films will be announced in late September, along with the festival's full slate.

It was also announced that on October 21st, SnagFilms will be the first to offer free, ad-supported streaming of End of America, which will make its festival debut at the Hamptons Festival, and is being released in partnership with IndiePix Studios. Directed by Academy Award-nominated documentarians Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, The End of America is framed by Naomi Wolf's lecture on her best-selling book of the same name. In a pivotal election year, the urgency of getting the film seen by Americans prior to November 4th made online distribution via SnagFilms the right choice over the slower roll-out of traditional windows.

SnagFilms was launched two months ago today. "In just eight weeks," Allen told the Independent Film Week conference, "thousands of filmanthropists have donated the pixels on their websites and opened more than 10,000 online theaters that can stream for free any of the 450 films we now have in our library. This is roughly twenty times more online 'theaters' showing documentaries than there are brick and mortar theaters showing even the most commercially viable nonfiction films. Since launch, our widgets have been seen more than 55 million times, and our websites (http://www.snagfilms.com and indiewire.com) have each had one million page views. Americans have already spent more than two million minutes watching great movies on SnagFilms," he said.

Allen further announced:

A full range of web properties have already embedded SnagFilms widgets, enabling users to view full-length documentary films directly from their sites. Widgets have been embedded in many of AOL's properties and on major media sites such as NewYorkTimes.com, WashingtonPost.com, Wall Street Journal.com, AllThingsD.com, and NPR.com. They have been posted on sites run by sports leagues such as Major League Soccer and the NHL. SnagFilms widgets have been embedded in blog aggregation sites such the Huffington Post, on literally hundreds of individual blogs, and on thousands of personal sites within such social networks as Facebook and MySpace. Leading online movie discussion and recommendation community Spout (http://www.Spout.com) will tightly integrate SnagFilms titles within the Spout environment. Initially, a specially branded SnagFilms widget featuring titles handpicked by Spout's editorial team will live on Spout's home page. Additionally, nearly 100 film widgets will be embedded on the Spout film pages dedicated to those film titles. The companies expect to grow their partnership through Spout reviews of SnagFilms' premieres and other collaborative efforts. The new 3-minute film publisher CINELAN has joined the roster of more than 40 production companies and partners whose films are distributed by SnagFilms. Just as SnagFilms represents a revolutionary new approach to the distribution of non-fiction film, CINELAN (http://www.Cinelan.com) represents a new approach to non-fiction film itself: complete, must-see, three-minute stories made by documentary filmmakers from around the world, including many of the industry's best and brightest. CINELAN CEO David Laks says, "The SnagFilms partnership represents for us another significant step in CINELAN's ongoing commitment to filmmakers to reach quality audiences across all media platforms". (CINELAN is co-founded by Morgan Spurlock and has more than 200 contributing filmmakers on its roster. In addition to Spurlock, CINELAN's advisory board includes filmmakers Steve James, Eugene Jarecki, Ross Kauffman and Jessica Yu.) Festival winner Keeper of the Kohn premieres on SnagFilms today. The film won the 2005 Jury Award at the Vail International Film Festival and the 2005 Audience Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival, and has become a cult classic through special screenings and DVD sales, despite being largely unavailable to a national audience before now. Keeper of the Kohn tells the stories of college sports, disability, friendship and challenge through an unlikely prism: Peter Kohn, the 70-year old, autistic "waterboy" of the Middlebury College Lacrosse team and long-time lacrosse fixture whose key role in the culture and ethos of his team is explored in the context of his serious disability. The film can also be viewed via the SnagFilms widget on http://www.insidelacrosse.com – the sport's leading media company. Snagfilms.com will enhance the submissions process for individual filmmakers: before the end of the year, top quality documentaries will be able to be uploaded directly into the SnagFilms library, and will receive a SnagFilms suite of marketing and distribution tools, under criteria to be finalized over the next three months with the filmmaking community and supportive foundations. SnagFilms' users will be able to program their own "multiplex" widgets – selecting any five films from SnagFilms' library that they would like to host simultaneously in a single widget on their site – by the end of October. The multi-year grant received by SnagFilms from the Knight Foundation will enhance the effectiveness of digital distribution, particularly for emerging filmmakers. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers, has provided SnagFilms with a $210,000 multiyear grant to help filmmakers encode their movies for digital distribution, reduce streaming costs, identify and reach online audiences passionate about their topics, and secure necessary intellectual property rights. A major site redesign by indieWIRE (owned by SnagFilms), the most significant in the twelve year history of the company, will be driven in part by the views of its readers expressed in a survey to be distributed next month. The redesign is expected to debut prior to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in January. indieWIRE is the leading news, information, and social networking site for the international independent film community. "We have had an extraordinary launch, and the premise of SnagFilms has been borne out. Ted Leonsis's belief in launching SnagFilms has been validated: there is an audience for high quality nonfiction films, which are often difficult for filmmakers to get distributed and for users to find. Viewers will donate their pixels and open movie theater widgets in the online real estate they control. We can get people engaged and supporting the causes championed by documentary filmmakers. Finally, and with great humility, we've learned the independent film community is open to new ways of doing things. Having a powerful film premiere both in a physical festival theater and online is something just eight weeks ago would likely not have been done. Both indieWIRE and SnagFilms are dedicated to bringing the independent film experience closer to the audience, in the proper context for the industry insider or regular fan, and with the best tools for enjoyment and action. These milestones from our first two months of joint operation are only the beginning," said Rick Allen.

Note to news media: Embedding a SnagFilms widget into online stories is as easy as this: 1) Link here (http://www.snagfilms.com) 2. Choose film. 3.) Find the "Snag" button and follow the simple instructions.

Background on SnagFilms: SnagFilms features free ad-supported viewing of hundreds of award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution, including PBS, National Geographic, Sundance Preserve, IndiePix, Peter Jennings Productions, Arts Alliance America, ITVS, Koch Lorber Films, and many others. Many of the most prominent documentary filmmakers are participating not only by having their films distributed via SnagFilms, but by engaging with their audience through blogs and offering special "bonus" material, as well as suggesting nonprofit organizations that viewers motivated by these films can link to and support via charitable contributions, volunteering or spreading the word. The company was founded by digital entrepreneur, documentary film producer, sports entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, and is additionally backed by AOL co-founder and Revolution LLC Chairman Steve Case, and venture capitalist Miles Gilburne. SnagFilms also owns indieWIRE. Founded in 1996, indieWIRE is the leading source on independent film, publishing breaking business news, dispatches from hundreds of film festivals, weekly movie reviews, interviews with emerging and established filmmakers, links to leading blogs, and resources for filmmakers and the entertainment industry.

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