UK film council announces world’s first ever ‘e-premiere’

The UK film council is claiming a global first. The new feature film, This is not a Love Song, will be released simultaneously in a number of different formats on Friday 5 September. It will be streamed and digitally projected in selected cinemas across the UK and be made available for streaming and download on the Internet on the same day.

The whole process of film-making has been extremely rapid. Written by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty) in under two weeks, then shot on PD-150 DV cameras in just 12 days, under the direction of Bille Eltringham (The Darkest Light) and digitally edited on Avid.

Richard Morris of Juggernaut Pictures, the online producer of the event, told us that they wanted to use a mixture of different distribution formats to cinemas around the country. The ‘e-premiere’, as it’s being labelled, will be at the following four cinemas in the

Watershed, Bristol – Live projected streamed video
Cornerhouse, Manchester – 35mm print
Showroom, Sheffield – Digital projection
The Other Cinema, London – Digital projection

The streamed video will be delivered in Microsoft Media 9 format at 700k, giving VHS quality that will then be projected. Both of the digital projections will be driven by Digi Beta tape.

Online viewing will be available, on the same day, from at a cost “less than renting a video”. As the non-UK film rights have been sold in other territories, the films distributor have insisted that its viewing be restricted to the UK only. To try and ensure this the Internet-delivered versions will be protected by Digital Envoy’s Geo-Targeting technology, which attempts to understand where the viewer is using information such as their source IP address.

The UK film council tells us they are in the process of gathering lottery funds to put low-cost digital projection into 150 cinemas around the UK. Digital distribution makes it far more economic to show non-blockbuster films in smaller venues.