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in Filmmaking
on Mar 1, 2007

The film, That, may just be a 39-minute “snowboarding epic,” but independent filmmakers should take note of it because, according to Variety, it’s the first piece of independently distributed media on the Apple iTunes Movie Store.

The pic was produced by Forum Snowboards, and here’s the trade mag described its journey to iTunes:

Forum first asked its DVD distrib to gets “That” onto iTunes. When it didn’t succeed, the company started talking to Apple directly.

Though iTunes does sell some short films in its movies section for $1.99, they all come from established names such as Shorts Intl. and Sundance. Apple apparently wasn’t ready to put direct-to-DVD action sports pics among the small number of shorts and Hollywood features in its movies section.

After nearly 10 months of negotiations to get onto the service, however, Forum was willing to try the lower price point in order to get on iTunes. With the exception of some miniseries and telepics, all the content in iTunes’ TV section costs $1.99.

“People are not buying DVDs the way they used to, and it’s becoming increasingly easy to get (illegal) versions of our content online, so we’re thrilled to be able to pioneer an agreement like this with iTunes,” said Mike Nusenow, general manager of the Program, Forum’s parent company.

It’ll be interesting to see how this develops and whether Apple will protect the higher price point for studio-generated content, leaving indies to sell at bargain-bin rates (which could still generate revenue for many indies, actually), or whether this is the beginning of a thaw in the ice barrier that currently exists between iTunes and independent films.

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