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[02/06/06 - 12:00 AM]
IFC Empowers Indie Filmmakers Nationwide with Launch of New Film Initiative Provides Central Online Destination Where Viewers Can Watch and Vote

[via press release from IFC]

IFC Empowers Indie Filmmakers Nationwide with Launch of New Film Initiative Provides Central Online Destination Where Viewers Can Watch and Vote

Top Viewer-ranked Films to Air on IFC

Aquafina Signed on as Presenting Sponsor

New York, NY, February 6, 2006 - The Independent Film Channel (IFC) announced today the launch of a groundbreaking, integrated program, IFC Media Lab, offering filmmakers a destination for posting their independent films online where viewers can watch and vote on those films. The top, viewer-ranked films will air monthly on IFC beginning this April. Aquafina has signed on as the presenting sponsor of Media Lab and will be integrated into the program's on-air packaging.

Media Lab was developed by IFC in direct response to the increasing amount of video content being produced by undiscovered talent around the country who lack a voice or platform to showcase their work. The program is designed to establish a community for independent filmmakers of all levels while empowering audiences to self-program: watch what they want, when they want it.

"Media Lab is democratic programming at its best - the top films will be chosen by the audience themselves," said Jennifer Caserta, Senior Vice President of Marketing for IFC. "While catering to our tech savvy audience, which craves a personal media experience, this initiative is also furthering IFC's mission of filmmaker outreach and development. Media Lab provides a home and a voice for new, original filmmakers all across the country and showcases great content that might not otherwise get seen. Our goal is to empower these filmmakers by allowing them to show their films to a worldwide audience the way they're intended to be seen: unrestrained, unfiltered and absolutely uncut. We fully encourage 'exhibition without inhibition'."

The program will be led by Evan Fleischer, IFC's Director of Marketing and Promotions, who also played an integral role in the recent launch of the network's standards-based education public affairs initiative, Film School. In line with IFC's ongoing mission to provide a voice to the next generation of filmmakers, Film School provides high school students with an opportunity to explore the art of cinema, through integrating film and video in the classroom. Film School and Media Lab are part of the network's multifaceted strategic plan to reach out to and empower independent filmmakers of all levels and throughout the country.

In late 2005, Media Lab was introduced on IFC's website, inviting online viewers to register and upload their short films. Now with its official launch, Media Lab has close to 4,000 registered members and over 400 films submitted; and members will now have the ability to view all the submitted shorts and vote for their favorites, as well as continue to upload films. IFC will be rolling out additional functions throughout the year including filmmaker blogs, helpful links and other resources to further establish Media Lab as the online hub for independent filmmakers.

The IFC Media Lab is a showcase for all types of independent film shorts (six minutes or less), and anyone can register as a member online at no cost. Once registered, members have the opportunity to: upload films directly to the IFC Media Lab, create a film profile, build a filmmaker homepage, view and rank other people's films and compete for a chance to screen their film on IFC. The top five ranking films will air on the network interstitially each month. In addition, a special, on-air block featuring an assembly of the top Media Lab shorts will run every month on IFC.

As the presenting sponsor of the IFC Media Lab, Aquafina will be integrated into the program's on-air and online promotional content. An on-air promo encouraging viewers to visit IFC.com and register for the program will incorporate the Aquafina brand and run weekly throughout 2006. Aquafina will also partner with IFC to platform its brand through on-air creative that showcases Media Lab's top ranked films in the network's uncut, commercial-free environment. An intro and a close for each film being featured on air will integrate the Aquafina brand and introduce it as the sponsor of Media Lab. The packaged short films will run for 4-6 week periods throughout 2006 on IFC.

"IFC offers a unique platform in which we can reach the network's distinctive audience of tastemakers and influencers in an uncluttered environment," said Michael Hammer, Senior Brand Manager for Aquafina. "Aquafina is a big supporter of the independent film community and we are excited to be a part of such an empowering initiative as Media Lab."

Cable affiliates will also benefit from the IFC Media Lab. The program encourages high- speed Internet access, can be used as a tool to heighten brand awareness for unaffiliated markets, and Media Lab's top-ranking films can be distributed to local cable affiliates as VOD offerings.

For more information about the IFC Media Lab, visit: http://medialab.ifc.com

About IFC Television
The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first and most widely distributed network dedicated to independent film 24 hours a day, uncut and commercial free.

The Independent Film Channel is a part of IFC Companies, which has established itself as the future of independent film. With the television network, as well as a film distribution and production unit and a VOD service, IFC Companies has created over the course of the past decade a revolutionary end-to-end business model and brand that focuses on developing and nurturing talent and maximizing the value of independent film. IFC Companies uses its unique cross-platform position to broaden the audience of independent film and to provide independent filmmakers with a strong voice. IFC Companies is a division of Rainbow Media Holdings, LLC.





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