Microsoft and Amazon Team Up to Help Filmmakers Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced the 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project, designed to lower the barriers to entry for filmmakers to produce and distribute movies in the HD DVD format through the innovative manufacturing-on-demand technology of CustomFlix, a part of an Amazon group of companies. Jointly sponsored by Amazon and Microsoft, the project will provide free authoring and setup services for up to 1,000 selected indie titles.

“This collaboration with Microsoft is a great opportunity for independent filmmakers to reach Amazon customers with their films via the HD DVD format,” said Peter Faricy, vice president of music and movies at “By working together with Microsoft and leveraging the proven CustomFlix DVD on Demand model, we can lower the barriers to entry for independent filmmakers and dramatically increase the selection we offer our customers.”

The project will be spearheaded by CustomFlix, which will bring as many as 1,000 feature-length independent films to Amazon customers using the CustomFlix DVD on Demand technology, which produces and ships DVDs only as they are ordered. This model greatly improves the cost structure for independent filmmakers by eliminating the need for costly inventory.

“From a technical standpoint, we found that the HD DVD format fits our business model perfectly,” said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CustomFlix. “With retail shelf space at a premium, our model eliminates the risk of carrying inventory and immediately expands the number of great HD DVD titles available to consumers.”

“Programs like this one from Amazon lower barriers to entry for independent artists and provide audiences with increased access to high-quality, high-definition content,” said Christian Vesper, senior vice president of programming, acquisitions and scheduling for Sundance Channel.

Sundance Channel will be reviewing the high-definition features for potential broadcast on the network as well as making its own HD original eco-series, “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” available for purchase through Amazon’s HD DVD program.

“Amazon’s participation in this project will be a major benefit to independent filmmakers wanting to break into the high-definition market segment,” said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president for the Consumer Media Technology Group at Microsoft. “The use of Microsoft® technology and authoring expertise will ensure that all the HD DVD titles offered by Amazon have impeccable quality, thanks to the VC-1 codec and innovative interactive scenarios with HDi™.”

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