The first online cinema to make Irish-made short films accessible to the general public will go live on 1 December, making it possible for Irish movie buffs to download a new Irish short movie every day for free.
Located at www.eif.ie, the Eire Internet Film website will for the first time offer all Irish filmmakers a platform to get an audience for their film. Each short film submission will have a professional introduction and review along with interactive feedback from online viewers.
The site is being established by film-makers as a screening site for their first productions and is being timed to begin in anticipation of what the film-makers describe as a broadband revolution that is about to sweep Ireland.
Spokesperson Jessica Hilliard stated: “eif.ie is suited for all Irish users, not only those on broadband. Dial-up users can download the film and view it whenever suits or broadband users can stream the video instantly. We believe that this kind of free digital media service will be a catalyst for the growth of broadband, however, which will help induce the online revolution we are all anticipating.
“Our Mission is to make and watch as much original Irish Film as possible by screening short films to filmmakers’ peers and the public and by providing communication and information resources to filmmakers. We hope to facilitate the creation of ‘socially dynamic film’ through email, voting systems and bulletin boards. We will put filmmakers directly in touch with their audience.”
Hilliard went on to say that the site would help bolster support for overseas interest in the fledgling but highly successful local film industry. “We are all aware of the debate around Section 481 of the taxes consolidation act. The film industry is worried that Hollywood will not invest and local film workers will lose out. Eif.ie is about getting the local film industry moving. It is not funded by Hollywood, and Section 481 has no bearing on its success at all.
“All the public needs to do to help the local industry is to download a new Irish short film everyday (and hopefully give feedback). Every time a user downloads they are directly supporting a film-maker and the industry as a whole. Keeping the site operating by keeping the interest in the site high.”
Explaining how the site’s upkeep is being managed, Hilliard indicated that the site will be supported by a mesh of entrepreneurial investment as well as ancillary efforts such as enabling viewers to order high-quality DVD versions of the movies they discovered at the site.
“We are not doing this for profits, but we are trying to cover our costs. It is run by a group of highly energised and passionate entrepreneurs, directly connected with the industry, with a wide range of experience. We will be offering a service to filmmakers where they can sell to viewers high-quality DVDs, VHS or CD-ROM copies of their film, with all profits going directly to the film-maker. The site itself is free, with all viewers having complete access to all movies via Quicktime, Windows Media Player and RealPlayer files they can download or stream on their desktop,” Hilliard stated.
By John Kennedy