Amazon.com and Microsoft are partnering up for a new program that will allow independent filmmakers to produce and release their films on the HD DVD format.
The project, dubbed the "1,000 HD DVD Indies Project," will allow as many as 1,000 new feature-length and short independent films to hit high-def, both companies announced.
CustomFlix currently allows indie filmmakers to produce and distribute their work on standard-def DVD via Amazon's storefront; titles are made available for sale, with the filmmakers receiving a portion of the revenues of every copy sold.
Amazon.com will now be beefing up CustomFlix to include authoring and setup services in HD DVD for up to 1,000 pre-selected indie productions.
"From a technical standpoint, we found that the HD DVD format fits our business model perfectly," said CustomFlix co-founder and managing director Dana LoPiccolo-Giles. "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."
On its end, Microsoft will serve CustomFlix with use of its VC-1 compression codec, as well as HDi authoring for interactive features and other functionality.
"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, Microsoft consumer media technology group corporate VP. "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."
As CustomFlix is an on-demand production service with limited distribution channels, quantities of any single title are generally very limited and the announcement isn't likely to have any huge market impact in the high-def format war. However, by encouraging today's new filmmakers to jump onboard HD DVD, it's certainly a strategic (and canny) move by Microsoft and Amazon in growing awareness in the creative community for the HD DVD format.
Though Amazon has not announced when the first titles in the "1,000 HD DVD Indies Project" will be available for purchase, CustomFlix is currently holding a "Call for Entries" in search of new content. Any interested filmmakers can submit an online application here via CustomFlix's just-launched microsite. Good luck!