London-based movie network ShortsHD is hoping to shine a spotlight on the movie shorts category with a package of star-studded films that will premiere on payper- view two weeks after debuting in theaters.
ShortsHD, a 24-hour HD channel distributed on AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV, is hoping to shine a light on the category with its Stars in Shorts package, which offers seven films that are 40 minutes in length or shorter and feature such stars as Jason Alexander, Keira Knightley and Lily Tomlin, according to CEO Carter Pilcher. The Stars in Shorts film began a 100-theater run Sept. 28 and will debut via PPV on In Demand Oct. 9.
The Stars in Shorts package includes such celebrities as Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Tomlin (The Procession); Knightley (Steve); Julia Stiles (Sexting); Alexander (Not Your Time); Kenneth Branagh (Prodigal); Wes Bentley (After School Special) and Judi Dench (Friend Request Pending).
Pilcher said the short-film genre — which in the past has mostly featured content from film students and upand- coming producers — has recently seen an uptick in the appearance of established actors and producers.
“The movie business is in transition — what’s happening is that movie shorts are now being seen in theaters and other platforms,” he said.
It’s also seen an increase in popularity among theatergoers in recent years. The network generated $1.7 million at the box office this past February with a run of 2012 Oscar-nominated short films, a nearly 800% improvement since 2006 when the network first offered that year’s Oscar-nominated shorts.
Pilcher said the network is talking to cable operators about distribution of the ShortsHD channel, which last year offered 4,000 short films, although no deals are pending.