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The History of indieWIRE

indieWIRE 1999, which debuted on January 21, 1999, is actually the 6th phase of development for an online environment devoted to indies, spearheaded by a group of filmmakers and writers seeking a vibrant community online. indieWIRE has evolved into the leading voice for indies - the only online daily publication that exclusively covers specialized films and independent filmmaking. indieWIRE publishes business news, filmmaker interviews, production stories, and reports from film festivals and events around the world.

Phase 1: The Early Days - 1995

The seeds of indieWIRE were sown in the Spring of 1995. An email solicitation sent to America Online-based filmmakers and film aficionados during the Memorial Day weekend of '95 generated a significant amount of interest and resulted in a group who met weekly in an AOL chat room to discuss films and filmmaking. By the Fourth of July of that year, the group (dubbed iLINE) had become a forum on AOL. In early September of '95, iLINE hosted its first America Online auditorium, presenting filmmaker Bryan Singer ("The Usual Suspects") in a one-hour Q&A session. Later that fall the group hosted an online chat in conjunction with the 1995 Independent Feature Film Market, and attended the 1995 Hamptons International Film Festival.

Phase 2: A Sundance Debut - 1996

1996 began with a bang as iLINE joined forces with the popular Virtual Film Festival to launch its first website and cybercast of the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. In conjunction with the festival, and Sundance's first New Media Center, iLINE debuted its site as dynamic new community devoted to independent films and filmmaking. The cybercast was incredibly popular and was the group's first of many comprehensive festival productions.

Phase 3: iLINE on AOL - April 1996

The online effort was overwhelmingly successful, drawing the attention of ABC-TV's Multimedia division. In April of 1996, iLINE teamed with ABC ONLINE to produce a popular indie film area on America Online. The site presented regular coverage of independent films and festivals, including: the Los Angeles Independent, Gen Art, Montreal Festival Du Nouveau Cinema, and New York film festivals among others. iLINE also hosted a series of online chats with notable indie filmmakers including: Todd Solondz, Jon Crier, Mike Leigh, Jim McKay, and Nicole Holofcener.

Phase 4: indieWIRE - July 1996

indieWIRE, the daily news service for independent film launched on July 15th, 1996. indieWIRE News launched in collaboration with FILMMAKER Magazine's founding publisher Karol Martesko and GlobalMedia Design -- hosted by their website filmmag.com-- helped to further connect the various threads of an emerging online community. The new website served as the new focal point of this tremendous shift in iLINE's delivery of information, though editorial and managerial functions remained separate between the organizations. Setting an ambitious daily publication schedule on day one, indieWIRE was initially distributed to a few hundred readers. Over the course of 1996, as the readership grew rapidly, the publication was shaped into a diverse service offering an array of news and information.

indieWIRE again moved into the Sundance Film Festival in 1997 en masse, providing breaking news, tips, interviews, and features in a way never before reported. A special Park City website was updated continuously with content and graphics, and subscribers read about the festival happenings in the morning's issue while Park City festival goers got the first late breaking updates in a published print version distributed throughout the festival. The Park City coverage became a centerpiece of ON THE SCENE reporting that indieWIRE brought to other national and international festivals, including SXSW, the Los Angeles Independent, Berlin, New Directors/New Films, Florida, Nantucket, Hamptons International, Athens (Georgia), the IFFM, Austin, New York, Fort Lauderdale International film festivals, and many more.

Phase 5: indieWIRE.com - 1997/98

In the fall of 1997, as the indieWIRE readership swelled to well over 6,000 subscribers the team began implementing a plan for a new online environment. On January 12, 1998, with a readership encompassing the entire indiefilm community, the group launched indieWIRE.com -- an interactive, dynamic space created not only to handle a host of new features, but to further indieWIRE's mission into other mediums and concepts. Sections like DIY or What is Indie? were built to speak to artists of many other disciplines, whether the muse comes from film, print, music, etc. Although a modest subscription charge was assessed to the daily's new transformation (indieWIRE:Express) , the indieWIRE team remained committed to keeping the content free on the new site, in various push technologies, and in the weekly update -- indieWIRE: Digest.
Additionally, indieWIRE published indieWIRE:Print editions at key film festivals. In July of 98, the company launched a new website: iPOP indieWIRE's Movie Magazine, as a member of IMAGINE's new Daily Entertainment Network.

Phase 6: indieWIRE.com - 1999

In January of 1999, indieWIRE returned to Park City, UT to provide comprehensive coverage of the Sundance Film Festival and the Slamdance Film Festival - with articles published daily in a four-color indieWIRE:Print publication distributed on-site and electronically via its Internet site and e-mail publications. Additionally, indieWIRE's coverage was showcased on the Internet Movie Database and profiled via daily front-page links on yahoo.com's entertainment content area. During the early months of 1999, the indieWIRE:Express publication was revamped and converted into the new free e-mail publication -- indieWIRE:Daily. indieWIRE:Daily is a companion to the indieWIRE.com website. The Daily includes brief excerpts of daily indieWIRE articles, complete with direct HTML links to the full stories, as well as links to articles about indie film from across the Internet. indieWIRE's readership reached new heights with over 9000 subscribers enjoying the revamped Daily.

indieWIRE's high profile presence in Park City was supported in part by technology partnerships with the Hewlett Packard Corporation and Apple Computers, and marketing partnerships with a diverse group of companies, including The Hollywood Stock Exchange, BMI, The Independent Film Channel, Tanqueray, Kangol, Nautica USA, Matador Records, AVID, Velvel Music Group, Will Records, The Directors Guild of America, October Films and Absolut/Seagram Americas.

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