SOURCE: TVWorldwide.com

April 13, 2005 07:39 ET

TV Worldwide Teams With "Blair Witch Project" Creator to Launch "The Strand," Streaming 'Webisodic' Film in Live Webcast From NAB 2005

Live and Archived Online Distribution of Feature in "Webisodes" Attracting Global Interest for Webcast at www.strandvenice.com

CHANTILLY, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 13, 2005 -- TV Worldwide, a fast-growing, web-based global TV network, announced that it has signed an agreement with Blair Witch creator Dan Myrick of Gearhead Pictures to stream "The Strand," a live-action, independently produced narrative episodic intended specifically for the web. The series' first streaming "webisode" will be launched as part of TV Worldwide's live webcast of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2005 Show in Las Vegas. The webisode webcast, to be held Tuesday, April 19 at 5PM ET, live from the TV Worldwide webcast booth (C11704) on the NAB 2005 show floor, will feature a pre-launch show with Myrick and other "Strand" producers, actors and creators interacting with webcast participants worldwide via e-mail which will begin at 4:30 PM ET.

TV Worldwide's streaming video live webcast launch of the first Strand webisode will premiere at www.strandvenice.com from a TV Worldwide-enabled webcast event page and be FREE of CHARGE to enable VIPs, critics, reviewers and early website visitors to participate. TV Worldwide will deploy a customized solution utilizing the technology of strategic partner Abacast for efficient delivery of the live event and Tukati for the archived on-demand stream (which will not be available until the live video stream of The Strand feature has concluded).

"We are pleased to work with Dan Myrick, who lead a revolution with "The Blair Witch Project" to develop an economically viable streaming model for 'The Strand,'" stated Dave Gardy, CEO of TV Worldwide and President of the International Webcasting Association (IWA). "Not only do we believe that his 'webisodic' approach in delivering 'The Strand' is a veritable 'asteroid' aimed at the planet of conventional content distribution, the show itself is so compelling that it will stimulate a viral buzz on the Internet and establish a new benchmark for interactive participation. Once again, content is king."

"As a pioneer in the field, TV Worldwide's Internet TV network has grown by deploying ground-breaking streaming media applications that work," stated Dan Myrick, director of "The Strand" and president of Gearhead Pictures. "While the entertainment industry continually grows more risk-averse, the Internet still beckons with its promise of becoming the great equalizer and we want to work with innovators who can execute a strategy with that vision."

"The Strand" is an uncensored look at the lives of several off-beat characters that inhabit the unique world of Venice Beach, California, and how they are all interrelated. Utilizing many of the method-film techniques that were incorporated into "Blair Witch," "The Strand" maintains a sense of authenticity that cannot be found in large-scale productions. Real people and actors populate a fictional world in which spontaneous as well as scripted dialogue bring a sense of unpredictability and realism to the characters and situations.

Much as with "Blair" "The Strand" will encourage audience interaction and feedback to help guide and shape future episodes, as well as interaction with characters, filmmakers and each other. Audition videos, chat rooms and even point-of-view cameras that virtually put the audience in the actors' heads as they work through scenes will all be part of the online experience as the show progresses. After the streaming launch of the initial webisode during the TV Worldwide webcast, audiences will be asked to pay $0.99 for each subsequent webisode, which will be enabled through BitPass digital payments technology.

All of TV Worldwide's webcast NAB 2005 event coverage will be archived for viewing at www.TVWorldwide.com. Participants for this Tuesday, April 19th "Strand" launch webcast should be online by 4:30 PM, PT for the pre-launch show and 5PM PT for the actual "Strand" webisode webcast. Questions can be directed to 703-961-9250, ext. 223 or 220 before and during the event.

About "The Strand"

Originally conceived in 2003, "The Strand" grew out of a series of camera tests using the backdrop of Venice Beach. The camera tests grew into a love affair with the city itself. "Venice is so unique, with such a strong personality. I wanted to find a way to capture it for what it was, and most of all, keep it honest," says director Dan Myrick. A year later, he raised the money to shoot for 8 days in the heart of the city.

The idea was to create a new way of shooting that embraced the hurly-burly nature of the area. "Blair" had been shot in a remote location; "The Strand" would be shot in the middle of a popular vacation destination. Natural lighting, hand-held cameras, and improvisation would, once again, be embraced. But in order to truly meld in with the city, co-writer Mark Patton re-located to the boardwalk and began befriending every restaurant and tattoo shop owner down the strip. Says Mark, "By the time we started shooting, we were family."

"The Strand" has over 50 speaking parts, and 30 locations. The three-room production office was also a set, a dressing room, and a cafeteria. Casting for the project also had a distinctly bizarre Venice feel. On one end, Lorenzo Pye, a homeless drummer who has been a longtime fixture on the boardwalk, was cast as a homeless drummer whose "spirit is stolen." On the other end, film veteran Katherine Helmond was cast as a 1950's movie starlet who is facing imminent foreclosure on her home. "I can't say enough about my actors," says Myrick. "One of the great benefits of this style of shooting is that you really allow them to breathe inside their roles. And it's a thing of beauty to capture that on camera."

By the end of production, over 50 hours of footage had been shot, and the long process of editing began. As the film began to come together, Dan realized he had something completely new on his hands. Says Dan, "From day one, this has been an organic process. I loved the idea, loved Venice, and simply wanted to tell a good story. I put myself in the hands of Venice, and let it take me where it wanted to go."

With high quality streaming media finally becoming a reality, and with the licensing power created by the online payment firm BitPass, the internet increasingly seemed like the first choice for distribution. Says Myrick, "Obviously, the dream is for an artist to connect directly to his audience. I know how powerful the internet can be. I've seen it first-hand. I think this is the perfect home for 'The Strand,' and I'm excited about its potential."

Synopsis for "The Strand"

Where everyone's a character...

Freaks, Geeks, and Muscle Beach. The method filmmaking style comes into its own in the city of Jim Morrison and Dogtown. "The Strand" takes us into the lives of several individuals that inhabit this offbeat, slightly surreal world. From the boardwalk to the canals, Venice Beach embraces everyone: whether it's a yuppie living in his penthouse, a skate punk looking to score weed, or a homeless guy asking for spare change.

By utilizing small crews, combined with minimal lighting and set-up, the method filmmaking approach seamlessly combines the strengths of narrative storytelling with documentary filmmaking. The result is a raw, organic style that captures the spirit of a city that is known as much for its heartbreak as it is for its beauty.

About TV Worldwide

As a leading global Internet broadcasting and streaming media company, TV Worldwide (www.tvworldwide.com) is developing a network of video channels that is an affiliation of community-based Internet television stations, each underwritten by a strategic partner, "aimcasting(SM)" to targeted demographic audiences worldwide. TVWorldwide.com works with strategic partners to develop the latest in live and archived state-of-the-art video streaming content applications. TVWorldwide.com was recently named one of the streaming video industry's "Hottest Streaming Companies" by Streaming Magazine, www.streamingmagazine.com, and CEO Dave Gardy was honored by the magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential People in Streaming Media. Mr. Gardy also currently serves as the President of the International Webcasting Association (IWA), www.webcasters.org.

About Gearhead Pictures

Established in 2001, Gearhead Pictures was formed by Daniel Myrick to help facilitate various solo projects, ranging from feature films to Internet content. For more information and press inquiries, email info@gearheadpictures.com or phone Julia Fair at Gearhead Pictures' main line, 626-395-7674.

About NAB 2005

NAB 2005 takes place April 16-21 in Las Vegas (exhibits open April 18). It is the world's largest electronic media show covering the development, delivery and management of professional video and audio content across all mediums. Complete NAB 2005 details are available at www.NABshow.com.

About TV Worldwide's Webcast Coverage of NAB 2005

As part of TV Worldwide's live webcast coverage of NAB 2005 from Las Vegas, April 18-21, the company will also launch TV Mainstream (www.TVMainstream.com), an Internet TV Channel dedicated to the technology, people and events of the burgeoning streaming media industry. The webcast, being produced in cooperation with Streaming Media.com, Event DV Magazine and the International Webcasting Association, will feature the demo launch of the new channel with a perspective of the NAB 2005 from the point of view of the streaming media industry professional. For the last several years, TV Worldwide has served as the official webcaster of the NAB Show and currently supports NAB's other various streaming media activities. The free week-long webcast will feature interviews with streaming industry leaders present for NAB 2005 and selected speakers, and will also highlight the latest products and services which support the sector.

All of TV Worldwide's webcast NAB 2005 event coverage will be archived for viewing at www.TVMainstream.com and www.TVWorldwide.com. Participants should be online by 10:45 AM, PST on April 18th. Questions can be directed to 703-961-9250, ext. 223 before and during the event.

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