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Cyberspace new home for alternative films
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) An Australia-based body plans to bring together software developers and filmmakers to build a tool that will make it easy to put alternative movies on cyberspace.
Alternative films are booming all over the world, like in India. But this creative medium is struggling to find audiences, Andrew Garton, director of Open Channel programme, told IANS.
"We have established a partnership with EngageMedia," he said. A web-based video content management system, it focuses on video distribution as a tool for social justice and media democracy.
The two bodies will hold a workshop in Italy soon to develop tools.
Garton and his team have raised 25,000 Australian dollars as grant to conduct a video-for-Internet application workshop. "It [the workshop] is not about making videos but getting videos online," said Garton.
"EngageMedia has had a tremendous response. All places have been filled," he said. "We've been looking for developers and producers, specifically from Asia, interested in contributing to a common toolset for online video management."
The workshop has attracted participants from alternative media networks like Our Media, Asia247, Hackitectura, Clearer Channel, Jinbonet and MediaAct.
"These are largely independent media services and public-access electronic media centres," Garton said.
India itself has a growing documentary film culture, with networks in places like Mumbai (Vikalp) and New Delhi (CAC-Delhi).
"The idea is to collaborate towards a common set of tools to distribute video materials that deal with critical social and environmental issues on a global level, so that all our initiatives in this field can benefit. By November, we should have a working proof online," he said.
Garton added: "One could place their videos on (other cyber options like) http://YouTube.com or the Internet Archive. But as a content developer, you can't take the YouTube back-end and add it to your own server. It's not an open source.
"We are working to allow users to opt for either http://EngageMedia.org or install the open source EngageMedia toolsets on their own server, customising it how they see fit."
This system is being designed for low-bandwidth as well.
"You'll be able to pop a video out there with both Flash video and bi-torrent support. And as a content provider you'll have a range of (easy-to-share) licensing options to choose from," he added.
It's not a one-stop shop, but it is designed to make the process of getting critical content out to the communities as simple as possible.
Garton pointed to the growing influence of independent, often low-budget filmmaking, something which affordable technology makes increasingly possible.
"In Melbourne alone there are around 12 independent and short film festivals taking place every year. Many more are emerging at the back of houses, in warehouses, in open spaces. The quality of the work and range of ideas are truly remarkable," he said.