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There's A New Vid-Kid On The Block For Indies

Independent film producers Jeffrey Sneller (The Adventures of Pinocchio) and Charles Fries have recently formed Santa Barbara Home Video to market and distribute indie films on home video. The independent distribution company is a subsidiary of Santa Barbara Filmed-Entertainment, which is co-producing the feature film Doctor Lopez in the fourth quarter of 2003 in association with Andrew Steven's Powerhouse Entertainment. The first SBHV release is the Sneller/Raju Patel produced The New Adventures of Pinocchio. The combination live-action, puppetry and CGI animation film starring multi-award winner Martin Landau in his return as Geppetto, is available April 15, 2003. This is a sequel to the Sneller/Patel produced New Line Cinema theatrical release, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, which debuted on HBO Family in early February, with subsequent airings on the HBO main channel, Starz and Showtime. Sneller/Patel are now working on PINOCCHIO 3, THE FURTHER ADVENTURES, which will be produced by SBFE. Sneller commented, "There have been very few newly formed home video companies in recent years, because it's so cost-intensive, and I think we're unique in that respect. Just as DreamWorks was the first major distribution company to be formed in 50 years, I think we're one of the first new home video distribution companies in a long time, doing direct distribution." He continued, "Charles and I are in control of the marketing and the distribution. We produce, finance, and distribute, both theatrically and on video so that our rewards rise and fall on our efforts. We are in the position to give the product its best opportunity, and unlike the majors, we have both money and time, so we are able to put a lot of care into the making and marketing of our pictures." Woodland Hills, California-based SBHV will handle mainly family titles, which have an evergreen quality, as well as an eclectic mix of what Fries terms passion projects and mainstream films. "Santa Barbara Home Video is offering independent filmmakers an alternative," said Fries. "We encourage a filmmaker to participate with us in the marketing of their product. Usually, once you hand over a film to a distributor or major studio, that's the last you see or hear from your film until you start getting your statements." Many in the industry consider Fries the "godfather" of the television movie. He ran his own prolific film and television production company in Hollywood, Fries Entertainment, which went public and eventually filed Chapter 7 as network license fees dropped, costs rose and the cable industry was still in its infancy. SBHV's "independent filmmaker's alternative" philosophy also includes theatrical distribution through Santa Barbara Filmed-Entertainment, and production financing. For more information on SBHV call (818) 346-7038 or email jmsneller@aol.com.

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