Digital Distribution of Movies

Films: Have Hard Drive, Will Travel

For years independent cinema has been a big-city phenomenon, the non-Hollywood movies available only in major urban centers and — perhaps — on cable.

Now a New York-based company is trying to take art-house movies to small cities around the country by relying on digital projection. The company, Emerging Pictures, has sent computer hard drives to theaters in five cities to coincide with the opening on April 1 of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C.

The hard drives, which can be connected to inexpensive digital projectors, contain 10 digital films from the documentary festival. The movies will be shown simultaneously in theaters in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Mich.; Lincoln, Neb.; Charleston, W.Va.; and Sarasota, Fla., in addition to Durham.