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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Compiling Online Video a Blast for Agoura Hills Firm

With the web becoming the fastest growing distributor of videos in the world, an Agoura Hills company is helping viewers make sense of it all. ClipBlast! provides a free search engine for navigating the online world to find videos of interest to viewers and ways of managing their favorite and preferred content. With more personal computers hooked up to quicker broadband service, they are being used more and more as a video monitor or television, said ClipBlast! CEO Gary Baker. “We are a culture that is focused on entertainment or emotional moving images through the visual medium,” Baker said. The privately-held company was launched in late 2003, an instance of good timing as two years later would see the debut of YouTube and the start of a revolution when it comes to videos online. User created content and professionally-produced videos, television shows and short films now inundate the web. ClipBlast sees spikes in visitors when big news events occur the recent Griffith Park wildfires and the shootings at Virginia Tech for example or whenever a celebrity does something newsworthy. At the ClipBlast! site, users find a real time ticker on its main page showing what videos are being added at that moment. They can also personalize the page by stating preferences in categories, content providers and search phrases and can be notified when a new clip has been added that meets their criteria. “They can go back and watch a clip from a week ago if they want to,” Baker said. “This is really an on-demand system.” As a private company, ClipBlast! has no shortage of available funding. But before going after any additional financing, the company execs need to know in what direction they are going, Baker said. There have been opportunities for buyouts but heading in that direction was not of any interest. “We see building this out as key to driving good quality value,” Baker said. A World of Films The 2nd Annual Cross Cultural Film Festival Los Angeles takes place June 5 at the Whitefire Theater, 13500 Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks. Screenings will include dramas and documentaries from Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and the United States. The festival was founded by Robin Saban, who also organizes the International Student Film Festival Hollywood that takes place in November. For more information call (818) 203-4179 or visit www.crossculturalfilmfestival.org. Filmmaker Assistance Online media company Withoutabox, Inc. signed a representation agreement to expand its activities and presence in the United Kingdom and Europe. Andy Whittaker will serve as the film liaison for Studio City-based Withoutabox with the European filmmaking community. Withoutabox offers online tools and services for independent filmmakers, including its popular submission system for 2,000 film festivals worldwide. Whittaker has served as managing director of Dogwoof Pictures and in 2005 simultaneously released a feature film to theaters, DVD and the Internet. “Europe has a wealth of talented independent filmmakers that have been using Withoutabox for years,” Whittaker said. “It is my mission to build upon this by bringing what Withoutabox has successfully done in the United States to the many European festivals and filmmakers.” The agreement with Whittaker is the second strategic partnership with Europe taken by Withoutabox this year. The company recently entered into an exclusive partnership with the Short Film Corner, a division of the Cannes Film Festival, whereby Withoutabox oversaw the Fourth Annual Short Film Corner’s entire title registration process for this year’s event, including solicitation, management and promotion of films. CW Wraps First Season The CW Network completed its inaugural season ahead of both UPN and The WB in target demographics of adults ages 18 to 34 and women ages 18 to 34. The Burbank-based network was launched in September as a replacement for Warner Bros.’s WB Network and UPN, owned by CBS Corp. Returning next season will be the popular “America’s Next Top Model,” “Pussycat Dolls Present,” “Smackdown,” “Beauty and the Geek,” and “One Tree Hill.” Joining the lineup will be new dramas “Gossip Girl” and “Reaper.” Ending it series run this spring was “Gilmore Girls” and cult favorite “Veronica Mars” was not renewed for a fourth season. Pirate’s Booty In the event that one hasn’t tired of reading about “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” by now, the Disney-owned El Capitan Theatre will display through June 28 set pieces, props and costumes from the third installment of the wildly successful film series. Among the items are ornate props, elaborate costumes worn by the cast, and set pieces of the pirate ships and Shipwreck Island. Warner Bros. News Warner Home Video announced that it is the first studio to surpass sales of 100,000 copies of a high-definition DVD with the Academy Award-winning “The Departed.” “It’s no accident that Warner is the first studio to reach this benchmark. We owe this success to a combination of great content and our decision to support both high definition formats,” said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video. “By releasing titles on HD DVD and Blu-Ray, Warner Home Video not only increases our potential audience reach, but also offers consumers assurance that regardless of the format they choose they can enjoy our movies.” And in other Warner Bros. news, the Hollywood Reporter reported May 24 that Warner Bros. Pictures acquired rights to “Skulduggery Pleasant” by Irish author Derek Landy. The book series is considered to be Warner’s next family-friendly film franchise. Set in present-day Dublin, the comic-horror novel is about Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective and his young accomplice, Stephanie. Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at mmadler@sfvbj.com .

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