IraDeutchman, Giovanni Cozzi and Barry Rebo's Emerging Pictures has formed a NorthAmerican digital distribution alliance with Brazilian technology company RAINNetwork.

Called RAIN US, the New York-based exhibition and distribution venture aims tofulfil Emerging Picture's longtime goal of offering a platform to internationaland independent filmmakers.

The fledgling venture will provide programming for 400 North American theatresoperated by the exhibition division Emerging Cinemas, using RAIN's proprietaryKinocast satellite delivery software currently employed by than 100 Braziliantheatres.

The first title to be transmitted will be Howard Smith and Sarah Kernochan's1972 Oscar winning documentary Marjoe, which will be transmitted into NewYork's IFC Film Centre theatre on Jan 13 before expanding into other markets.

RAIN US will provide distributors and exhibitors with a complete suite ofdigital cinema services, including mastering, encoding, encryption,distribution, exhibition and billing services.

"Emerging had been looking for a technology platform that would allow usto rapidly deploy a cost-effective turn-key system for our theatres' digitalcinema systems," Emerging Pictures president Giovanni Cozzi said.

"While the older MPEG 2 digital cinema systems we initially employedsuccessfully met our requirements, our accelerated projected growth plansdemanded that we aggressively pursue and acquire today the next phase oftechnology."

"We view our partnership with Emerging Pictures as an important first stepin purveying a truly global platform for international independent film, onewhich specifically focuses on the special needs of independent filmenthusiasts," RAIN founder and chief executive officer Eduardo Ferrao added.