In the first practical response to the MPAA ban on screener tapes,Fox Searchlight is trying to get exposure for its Nov 26 opener In America directed by Jim Sheridan by hostingweekly paid screenings in the LA area starting Oct 9.

The film, which was warmly received at Toronto 2002 and Sundance2003, is just the kind of title to suffer from the ban on screeners. Its stars- Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton - are little known in the US and itssubject of Irish immigrants in New York City a specialized one. However, asanyone who has seen the film will attest, it packs an emotional wallop - areaction which Academy members will only experience if they see it inscreenings.

Starting this Thursday, thefilm will screen every week at 7.30pm in four theatres in LA - one inHollywood, one in Century City, one in Sherman Oaks and one in Woodland Hills.AMPAS and guild members will be entitled to see the film for free, while thepublic will have to pay full ticket price. The programme will begin in LosAngeles before expanding to other cities across the country.

"This programme makes In America consistently available on the same nightin the same four theatres to members of the Academy and the guilds," said FoxSearchlight president Peter Rice in a statement. "We have faith that themembers will take this unique opportunity to see Jim's beautiful, joyous filmand give it the recognition we believe it deserves."

"On the last dayof September, I woke up and found out that I'd lost my Christmas presents,"added Sheridan himself. "Somebody had taken my screeners and I thought tomyself how is anybody going to see my movie' My little movie. God's sake thisis the most personal movie I've ever made. So I rang up Fox Searchlight andsaid 'help me.' And they did. Now it's up to you, the members of the guilds.Every Thursday. Independence Day for independent film."