Horror thriller Wendigo which was shot on digital video will be the firstfilm to be released using Microsoft Windows Media. Distributed by ContentFilmand Magnolia Pictures, the film will be released using a preview of theupcoming version of Microsoft Media Audio and Video technology codenamed"Corona".

The experiment, which willbegin in Seattle on March 1and in Dallas on March 15, will reduce costsassociated with traditional distribution while technically retaining thepicture and sound quality demanded of film. Digital Cinema Solutions (DCS) willprovide infrastructure and technology services to support the release of thefilm, which is also being released in traditional 35mm format in New York andLos Angeles.

"Traditional filmmastering and release prints are expensive and fairly inflexible," saidJohn Schmidt, co-founder of ContentFilm in a statement. "ContentFilm iscommitted to a mode of digital production and distribution that will greatlyreduce these costs, take advantage of ancillary online distribution andpromotional outlets, and have the flexibility to respond immediately tosplit-second market changes. We view DCS and Microsoft Windows MediaCorona' as key enablers in forging this new paradigm in the business ofindependent film."

Wendigo was encoded using the audio and video technologiesin Windows Media "Corona" which enables the delivery of high-resolutionvideo and multichannel surround sound and can facilitate low-cost movie distributionat commercial theatres and other venues such as film festivals and the Web. "Corona"will be available in spring 2002.