Leaping on the Blair Witch guerilla filmmaking bandwagon, UK production company Samuelson Productions is linking up with BSkyB, Whitecliff Film and Television and British Screen Finance to produce a slate of low-budget, digital films for distribution theatrically, on television and on the Internet.
The films - to be shot on digital video - will be based on urban myths which have been written up into a series of books by Jan Brunvand, a professor of contemporary mythology at the University of Utah. Samuelson has had the books under option for several years.
'We are doing a feasibility study on how many films to make per year, how much each will cost and how much the total investment will be,' said producer Marc Samuelson. 'We're keeping all our options open and working together to see how the figures work out - to see how cost-efficient digital production is and whether it really does open up new possibilities in low-budget production.'
Samuelson said the feasibility study will also decide how films will be distributed - in cinemas, on television or on the Internet - but noted that several distributors are already making inroads into Internet delivery and partner BSkyB is strongly committed to investing in the medium.
Samuelson added that details of projects, talent and budgets will be revealed in April when the results of the study have come in.
In common with The Blair Witch Project, the films will be shot from the subjective point-of-view of the protagonists. 'Quality and commerciality do not necessarily rely on high budgets, as recent films have shown,' said Samuelson. 'The Blair Witch Project was one inspiration but we all have been looking into this area for some time and the time is right to proceed.'
Samuelson aims to use the project as a breeding ground for new UK filmmakers. It will tap into British Screen's new talent initiatives, such as the Screenplay Loans and Short Film Production schemes.