Irish company: we'll create mobile phone movie channel

Two of Ireland's digital companies have come together to create a mobile phone channel to bring Irish and international short films to the global market.

The founders of the Darklight Film Festival, one of Europe's first digital film festivals, and Wildwave, a mobile digital entertainment provider, have launched Wildlight, a movie channel designed specifically for the small screen.

The channel is initially aimed at 3G mobile phones which are designed for video content and is due to go live by September.

Wildlife say they have an extensive catalogue of films in place, and are currently in distribution negotiations with mobile phone operators.

Stephen McCormack, Wildlight Chairman and CEO of Wildwave says, "We see that people have an emotional connection to their [mobile] phones and they are into [looking at] their screen. So nobody can tell us that we can't put stories down them." He hopes Wildlight will grow alongside the uptake of 3G phones which he is confident will reach at least 80 per cent penetration within 18 months.

Wildlight is targeted at the 15-35 year old market who use their mobile phones heavily.

"We want to provide the kind of films people would like to see at the times they might spend texting or looking at their phones," said Nicki Gogan, Wildlight President and founder of the Darklight Film Festival.

Over the six years of Darklight's history, Gogan has built up a strong relationship with short film makers.

Gogan has selected a catalogue of animations and live-action shorts between one and five minutes long, many with little or no dialogue.

The films range from the Irish Oscar-nominated Give Up Yer Auld Sins by Brown Bag Films to quirky viral web animations created by animators as young as 14-year-old Zach Hicks from New York.

Wildlight say they have signed deals with over 100 filmmakers worldwide as well as film distributors including Bord Scannán na hÉireann/Irish Film Board, Network Television Ireland, Billy Bob, Monster Distributors, Delicious9 and Edinburgh Mediabase.

Over a year in development, Wildlight hope to go live in Ireland, followed by the UK and North America.

Wildlight envisages that the channel will initially operate on a video-on-demand model and then move to a continuous 'Live Stream' 3G channel offering.

Pricing will depend on the operators. Wildlight say they want to provide short film makers with an independent channel for their work.

"We're hoping to live in the space that the Sundance Festival lives in, in America. If we're the Sundance channel for mobiles, we'll be happy with that," said McCormack.

Aoife O'Reilly