CONTROVERSIAL OIL SANDS DOCUMENTARY “DOWNSTREAM”
BY OSCAR® NOMINATED DIRECTOR LESLIE IWERKS
PREMIERES ON BABELGUM WEB AND MOBILE
First ever cross-platform online premiere takes place as Internet TV service
enters the US market. Controversial environmental topics to become the editorial focus of “Our Earth”, one of network’s five main channels
LOS ANGELES / LONDON (March 25, 2009) – Controversial environmental documentary “Downstream” by acclaimed filmmaker Leslie Iwerks is a world-wide exclusive feature on independent Web TV service Babelgum which enters the U.S. market this week with a tailored version of its mobile video application and a redesigned Flash-based website. The 2008 Oscar shortlisted film is hosted on “Our Earth”, Babelgum’s channel dedicated to Nature and the Environment.
Link to film: http://www.babelgum.com/html/clip.php?clipId=3015242
By launching with “Downstream”, Babelgum, the film’s Academy Award® nominated director and Emmy-award winning producer Philip Alberstat are expecting the modern day David and Goliath story of “Big Oil” in Alberta, Canada, to draw a new mass audience via the Web. This will expand upon the dedicated film buffs and socially-conscious audiences who have already seen the documentary in screenings and film festivals worldwide
Mark Cranwell, Director of Content at Babelgum and one of the producers of the documentary, speaks of the exciting possibilities ahead, “’Downstream’ is our first original production that serves as an example for future programming and complements our library of licensed programs. It is also our first effort to demonstrate the initial and ongoing value of programs released first, and exclusively, on the internet whether it be by mobile or the pc or both. We have a powerful and moving film, together with short clips and a full length feature film also on the way. We hope our film will raise the awareness of what is happening in Northern Alberta.”
“This opportunity for ‘Downstream’ to reach a large online audience is very exciting. We are thrilled to be the first to fulfill Babelgum’s vision in creating quality conscious films for people to debate, share, and align with, socially and environmentally,” states Iwerks. “‘Downstream’ is a story of humanity and the real environmental issues facing our planet. This story resonates on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border, and we should all heed the warning signs.”
With Canada (not Saudi Arabia) as the U.S.’s primary source of oil, the film relates how one courageous doctor fights for the lives of the aboriginal people residing downstream from the oil sands of Alberta, one of the most polluting and burgeoning oil operations in the world (over a million barrels of oil per day to the U.S.). The doctor spots a surprising increase in the rate of a rare type of cancer among the townspeople of Ft. Chipewyan, while the citizens have seen an increased amount of wildlife deformities in the river and ecosystem over the last 10 years.
“Our Earth” GM & Publisher, Laurence Billiet comments: “The channel aims not only to bring awareness to some of the greatest issues facing the planet, but also to actively support solutions-oriented programs and become an instigator of change.” The channel wants not only to encourage sharing and discussion, but also action, as expressed through the “Get Involved” links listed with the respective programs.
On Friday, April 3rd, Babelgum will launch the fun, highly-anticipated action-oriented “Extinction Sucks”. Produced in partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation and Off The Fence, it is the first-ever wildlife TV series commissioned especially for on-line viewing.
Babelgum’s goal is to act as an international ‘social glue’, bringing a wide range of content and inspiration to a global audience – like a modern-day Tower of Babel. The bubble logo is a visual pun on the company name, but also reflects Babelgum’s commitment to a green, global future.
“Downstream” and “Extinction Sucks” embeddable trailers can be accessed at http://babelgumwidgetkit.blogspot.com.
The new, free-to-use mobile application is available for download on iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Since Friday’s launch, Babelgum is already ranked #4 in iTunes’ free “Entertainment” applications and #19 across all applications.
A free-to-use integrated mobile and Internet TV service, Babelgum combines the full-screen video quality of traditional television with the interactive capabilities of the Internet, and offers innovative professionally produced programming on-demand to a global audience. Babelgum recently launched an original mobile application in the United States, UK and Italy, that brings regionally tailored programming to smart phones – at present iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, Nokia (N96, N95 and 6210) and G-Phones (1 and 2) – via 3G and WiFi.
Babelgum’s editorial focus is on music, comedy, film, urban culture, nature and the environment. The company has set up two online contests to nurture independent film and music talent: the Babelgum Online Film Festival, chaired by Spike Lee (now in its second year) and the Babelgum Music Video Awards, judged by acclaimed director Michel Gondry. Babelgum also launched a Digital Studio initiative producing new, exclusive and original content. Two productions have already been completed: Downstream, focusing on the controversy over the development of the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, and Extinction Sucks, a wildlife series on the subject of conservation and protection, with the active involvement of WWF.
Babelgum's content partners include, amongst others, EMI, Sony BMG, the Associated Press, PBS, BBC, VBS, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Shine Limited, Cinetic Rights Management, Content Republic, IndieFlix, Gong Anime, The Workbook Project, Cinelan, IMG and Off the Fence, as well as the Seattle, Encounters, Rushes, From Here To Awesome and Renderyard Film festivals. Babelgum is an independent and privately held company with offices in the United States, UK, Ireland, France and Italy.
For further information contact:
Julie Du Brow, dubroWORKS PR
+1 310 921 2463
Andrea Giannotti, Babelgum Media Relations Director
+44 7825 892 640