Launching August 2010: American Idol Meets Indie Cinema as Connects Filmmakers, Investors, and Audiences

Jun 17, 2010, 10:30 ET from

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In Tinseltown, the end of the world is nigh -- and it isn't starring Bruce Willis.

If you're a big studio or film financier, you spent an average of $102 million dollars for every film you made in 2009 -- while only 32 of the year's 671 releases even crossed the eight-figure barrier in gross returns.

If you're a filmmaker, then the global economy and its Hollywood trickle-down has almost completely evaporated your financing options, leaving the next-gen Steven Soderberghs and Christopher Nolans without the resources to dream-weave their singular, masterful debuts.

And if you're an audience member, you're probably choking on the third sequel to this and the fifth rehash of that, buying 19% less tickets this year than last, offering Hollywood its worst Memorial Day weekend in 17 years, according to the June 18, 2010 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

"Many in Hollywood realize that the old rules don't apply, but what are the new rules? Nobody knows," Variety editor Tim Gray said in a recent interview. "There is both excitement and fear ... a sense [of] 'I know something is happening but I don't know what to do about it, and I don't want to get left behind.'"

But 22-year-old Bollywood/Hollywood filmmaker and risk management advisor Nikhil Jassawalla believes he knows the missing link, and this August will reveal it, launching, a web-based, media platform for filmmakers, investors, and cinephiles alike. He is partnered with Daniel Luft, Vice-President, Wells Capital Management, and Marty Zeidman, former Senior Vice-President of Lionsgate Entertainment, who also spearheaded the release of Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Cinema Paradiso, and The Crying Game during his tenure at Miramax.

The pioneering brand unites the perfect trifecta of film industry, investors, and audiences in one place, essentially minimizing investment risk while micro-targeting audiences and shining a spotlight on the next wave of creative geniuses. has already captured the attention of heavyweight global investors in China and India, good news for filmmakers looking to usher their next project to fruition.

Here's how it works: Filmmakers and celebrities upload "pitch videos" of their intended projects, gaining international exposure and connecting at the ground floor with their most powerful allies: the audience. Consumers view these pitches, then give each project a "green light" (industry standard for "make the movie") or a "red light" ("recycle, please"), their voices being heard, a la American Idol, and their insatiable interest in industry goings-on being honored. Investors, then, have a real-time window of fresh, quantifiable data on which projects are most deeply connecting with prospective audiences, thereby reducing risk in the highly speculative world of film finance and distribution.

"At, filmmakers have a place for their voices to be heard, audiences get to be part of the filmmaking process, and investors see what films have an audience. It's a win-win-win situation," says Jassawalla. "We are thrilled to show the world the next generation of filmmaking -- one that is audience driven."