George Clooney and Martin Scorsese share a joke in January 2012 while participating… ( Jay L. Clendenin )
Premium movie channel EPIX is becoming the lead sponsor, broadcaster and streaming partner of the Los Angeles Times' annual Envelope Screening Series.
The series, created by the news organization, showcases at least a dozen films that are in contention for the Oscars and other awards. Select movies are screened by guild members and Academy Award voters at the ArcLight Cinemas Sherman Oaks. Question-and-answer sessions and roundtable discussions with the casts and filmmakers, moderated by Times journalists, will be featured on Epix.
This fall's Envelope Screening Series kicks off Oct. 25 with the Sundance hit, "The Sessions," with director Ben Lewin and stars John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. Video from the event, and others in the series, will be made available on the Epix network, which is distributed by Cox Communications, Dish Network, and Charter Communications, among others, as well as part of the company's on-demand offering and Internet site.
EPIX is a three-year old service owned by three movie studios: Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Times is owned by Tribune Co.
The new partnership was announced Wednesday during an event to launch this season's Envelope, which is published online and as a supplement to the LA Times. The agreement also covers the broadcast of the Times' annual Young Hollywood Roundtable and the Envelope Directors Roundtable.
EPIX has been looking for ways to increase its exposure and introduce "value-added" programming that will appeal to movie fans who are intrigued by the inner-workings and personalities of Hollywood.
"This was a logical place for us to go," EPIX chief executive Mark Greenberg said in an interview. "People really want to get a behind-the-scenes look at movies. Providing that is part of our mission and this series does a lot to promote the film business."
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