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The wisdom of Festival Genius

April 8, 2010 |  3:34 pm

Anyone who's surfed a film festival website knows well the joys of a good site -- and the perils of a messy one. Bad interfaces and wonky presentations lead to all kinds of mishaps. The Soviet Union employed better technology.

Things have been improving thanks to a database and tech firm called Festival Genius, which has come on strong in recent years. The technology has been widely praised by the independent-film world, and festival-goers, by all anecdotal accounts, have been pleased.

The firm was on, unfortunately, its way to extinction after owner B-Side shut down March 1. But thanks to a nifty indie-world maneuver, it will survive.

A New York-based company called Slated has acquired the intellectual property rights to the technology and has in turn licensed it to the nonprofit IFP. Former B-Side executives Chris Hyams and Mike McCown have joined Slated, while other members of B-Side's festival team are now at IFP.

More than 200 film festivals have used the technology to build online program guides and schedules. Several, including Sundance, Fantastic Fest and NewFest, have already committed to using it again. So the next time you're surfing and want to find out what's playing at a festival, you might actually, well, find out.

-- Mark Olsen

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