Walls of Sand Becomes First Modern Feature Film Available for Internet Viewing

In early March, The Sync, an Internet audio/video broadcasting company, announced that history has been made with the first modern feature film to be offered for viewing on the World Wide Web: American director Erica Jordan's acclaimed 1994 independent film, Walls of Sand. This important debut ushers in a new era in entertainment: video on demand from your PC, with feature films available at any hour of the day. Net surfers can watch Walls of Sand for free in the RealVideo format on The Sync's "ondemand" page.

Walls of Sand is the story of an Iranian student (played by Shirin Etessam, who also co-produced and co-wrote the film with Jordan) who is desperate for a green card to remain in the United States. She takes a job as an au pair for a despondent mother suffering from agoraphobia, but soon finds herself in the middle of a bitter child-custody battle between her employer and the woman's husband. This pensive and moody drama has been seen in film festivals and theatrical engagements around the world, and it's now part of the digital world.

Until now, no contemporary feature film has been available in its entirety for Internet viewing; The Sync has offered new short films and two classic silent films: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu. By presenting the 115-minute Walls of Sand on its site, The Sync has literally invented a new venue for contemporary feature films in addition to opening the doors for filmmakers who want to reach a global audience beyond traditional channels.

"For the longest time, people have said the Internet will be the future of cinema presentations," says Thomas Edwards, founder and president of The Sync. "Today, the future is here. We are honored to present this unique film in this unique format, and we believe this will be the first of many, many new films that the cyberspace community will be able to enjoy."

Movies over the Internet---great concept, but how does it look? By net standards, pretty good. But net standards are about as low as they go for video, and the sound is not much better. However, this technology demonstrates the potential for streaming entertainment to someone's home "on demand" once the bandwidth bottlenecks open up. It wasn't long ago that all audio streamed over the Internet sounded horrible. But with new techniques from companies like Liquid Audio, "CD-quality" sound is becoming common. So think of websites such as The Sync as "proof of concept" for now. As the future unfolds, the picture can only get better.

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