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Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)
Title: Lifetime snaps up Nashville company's work
Date: December 10, 2004
Section: Business
Page: 1E
Transcendent Films reaches deal with network for rights to movie, may pitch more scripts in future.
Staff Writer

A Nashville film company has inked a seven-year deal with cable network Lifetime to air its first feature film.
The film, No Regrets, stars Janine Turner, Kate Jackson and Nashville songwriter Lari White and was locally produced by Transcendent Films. The deal gives Lifetime rights to air the film on its two channels and release it on home video/DVD and means national exposure for the movie. Lifetime is available in 85 million households, and its DVDs are available for rent in Blockbuster and for sale in Wal-Mart. "Lifetime was always at the top of our Christmas list," said Curt Hahn, chief executive and founder of Transcendent. The film company is a year-old division of Hahn's 28-year-old Film House, the largest producer of commercials and other video work in the state. "Our film will be seen by millions of people in one night, which is more than most films would see in their entire theatrical release." Hahn would not disclose what the deal was worth but said it covered production costs and that Transcendent retained international rights to the film.

"We got more money than we thought possible," he said. "This is as good as it gets for an independent film."

It also could lead to more business producing films for the network that bills itself as "for women." Hahn said Lifetime encouraged him to present more scripts. If the company likes a script, it will offer a "pre-buy" - which gives Lifetime first shot at licensing the produced film. Lifetime is a partnership between Hearst and The Walt Disney Co.

Such a commitment can help a production company borrow money to finance a film, Hahn said.

"You can take that to the bank. All of a sudden you've got a business," he said.

About 4,500 independent films were produced last year, and only a tiny percentage reached a mass audience. About 2,600 films were submitted to the Sundance Film Festival for 16 openings, Hahn said. Of those, three or four got a distribution deal. Hahn said trying to get a film into Sundance was akin to waiting for lightning to strike. Besides, he said, the deal with Lifetime positions Transcendent to take advantage of the trend toward movies being delivered to home theaters.

Attendance at big-screen theaters has been declining, and the proliferation of cable and DVD, as well as trends such as high-definition television (HDTV), TiVo, movies that can be rented by mail or downloaded and a new high-definition DVD point toward home entertainment taking a bite out of traditional theaters.

No Regrets will air as part of Lifetime's Monday night series of original movies that haven't been shown on TV before. The film features a song by White called Right Here, Right Now off her album Green Eyed Soul. White and her husband, Chuck Cannon, are hit country songwriters in Nashville. White has several albums to her credit and appeared in the movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks.

No Regrets will air Dec. 27 on Comcast Channel 42.

Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.

For more information, contact J.P. Peach at [email protected] or (615) 255-4000.