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Sundance Sets Asian Fright Fest

Sundance Channel will look to scare up viewers for its video-on-demand service by premiering three Asian-based horror films in November, three months before they air on the traditional cable network.

The three movies — Lo Chi-Leung's Koma, Takeshi Shimizu's Marebito, and Shinya Tsukamoto's Vital — are part of the network's 13-movie “Asian Extreme” late-night film festival devoted to films emerging from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand.

The second season of that film series launches on the network Feb. 4, according to Gretchen Beidl, executive vice president of affiliate sales for Sundance Channel.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Mediacom Communications and Insight Communications systems will offer the movies for free as part of Sundance Channel's on-demand service, which offers approximately 10 hours per month of acquired movies and network original fare, such as The Hill.

In addition, Sundance will launch a microsite for Asia Extreme on Nov. 1, as part of its Web site.

Beidl said the early on-demand showings of the films were an outgrowth of the network's VOD offering of movies from the first Asian Extreme festival this past Spring.

“We showed that we had very strong usage numbers when we first put this up on VOD in the spring and it really popped, so we decided to test it out,” she said.

“We hadn't done a VOD-specific promotion before, so we decided we were going to use something that we already saw that had very strong usage and to make it very special.”

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.