“Shorts are cool and we want to make them a viable part of the entertainment spectrum,” says Mika Salmi, founder and CEO of AtomFilms.com To that end, AtomFilms is not only webcasting shorts, but acting as a sales agent and making deals with airlines, cable networks, and other websites for the few hundred short films and animations now in its fold. [see Distributor F.A.Q., p. 46]
Unlike some other online distributors, Atom takes a “less is more” approach. In order to serve his audience, Salmi believes AtomFilms needs to be selective. Shorts are chosen through an internal process that can include screenings before small audiences. The company recently created an “artist’s fund” that rewards its filmmakers with ownership in the company through an artist’s fund which provides stock options to filmmakers, along with fees generated by deals that Atom makes. The company also announced the addition of several high-profile Hollywood executives to its boards of directors and advisors: NBC’s Warren Littlefield, Viacom’s Frank Biondi, and the WB Network’s Craig Hunegs.
Outwardly focused on nurturing new talent, Salmi adds, “We want to create and find hits.” The company has already found at least one in J.J. Keith’s Holiday Romance, which was nominated for an Academy Award after Keith worked with Atom to book the short in a Los Angeles theater to guarantee Oscar eligibility. “We want to develop a market and make the short format popular,” says Salmi. “We think that shorts will work well on the Internet.”