It was while Matthew Jones was seeking cast and crew for his film projects at Columbia College that he realized the need for “a distribution outlet for our work along with a network to recruit from.”

So he built Upressplay.com. The site includes uCrew—a group of writers, directors, cinematographers, sound designers, and actors, many of whom were in Jones’s classes and understood the grueling and often unglamorous life of a film student. “It’s low or no pay usually,” Jones says, “so you have to believe, and you have to love it.”

Five years later, the site has turned into a successful networking center, with sections for watching and downloading clips, exhibiting reel and resume, and finding crew. It’s also a content producer and a showcase for members’ work. V.2, released in April 2006, is a DVD compilation of shorts and music videos including “Back to Reality;” the first installment of an episodic dramatic comedy called “Roscoe Village,” and a music video for Chicago metal band Mazarene. The DVD includes directors’ commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, photo galleries, and cast and crew bios. V.2 is sold over the website and showcased at release parties.

The company’s first DVD, V.1, was a collection of shorts including two horror comedies, a comedic mini-rock opera, a music video for rock band Court Jester, and a live set from Dye the Sky. Over 300 units of V.1 have sold and the team is aiming to double their sales with V.2. This summer they will release V.3, featuring shorts and music videos, as well as episode 2 of “Roscoe Village,” which Jones cowrote, directed, and edited.

See www.upressplay.com for more information.


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