Don't expect a quiet evening of film at a Blowtorch event. The brainchild of a veteran Hollywood producer (Schiff's movies include Rushmore and My Cousin Vinny) and a former VC (Rodriques), Blowtorch's plan is to target the college market with what is essentially an old-school movie studio and some very new-school promotional techniques. Schiff is in charge of producing and acquiring a stable of low-budget (under $5 million) feature-length films. Rodriques's job is to build social networks around the movies, inviting 18- to 24-year-old audiences to gather online before, after, and during the film.
Having nailed down exhibition deals with 600 theaters near college campuses, Blowtorch has an edge over other would-be film companies: hard-to-get space on the silver screen. You'll hear a lot of clicking in the theater on Blowtorch nights. A typical evening might feature a festival of user-generated short films built around a theme - skateboarding, say, or football, or tango. People in the audience will be encouraged to pick up their cellphones or fire up their laptops to vote, text each other, and send messages to the producers - all while the show is rolling. The short film that gets the most votes is screened with the next Blowtorch feature or included in a DVD. The first Blowtorch movie, a twentysomething comedy called You Are Here, debuts in April.
Last updated December 27 2007: 9:36 AM ET