Steve Bing, SXSW Ready YouTube-Only Full-Length Feature

Low-budget indie “Girl Walks Into a Bar” is among the first feature-length movies shot exclusively for digital distribution

Last Updated: February 17, 2011 @ 2:20 PM

Steve Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment has announced one of the first feature-length films produced exclusively for the internet, with plans to debut filmmaker Sebastian Guitierrez's "Girl Walks Into a Bar" exclusively on YouTube on March 11, in conjunction with SXSW.

Set in 10 Los Angeles bars, the comedy-drama stars Carla Gugino, Zachary Qunto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett and Rosario Dawson, and was produced for under $1 million.

Automaker Lexus is sponsoring the project, with YouTube providing a distribution channel at ww.youtube.com/screeningroom.

Shangri-La is billing the film as the first full-length film for the Internet — it's certainly among the first. Paramount will debut the next installment of its "Jackass" franchise exclusively online, but the film will unroll as a series of weekly episodes.

Here's the full announcement:

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Shangri-La Entertainment announced today it has entered into an agreement with YouTube and Lexus to present the Sebastian Gutierrez film "Girl Walks Into a Bar" free, exclusively on YouTube premiering Friday, March 11 at https://www.youtube.com/screeningroom. The presentation marks the first time a major motion picture was created exclusively for Web distribution.

"Girl Walks Into a Bar" will premiere in the YouTube Screening Room, a platform designed to showcase top films from around the world.

"With 'Girl Walks Into a Bar,' the cast and crew came together to create something different – a high quality, really fun character-driven film that we could present to audiences for free using a new distribution model," said Gutierrez.  "We found great partners in Lexus and YouTube to support the film while providing us with the stage to draw the largest audience possible."  

"Girl Walks Into a Bar" marks Lexus' first entry into film presentation, however, it is not the automaker's first initiative in the entertainment space. In addition to sponsoring and supporting events in the arts and entertainment arena, Lexus created LStudio.com, a broadband channel that features original content, in 2008.

"The movie escapes the confines of traditional film production and is a bold undertaking that is set to transform the film industry," said Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing, Lexus. "It seems fitting to support this initiative as we launch our most unconfined vehicle yet—the CT 200h hybrid —in a space that we know will reach an unconventional, sophisticated audience."

"Girl Walks Into A Bar" is a feature-length film that follows a series of characters in interlocking stories taking place in ten different bars during the course of one evening in Los Angeles.  By turns funny and heartbreaking, this sharp-witted comedy is written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez ("Women in Trouble," "Elektra Luxx") and is produced by Steve Bing ("The Polar Express," "Shine A Light"), Richard Rosenblatt and Gutierrez.  

Zachary Quinto stars as a dentist who teams up with a feisty would-be assassin (Carla Gugino) to put the final touches on the plan to kill his wife.  Once he makes a play for the assassin's payment, he unknowingly sets off a chain of events that fuels a cross-town journey through the many lounges, bars, strip clubs and the occasional nudist ping pong club scattered across Los Angeles. Along the way, we are introduced to a series of idiosyncratic characters, from pickpocket and gangsters (Aaron Tveit, Danny DeVito) to exotic dancers (Emmanuelle Chriqui, Alexis Bledel), from ex-cons (Robert Forster) to cops (Josh Hartnett, Gil Bellows), with the odd hatcheck girl (Rosario Dawson) and bartender (Amber Valletta) thrown in for good measure.

The exclusive trailer for "Girl Walks Into a Bar" can be seen on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/shangrila

"Girl Walks Into a Bar" is co-produced by Zach Schwartz.   The film's director of photography is Cale Finot and is edited by Lisa Bromwell A.C.E.  The film's music is by Grant Lee Phillips.