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Whatever happened to Outsourced?

A homegrown success at SIFF '07, where it won the audience prize, Outsourced enjoyed a nice fall run in Seattle and a few other national markets. Then...whatever happened to that cute little movie? A genial indie rom-com about a dejected Seattle tech worker (Josh Hamilton) sent to train his replacement in chaotic, colorful India (where, yes, he also finds love), it was written by locals George Wing and John Jeffcoat, who also directed. Local company ShadowCatcher Entertainment opted to self-distribute the movie, after which, to benefit from generally favorable reviews (Roger Ebert's included), the DVD would ordinarily be expected immediately.Instead, it's taken almost a year for the DVD (Ocean Park, $24.98) to arrive in stores this week. Why the delay? For starters, the filmmakers were already selling a bare-bones DVD from their Web site. Then, explains Jeffcoat by phone, "We signed a deal to spread the net wider...to get it out to as many outlets as possible." In addition to Scarecrow and Blockbuster, "I know that you can preorder it now on Amazon. You can put it on your Netflix queue."He continues, "We've added some special features," which include a short making-of documentary, a music video, interviews, and a group commentary track made "when [co-star] Ayesha Dharker was back here for our Seattle premiere."After Outsourced played Seattle for three weeks, Jeffcoat explains, it never really left theaters. "It's been a really long, drawn-out release. We started getting requests from indie theaters all over the country." This means small markets in places like Wisconsin and North Carolina that might not see many indie movies, but which may have South Asian immigrant communities with strong interest in the title.It's the long-tail economic model of self-distribution, which producer David Skinner told me last fall he was initially reluctant to undertake: "I was very, very surprised and disappointed. Ultimately we walked away from what some would consider a fairly substantial offer from Miramax-Disney, even though we knew that we had money in the bank if we took the deal. They wanted to do a remake. They really thought they could do a better job with bigger stars and a bigger budget."But today, says Wing, "In retrospect, the decision was pretty smart. The independent film biz is broken right now."Meanwhile, he and Jeffcoat are writing an NBC pilot for a possible TV version of Outsourced. With 100 pages in draft material, they want 25 pages for a half-hour show. "Ideally we'll be done by Labor Day," says Wing. Pilot season is this fall, when networks decide what scripts to shoot over the winter.With Outsourced newly visible on video, will that potential audience awareness help sway NBC decision makers? "It's gotta be good," answers Wing.bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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