By Phil Hall | September 19, 2001

One of the most conspicuous film-related failures in recent years is the presentation of films on the Internet. Indeed, many of the original dot-bombs that sparked off the tech industry’s implosion were companies which promised to bring original films and video programming to online audiences. A combination of many factors (including poor management within these companies, wobbly technology which failed to present the films and videos properly, and a widescale sense of audience apathy at watching films on a computer monitor) ensured these ventures with a one-way ticket to the bankruptcy courts.
However, one enterprising young filmmaker may have found part of the elusive solution to presenting online films. Neil Sotirakopoulous, a 19 year-old student at Rensselær Polytechnic Institute in upstate New York, is the driving force behind one of the Internet’s few truly intriguing webcasting sites: SaS Films, a celebration of daredevil winter sports activities. SaS Films (the acronym stands for Skiing and Snowboarding) does not pretend to be a Sundance-aspiring center for indie filmmakers. Instead, it thrives in presenting non-professional filmmakers who aim their video cameras at non-professional athletes zooming down the snowy slopes of New England.
But believe it or not, SaS Films offers more entertainment and excitement than any webcasting site providing big-budget, marketing-tested, oh-so-serious films…and it is mercifully free of the skanky public access-quality fumbling which polluted some webcasting efforts. The athletes who flip and zip and somersault and (sometimes) crash provide a wild surplus of energy and enthusiasm, while the camerawork capturing these events is surprisingly polished and worthy of broadcast television sports programming.
SaS Films averages 300 hits a day during the peak winter sports season, which is admittedly on the smallish side but which is actually rather admirable considering the effort is aimed at a specific niche audience and it is being promoted primarily through word-of-mouth among diehard ski and snowboard fanatics. Summertime, obviously, witnesses a slowdown in web traffic and this past summer saw the SaS Films traffic disappear completely when the site’s Internet service provider abruptly pulled the plug.
Film Threat caught up with Neil Sotirakopoulous at school, where he is balancing his studies in Electronic Media Arts and Computer Science with his work as a webcasting entrepreneur…
Get the whole interview in part two of NEIL SOTIRAKOPOULOUS: A DIGITAL SNOW JOB>>>

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