BARCELONA Two of the biggest names in movies and music, Kevin Spacey and Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am, have thrown their weight behind mobile devices as a way to spread new content and interact with fans.
Double Oscar winner Spacey told Reuters in an interview he was supporting the MOFILM Film Festival which celebrates amateur and professional film making for movies that could play on mobile phones and last around five minutes long.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona, he said he became interested in the idea after launching his own Web site www.triggerstreet.com six years ago to give unknown film makers a place to show their work.
"MOFILM to me is another step in that ability for people all over the world who can now, with technology, make a movie, cut it on their computer, upload it and have an audience be able to see it," he said.
The 49-year-old, who won Academy Awards for supporting actor in "The Usual Suspects" and lead actor in "American Beauty," said any genre of short film played well on mobiles and that the idea was to give viewers access to content where and when they wanted it.
"Any time we try to put a parenthesis around something, with respect to artistic inspiration, somebody comes along and breaks the rules and before we know it, something we thought couldn't work will work," he said.
"What the record industry didn't learn is that you cannot deny giving the customer what they want, when they want it.
"So I think we have to be open to the fact that there is almost any genre (of film) that could possibly work (in short form on mobiles)."
Spacey, who is currently artistic director of the Old Vic Theater in London, said he also welcomed singer Will.i.am's involvement at the trade fair, as both men understood the importance of mobile in distributing content.
Leading actors and artists including Robert Redford and Isabella Rossellini have attended the mobile industry's largest annual gathering in recent years, to highlight the potential of converging entertainment and mobile.
Will.i.am, who is known for his career with the band Black Eyed Peas and his YouTube hit Barack Obama video "Yes We Can," has also embraced the mobile industry, working with the Blackberry maker Research In Motion RIM.TO to launch a mobile social network to communicate with his fans.
"I have this network called Dipdive," he told Reuters in a separate interview. "And my thing is called band to hand. Our fans should be connected to this. I should control distribution, not some guy at the record company who sends it to some guy at iTunes.
"So this here is the window to my creative life."
Will.i.am said he had launched the service to communicate with fans and release additional music, but he said he had also been forced to act because he could not see the music industry taking a lead.
"The trick to being relevant tomorrow is how do you make content engage with a community. This youth is so intelligent and they're dying to be inspired."
(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Hans Peters)