Microsoft and BMW of North America have announced that they are working together to create the BMW Films Digital Cinema Series.

The series is a digital cinema programme that will feature full-length independent films to be projected digitally in commercial theatres nationwide throughout the coming year. In addition, "The Hire," the second series of bmwfilms.com short films, will be exhibited in theatres in conjunction with the full-length film presentations.

All the feature and short films will be screened in theatres using Microsoft Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series.

The BMW Films Digital Cinema Series begins Nov. 15, and its first feature-length film is Artisan Entertainment's "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." The music documentary tells the story of the Funk Brothers, the unheralded studio musicians who backed classic Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross and the Supremes. The series will be digitally projected in at least 25 theaters nationwide and will be paired with one of the new bmwfilms.com shorts in "The Hire" series.

"The Hire" Internet film series premiered in 2001 with original short films directed by five Hollywood directors. More than 13 million film views were registered last year on the digital-quality streaming video Web site bmwfilms.com for the first five films of the series directed by John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Ritchie and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.

"The Hire" returns with three new short films executive-produced by Ridley Scott and directed by John Woo, Joe Carnahan and Tony Scott. The constant in each short film is actor Clive Owen, the mysterious, unnamed driver-for-hire around whom all the films revolve. The film series can be seen online at http://www.bmwfilms.com/.