Party Girl (1995), directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, is notable as the first commercial comedy-drama feature film shown in its entirety on the Internet.
Scripted by Mayer with Harry Birckmayer and Sheila Gaffney, the storyline follows the misadventures of free-spirited Mary (Parker Posey) on her self-destructive path of drugs and parties. Arrested for illegally charging attendees at an underground rave, she calls upon her godmother, Judy Lindendorf (Sasha von Scherler), to bail her out. So Mary can repay the loan, Judy employs her as a clerk at the library where she works. Mary reluctantly begins her new job while striking up a romance with Lebanese street vendor Mustafa (Omar Townsend). The other men in her life are her gay friend Derrick (Anthony DeSando) and Leo (Guillermo Díaz), a DJ in clubs. Things begin to fall apart when she loses her library job and is evicted from her apartment. In the end, Mary decides to study to become a librarian herself but without compromising her own sense of style and happiness. Others in the cast are Donna Mitchell and Liev Schreiber.
The Internet premiere happened on June 3
, transmitted from Glenn Fleishman
's Point of Presence Company (POPCO). Appearing live in the POPCO offices, Parker Posey welcomed Internet viewers and then introduced the film. Fleishman recalled the event:
- I helped launch the first official full-length movie premiere in 1995 in my offices in Seattle. The film was broadcast to several hundred people worldwide over a Cuseeme reflector at Point of Presence Company's offices in downtown and then a few minutes, it was projected at The Egyptian in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Parker Posey was in our offices to hit the start button on the broadcast. I was one cog in a larger set of wheels that involved the Seattle International Film Festival, Film.com (now part of Real Networks), First Look Releasing, and the film's producers, as well as another online development company and a CUSeeMe consultant who also worked for the government down in Texas. The launch was shown on NBC Nightly News in a five-minute segment on the bottom of the Sunday broadcast that week.
Another account of that historic evening was posted three years later by Quinn "The Eskimo!":
- I met up with Lucy Mohl on my Grand American Tour of 1995. I had spent the previous three weeks trekking around the states and finally arrived, dazed and confused, in Seattle. I landed on the doorstep of Adam and Tonya Engst, creators of TidBITS, who put me up for the night. No sooner had I settled down when they informed me that we'd be out for the evening, visiting Glenn Fleishman, who had some strange event happening that night. We arrived at Glenn's offices to find the place jam packed with people, including a full TV crew! Anyway, we spent a very enjoyable evening there, totally failing to watch the first live broadcast of a film over the Internet (via CU-SeeMe) and instead spent most of the time talking to Lucy about her pet project, film.com.
A television show based on the film (with the same name) was produced in 1996. It starred Christine Taylor
as Mary and Swoosie Kurtz
as Judy. Although six episodes were filmed, only three were aired and the show was quickly cancelled.