Apple continues work to widen the depth of film and video content it makes available through iTunes - and is working out new partnerships to circumnavigate resistance from major movie studios.

The International Herald Tribune has taken a hard look at Apple's video initiative. It notes that most major studios - excepting Disney - have been reticent to work with Apple on a film and television content download service.

Besides Disney, Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount now offer a limited number of film titles on iTunes. Apple has sold four million films in the US, despite the service offering under 1,000 titles.

But Apple plans to bypass the studios and is speaking directly to the film-makers.

The company recently began selling short films that received Academy Awards nominations last year. These short films cost $1.99 each, while full length films cost between $9.99 and $14.99.

The people who make these films receive approximately 55 per cent of revenues, the report indicates. While this hasn't been a major earner for them, it is something to defray the costs of independent film production, and has provided a way for film-makers to easily bring their work before the eyes of an audience beyond those who attend film festivals.

In another significant move, Apple will soon begin selling Edward Burn's romantic comedy, Purple Violets in the US. This film - which cost $4 million to make - never attracted suitable offers from major film distributors, meaning the film was destined for oblivion.

Burns turned to a direct deal with iTunes in order to get his work before the eyes of a larger audience. This is the first time a feature film has made its commercial debut on iTunes, notes the International Herald Tribune.

The film-maker and his partners hope that debuting the film in this way will generate more public interest than a few screenings in New York and Los Angeles.