25 June, 2009 | By Wendy Mitchell
Gigantic Group is launching a full-service “online exhibition venue” for first-run independent films, called Gigantic Digital Cinema.
Gigantic Releasing had been a distribution platform working with digital arm Gigantic Digital. The company already had released (theatrically and online) acclaimed documentary Must Read After My Death.
With today’s announcement, the company will concentrate on online exhibition instead of distribution.
This play on words puts the business on its head, in effect eliminating the line between exhibition and distribution. How smart because in fact that is the stumbling block when everyone says that today's distribution system is broke/ broken. It's because one sees distribution as the feed to exhibition and there are either too many non paying (digital) exhibition platforms or too few (called theaters). Distribution IS Exhibition when one is speaking digitally. Problem solved. The new synthesis of the dialectic conundrum.
The company will work with distributors, producers and film organizations to offer content to broadband users in the US, with publicity and marketing support.
The geographically targeted ad-free platform will offer films day-and-date with any theatrical releases.
How much will they cost to download and how will Gigantic get the word out? And will they all have theatrical releases?
The forthcoming lineup includes Jennifer Steinman’s documentary Motherland, from San Francisco-based Smush Media. The SXSW prize winner is about American women who lost their children and volunteer with orphans in South Africa. The film will open on Gigantic Digital Cinema on August 26.
I already do not know what this film is in terms of going to see it.
Industry veteran Mark Lipsky joined Brian Devine’s Gigantic Group in January 2008 as head of distribution arm Gigantic Releasing. Gigantic Digital kicked off earlier in 2009.
“As things stand now, financial and market pressures on bricks and mortar exhibitors have largely eliminated the possibility of a truly independent film finding its audience or building word of mouth,” Lipsky said. “Not only can we keep a film on screen indefinitely, but we can dramatically extend their reach into the marketplace and grow the audience in areas of the country that have never been exposed to indie films.”
“When we analyzed the success of our Must Read campaign,” Lipsky continued. “It became clear that we had something new and very substantial to offer the independent film community. A release through Gigantic Digital in the first-run window, whether exclusive of or in support of traditional bricks and mortar engagements, will add value to each succeeding layer of release including DVD, cable and satellite VOD, iTunes, etc. Gigantic Digital Cinema will give distributors and filmmakers added visibility, a much wider potential audience, and a new source of accretive revenue.”
With Mark Lipsky there thinking up a storm and up to speed in this fast new world, you can't go wrong. For those of you reading this, please make sure he sees this.
New York-based Gigantic Group also includes production arm Gigantic Pictures (Goodbye Solo), music studio and record label Gigantic Music and post-production facility Gigantic Studios.
And music too? See my other blog of today, Ruminations on Film London News Bulletin