Friday, July 31, 2009
Another most interesting comment is that the bridge between online exhibition and profits are the social networks. This is the key. The recent studies on social networking and participatory (pop) culture as formulated by Henry Jenkins, at USC this fall, and formerly Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, whose book Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide are now defining this new paradigm.
They are worth looking at unless you are one of the old school who is satisfied believing there is no money in online exhibition and who is going to continue flogging the old MG/ advance business model like the proverbial rat in the maze constantly seeking the cheese in the old model and never seeing a new lever been added. ...Sydney
Here's John's article from Screen Daily: I began selling films in 1999 - first for the British Film Institute and recently with my own independent sales company. During this time, I’ve heard repeatedly that “the future of film distribution is online”. But after 10 years, the returns remain stubbornly negligible with the promised future still two to three years away. “The industry has made money from audiences for whom a quality viewing experience matters” At markets such as Mipcom, I see start-up ventures whose enthusiasm for online streaming and downloading is never backed by a readiness to pay an advance. I’ve agreed a couple of revenue-sharing experiments which generated very little. I will engage with any business model that generates revenues, but will not waste time on things that do not.But I want to be ahead of the game so take an interest in developments, and my conclusion is that online distribution is problematic in terms of technology and ill-considered in terms of the target audience (Per Sydney: This is exactly where it can make money, if you successfully aggregate the audience). The debate is dominated by those with a vested interest in talking up their ventures while rubbishing the supposedly outdated models of the “traditional industry’, and is plagued by simplistic comparisons to the music industry. Content is dependent on the device on which it is exhibited, and music was revolutionised by the iPod. But no comparable device has emerged for feature films: the TV is still the principal home entertainment medium. By contrast, the main purpose of a computer has never been to view feature films and there’s no sign these two devices will converge - quite the opposite (SL He can't be serious about this technological "non" convergence. I just saw the hookup of the computer to the big TV screen and it works.). TV screens are becoming bigger to showcase high-concept movies or sport, while computers are as compact and portable as possible. Moving content from online to the TV screen is a clumsy process, that involves burning a download to DVD or adding yet another decoder box to the mass of wires dangling from the TV set. Broadband speeds remain a problem: 1Mbps to 2Mbps bandwidth means a four or five-hour wait to download a film, so clearly customers are not getting what they want, when they want it. UK telecoms company BT found in its research that broadband subscribers were not prepared to pay for an upgrade to superfast broadband to improve video quality. The Digital Britain report suggested this is paid for by a levy on landlines, which seems unlikely to be adopted in the current economic climate.Clearly feature films are being downloaded in significant numbers but I don’t think downloaders are worried about its often inferior quality and are happy to wait four or five hours if they can get something for free. (SL: They'll pay for superior quality streaming from their computer onto whatever big TV screen they have.) There has always been a sizeable portion of viewers who are not going to pay for a film, whether because they cannot afford it or they just aren’t interested enough. The industry could end up chasing after people from whom it’s never likely to make money. I’ve seen DVDs of classics new and old being enthusiastically embraced by aficionados attracted to newly remastered editions with bonus interviews and so on. It’s difficult to see the attraction of downloads when these attributes are largely absent.The industry has made money from audiences for whom a quality viewing experience matters. People will choose to drink more expensive coffee at Starbucks rather than a cheaper product at McDonald’s, and by the same token will want to see films in the best possible presentation.Times may change, but right now online is just not delivering revenue for my company or the producers I represent. Films distributed via on-demand Jackass 2.5 was the first major studio film to bypass cinemas and take the online distribution route when it was released by Paramount Digital Entertainment and MTV on Movielink (owned by Blockbuster) in the US in December 2007. Odeon and Sky formed joint distribution company Odeon and Sky Filmworks in 2007, releasing Jennifer Lynch’s Surveillance and Alex de la Iglesia’s The Oxford Murders theatrically before making them available to Sky viewers through its download service. Curzon Artificial Eye and Sky Television released Julia, starring Tilda Swinton, in cinemas, on Sky Box Office, and on transactional VoD via Sky Player in December 2008. This followed Fatih Akin’s The Edge Of Heaven, which was also released simultaneously in cinemas and on SBO in February 2008. UK distributor Revolver Entertainment released Steve Sheil’s Mum And Dad simultaneously on VoD, DVD and theatrically in December 2008.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Craig Emanuel at Sundance Summit: 'Now is the time to act boldly and wisely' - indieWIRE: "For too long, agents have demanded too much money for their clients; financiers have charged egregious interest rates on loans; distributors have charged ridiculous distribution fees and not committed enough money to print and advertising costs; lawyers have bogged down the negotiation process; directors have forgotten when to say “Cut!”; actors have failed to memorize their lines; and yes, even you, the producers, have continually tried to get made unproduceable “dribble” that has no commercial value whatsoever yet you continue to ask 'Why will no one finance my picture'?"
"People produced films they knew would never be sold and all the while critical reform and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day. Well that day of reckoning has arrived and the time to take charge of our future is here."
Craig's speech was cute. But it offers no remedies for the future. As much as I like Craig Emanuel -- and I do very much. He is one of the leading good guy attorneys in the film business, a true film lover, and a real mensch -- this reminder of his 6% of separation from President Kennedy leaves me uninspired. I would rather have read the points of discussion among Liesl Copland (WME), Micah Green (CAA), Winnie Lau (Fortissimo), Tia Lessin (Documentary Director/producer), Mary Jane Skalski (Producer) and Jonathan Sehring (IFC Entertainment).
I think Paul Schrader addressed the real issue in his speech at The Cinema Militans Lecture of the Dutch Film Days Foundation in 1992:
"It's time to take the longer view. Movies are almost 100 years old. Movies were born of this century and the century is coming to an end. Just because film has been the popular art form of this century doesn't mean it will be of the next century. It doesn't even mean it will exist in the next century.
Discussions about the problems of contemporary film tend to slip on the slope of the unstated assumption that the film's 'problems' began yesterday and can be solved tomorrow. The opposite is true. The problems that film faces today were present from the very beginning of the art form.
History repeats and loops around itself and at times it appears there's nothing new under the sun. Everything new is old. There are, however, two tendencies that stand apart: two linear, chronological lines running from the beginning of recorded history to the present. One is technology, the other democracy. They are progressive, not cyclical, and are the yardsticks by which art, religion and social conduct can be measured...
...Individual empowerment and technological progress are not exactly isolated trends. They are handmaidens. They assist and feed each other. Individual curiosity spurs technological progress, technology empowers the individual...
...This is where cinema enters the room...
...The future of film is coming into focus. Digital technology not only redefines movies but also the very idea of an image. We were born in an analog era, we will die in a digital one...Digital transmission of images may itself be a half-way house. In the future audiovisual images may be transmitted biochemically. Does this sound threatening? I hope so. That's the challenge...
...If you think technology is threatening, take a look at democracy..."
Now I can look forward to the future without fear! Thank you Paul Schrader.
But really the lecture ends on a hopeful note. Do you want to know the ending? If anyone wants the full copy of this lecture, let me know, or contact Dutch Film Days Foundation fax+31 30 313 200.
There are two industries at work and the one making the most money is the one working for the yankee dollar...but beyond filmmaking as an industry, there is filmmaking as a lure to tourism, something New Zealand experienced after Lord of the Ring and something Brazil is keen to create...Simon Perry brings this into his argument about keeping the Irish Film Board alive...Sydney
Anonymous 29-Jul-2009 9:04 pm: The three comments below and the article A Tale of Two Industries could also be applied to the Irish Film Industry and the Irish Film Board who claim in the their recent press release that 6000 people work in film and TV. Its about half that and 60% of them dont work much so its all pie in the sky really. Plus budgets are going down and rates are out the window so back to beans on toast again. Hollywood has ruined the Irish Film Industry and left never to return..... Thats Americans for you.
Comment by Anonymous: Good to see that; at last someone has caught on to the Film Council's annual 'wheeze' to keep their quango going. Well observed.While they continue to promote the idea that there is 'no problem' the endemic and perennial problems of the indigenous film industry will continue to grow and suffocate any possibilities of progress.
Comment by brandon footfarmer 29-Jul-2009 11:08 am
It's perhaps time to stop calling it an 'industry' - so few British protagonists seem to view it as such that it hardly fulfills definition. There is nothing wrong with cultural and artistic aspirations, but just nailing them to unrealistic financial expectations seems bound to create a hybrid that fails both. Independent UK producers generally don't seem to comprehend the nature of an 'industry' but are trying to raise money for their creative output - rather than seeing it as how much they can sell a product for.. I know this sits uncomfortably with many but that seems to be the 'industry' model.
Anonymous 31-Jul-2009 12:18 pm
It's very refreshing to see a well thought out piece that provides a key analysis of important dichomites in the UK industry.Having decimated the UK independent sector with the demise of section 48, international co-production and indigenous production - everyone is up in arms at what we are going to do now that there is no more Harry Potter.Perhaps if the legislation and the quangoes were there to serve the taxpaying independent production houses of the UK rather than support the global cultural and economic domination of the US studios + publicy owned UK facilities the UK might have a sustainable film industry not this constant boom and bust nonsense.
Here is the article on the Irish Film Board from Screen Daily:
Ireland's department of finance has recommended shaving €37 million (or $52.6 million) from arts and culture funding, which includes ending the Irish Film Board. IFB chief Simon Perry has noted that the Irish media sector has boomed over the last couple decades, creating thousands of jobs. He says: "Closure of the Irish Film Board would mean that the production of Irish films will stop completely," which will not only end the industry, but hurt tourism as he claims nearly 50% of tourists visit Ireland after seeing it in a film -- a pretty fair estimate I'd say, given the number of people who drool when they see the country on the big screen.
The IFB was closed before, in 1987, but was re-established after a number of big-buzz Irish films found funding outside the country -- My Left Foot, The Crying Game, The Commitments. In recent years, however, you might remember the endearing and unforgettable Once, which was funded by the board.
With arthouse cinema going away, film festivals may soon be in the business of helping launch movies direct-to-vod, rather than towards a theatrical release.
That vision emerged Friday as major festival leaders gathered at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto to debate what's next for them in an evolving digital media landscape.
Geoffrey Gilmore, the newly installed chief creative officer at Tribeca Enterprises, said festivals have to evolve as indie films are increasingly financed and distributed differently than in the past.
Gilmore added the festival of the future will still be a ground event to engage and educate local audiences, but also likely exist in cyberspace and as a market.
“Rather than have the theatrical drive digital, it’s digital that drives theatrical,” Gilmore said of the growing importance of iTunes and the digital cable set-top box in increasingly driving audiences to indie film.
From IndieWire: The Los Angeles Times reported last night that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will be pulling the plug on its renowned weekend film program, which has been running for four decades. The program, which has screened retrospectives on everyone from Cary Grant to Roman Polanski to Ernst Lubitsch, as well as collections of foreign and arthouse films, has lost apparently lost $1 million over the past 10 years.
The museum said that “it was not abandoning its commitment to films and filmmakers” but instead “wanted to rethink its approach to the art form, and would look for potential donors to underwrite an unspecified future film program that is curated like any other part of the museum’s exhibits.”
“It’s not that people don’t love film here, but it’s hard,” Michael Govan, the museum’s director, told the LA Times. “We are getting diminishing audiences. This is a good time since we are shrinking to spend time thinking and rethinking. We do have to stem our losses.”
Anne Thompson reacted to the news on her blog by noting that “LACMA said the program lost $1 million over the last ten years and had failed to build an audience. Sorry, I thought the room was usually packed when I attended. I loved the programming, but it was arcane and eclectic, as a museum’s should be, not designed to ‘build an audience'.”
LA Weekly‘s Tom Christie sat down with both Govan and Ian Birnie - LACMA’s film department head of the last 13 years, now demoted from full-time employee to a part-time consultant - for an extensive interview. “We really need to raise the bar,” Govan told him. “Film is a fundamental art and it should be a core curatorial program, equal to all other programs. This museum has a lot of competing needs and it’s hard to get everyone’s attention, especially when it’s business as usual. It’s not business as usual. Let’s be clear: We are going to have a reset.”
Govan suggested to the LA Times that there could be some new film programming next spring, and during the interim LACMA’s film offerings would be limited to “special programs related to exhibitions.” The last weekend screening, “The Classic Films of Alain Resnais,” will be held Oct. 2 to 17.
The inaugural 2009 Festival in Qatar has named Amanda Palmer, head of entertainment for Al Jazeera English to the position of Executive Director. In leading the festival, she will work with a team from Tribeca that includes Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises, to shape the program. The local team will include Arab documentary and short films expert Mohamed Maklouf as the festival’s Regional Programs Advisor, and Palestinian filmmaker Scandar Copti as Community Outreach Programmer.
Doha Tribeca Film Festival will run October 29 to November 1, 2009 and is being produced by Qatar Museums Authority in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival. The fest is intended to showcase the “best of the local Qatari community” as well as “the broader Arab culture.”
Gilmore joined Tribeca Enterprises back in February, after leaving a 19 year position at the Sundance Film Festival. At the time, Gilmore told indieWIRE he was joining the organization to “be involved in setting up a new paradigm, exploring the ways that festivals become platforms for new enterprises.”
DTFF will include approximately 30 films, as well as special events. In its four days in Doha, DTFF will center its events around the city’s Museum of Islamic Art.
Film Festival’s Web Site is Hacked to Protest Invitation to Uighur Advocate
By Dave Itzkoff
The Web site of the Melbourne International Film Festival was defaced by hackers who were protesting a planned appearance at the festival by an advocate for the Uighur ethnic group in China, The Associated Press reported. Rebiya Kadeer, a former businesswoman and an advocate for the Uighurs, is scheduled to attend the film festival on Aug. 8. The Chinese government has blamed her for inciting violence this month between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese, though Ms. Kadeer, who lives in exile in the United States, has denied any involvement. On Saturday, hackers posted a Chinese flag on the festival’s Web site for about 45 minutes, along with messages that demanded that organizers apologize for including Ms. Kadeer and a documentary about her life in the festival program. The A.P. said there were no disturbances at the premiere of the documentary, “10 Conditions of Love,” on Sunday night.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Lucky Red brings Swedish title A Rational Solution (Det Enda Rationella) by Jorgen Bergmark.
Domaine, directed by Patric Chiha , France
Good Morning Aman - to be distributed by Cinecitta Luce , Italy
Like Scampi (Kakraki) by Ilya Demichev, Russia
Wolves (Listicky) aka Little Foxes by Mira Fornay, Czech Republic-Ireland
Tehroun by Nader T Homayoun, Iran-France
Café Noir is the sole Asian title from Korea - directed by film critic Jung Sung-il
What are the festivals doing to go beyond their traditional showcasing of films not otherwise available to their public and bringing in celebrities and filmmakers to talk to their public?
And is there any congruence between digital exhibition and the festivals?
Rose Kuo at AFIFest is now a year round programmer and told us that this year's festival (Oct 30-Nov 7) will have fewer films and all will be free entry! They're looking at sponsors to underwrite costs and of course they'll be given priority passes, VIP treatment, etc.
This year, in recognition of Audi’s 100 years of automotive innovation, AFI and Audi will offer complimentary tickets to all screenings, including a limited number of seats at the evening screenings and Galas, including Opening and Closing Night. The festival will be headquartered at the historic Mann’s Chinese Theatre until November 5th when it will move to the seaside for screenings in Santa Monica presented in association with the American Film Market (AFM). The Hollywood Roosevelt returns as the festival’s host hotel.
Berlin is aggregating its non Berlinale festivals into a consortium for cross promoting etc. its many many festivals held throughout the year. Could this work with other metropolitan areas like L.A. and could a partnership of sorts take place between such cities?
Perhaps Christian Gaines at Withoutabox could speak to new developments taking place among festivals. Maybe a reader will tell him to come here and post his opinion. Otherwise, I'll go to him in the upcoming weeks.
Is Tribeca actively creating a visionary sea change? What of their relationship to the Lincoln Film Society?
What about online components of film festivals?
Toronto International Film Festival hosts panels as part of a series for Industry Programmes called "Meet With..." which has been running for the past 8 years (also formerly known as "News and Views"). Designed as an extended discussion between industry insiders and attending delegates, each one-hour Meet With.. session is held in an intimate, relaxed setting for a limited audience of maximum 45 emerging film professionals.
And so, please keep tuned to this channel...Sydney
I am now going to expand the focus of this blog to include festivals and their search to invigorate themselves and more importantly to assist the filmmakers in the ever present issue of recouping the costs of production. What are the festivals doing which is going beyond their traditional showcasing of films not otherwise available to their public and bringing in celebrities and filmmakers to talk to their public?
And is there any congruence between digital exhibition and the festivals? ...Sydney
Sunday, July 26, 2009
by Eric Kohn (July 16, 2009)
SnagFilms's new summer one series will stream documentaries that have not been released theatrically or on television. Snag has also launched its new homepage, marking the completion of its “beta” phase, and the company revealed new partnerships with the Sundance Channel and Comcast’s online portal, Fancast.
“SnagFilms Summerfest,” begins on July 24 with the U.S. premiere of “The Entrepreneur", documentarian Jonathan Bricklin’s portrait of his father, legendary automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin. The movie, executive produced by “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock, had its world premiere at Hot Docs earlier this year. It will remain available on SnagFilms and the company’s distribution network (including AOL, Hulu and the recent addition of Comcast’s Fancast) for one week, followed by other titles to be announced at a later date.
Since officially launching on July 17, 2008, SnagFilms has garnered over one billion page views for its film widgets, which can be embedded on a website or blog. The expansive online audience puts the company, with its library of over 840 titles and counting—double the amount it contained twelve months ago—in a position of bringing documentaries to larger audiences than many of them would normally reach via traditional distribution models.
According to SnagFilms CEO Rick Allen, the popularity of the site reflects an ongoing change in the way people process media over the internet. “Movie fans were just beginning to watch films online a year ago, and mostly they watched short, amateur clips,” he said yesterday. “Now, a huge portion of the public enjoys long-form, award-winning professional content on their computers.”
SnagFilms’s redesigned site indicates an attempt to reflect user demands for greater interactivity. A feature called “Movie Matcher” presents various disconnected words or phrases that can be combined as key words, yielding movie recommendations tailored to individual preferences. The new site also contains “Just Viewed,” “Snagged Today” and “Most Popular this Month” features — obvious attempts to drive the popularity of the library’s contents, which will grow significantly in the coming weeks.
Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” which was the most popular documentary on SnagFilms during the first year, receives its own special place in a new widget entitled “SnagFilms Presents – The Best of Year One,” available now. The widget contains other well-received titles from SnagFilm’s library, including “Confessions of a Superhero,” which follows actors on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame dressed up as comic book characters, and “Darkon,” the remarkably bleak and revealing portrait of adult fantasy role-playing that served as inspiration for David Wain’s studio comedy “Role Models.”
The widget also features Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s “The End of America,” an adaptation of Naomi Wolf’s non-fiction tome, and the fraternity exposé “Haze.” Both films were part of a unique release strategy last fall in which they simultaneously premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival and on SnagFilms.
In addition to such unorthodox distribution experiments, SnagFilms has cultivated a number of partnerships with other entities in the film community and beyond it. In March, the company brought parts of its library to Hulu; April found it entering into Founders’ Alliances with Hot Docs, Outfest and Full Frame, bringing documentaries from the festival circuit to broader audiences; in May, it joined forces with IMDb and YouTube. Now, the company has announced that Fancast will begin carrying titles from SnagFilms’s library this week, and that it will distribute documentaries provided by the Sundance Channel.
Allen emphasized that SnagFilms aims to maximize audiences for three types of films: Traditionally released features, undistributed features and those with immediate relevance (such as “End of America,” with its election season hook) that require an expedited release schedule. In every case, the financial logistics remain more or less the same. “We’re creating a dual revenue stream,” Allen explained, “sharing ad revenue, and converting casual viewers directly into DVD and other e-commerce buyers.”
Allen said the rate of change involved in online developments — reflected in the massive reception of SnagFilms’s widgets, one billion pageviews strong — continually takes him by surprise. “I have been running web businesses as part of bigger media companies for more than a decade, but it’s really accelerating,” he said. “We’ll grow by making it even easier for a worldwide audience to find, watch and share films, and to become more active global citizens.”
Highlighting the notion of “filmanthropy” invented by SnagFilms founder Ted Leonsis as the guiding ethos of the company, Allen sounded a note of optimism about the future. “By next year,” he predicted, “everybody will be snagging.”
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Six new feature films have been unveiled by digital content agency Cinetic Rights Management and broadband portal Babelgum, continuing a pact unveiled in January between the two companies offering one exclusive title for each month of 2009. The next selection of titles began last week with James Hausler’s crime thriller “Wild Seven” starring Robert Forster, Robert Loggia, and Richard Roundtree. Also set to make their online and mobile debuts via Babelgum are crime thriller “Jack Says” by Bob Phillips; sports documentary “On Hallowed Ground” by Kern and Kip Konwiser; foreign-language drama “Scrambled Beer” by Cristobal Valderrama; “Tao of the Golden Mask,” a kung fu comedy directed by Faizon Love (“Couples Retreat”) and “The Assassin” by Devin Haqq.
In addition, CRM recently announced a deal with Babelgum centered around the mobile and online streaming of Sally Potter’s new film “Rage" which depubs on Babelgum in September.
CRM’s head of programming is Matt Dentler. Babelgum’s heads are Karol-Martesko Fenster and Andreas Lemos.
Here are some noteworthy links he posted on Facebook for those following the online streaming arc. Thank you Peter.
Peter L. Kaufman Hulu will be "history in three years" NAPTE's Rick Feldman tells Beet.TV [video] http://bit.ly/16uhDf (via @loudpics @Beet_TV @Gennefer)
Peter L. Kaufman Disney eyes pay Website: Service would offer movies, TV shows, games @ http://bit.ly/CClnP
Most specialty distribributors have become accustomed to prebuying, cofinancing or acquiring completed films out of festivals, so this pre-festival-season worldwide acquisition marks a sea change.
Anne Thompson's blog Thompson on Hollywood goes on to elaborate: Searchlight is not alone in seeing more submitted films ahead of fests, now that a North American sale is far from guaranteed. In this case, the main reason for a distrib to pick up a movie like this: an Oscar play for Jeff Bridges. If that were the case the movie would be booked at Telluride or Toronto, which both wanted it. But Searchlight is heading for 2010 release. That's because yes, they do want to put Bridges in play. But they also want to tweak and cut the film--and not show it at festivals until it's polished. The old strategy of throwing a swiftly edited film into a fest and seeing what happens is foolish. People are more wary of taking those chances. "People are more likely to take a bird in had than wait for the bird in the bush," says one studio acquisitions exec. "They may not get one."
The foreign market isn't what it was, and neither is the domestic. Financeers want to make sure they get domestic distribution. That's the only way they'll get their money back.
The good news for Crazy Heart: with engaging stars and an accessible country soundtrack, the movie has commercial potential between the coasts, which makes Searchlight the distrib best-positioned to take that advantage.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The Beginner's Guide to Viral Marketing (Episode 5 of 5)
By Saskia Wilson-Brown, originally for Current TV
Congratulations! You have succeeded in making a video, and have successfully uploaded it to one of many fine online video hosting sites. That, for some of us, may feel like an achievement in itself. But let’s get real for a second: So what? It only counts if people see it. Be it a short documentary, an indie animation, a video blog or even a slide show of your niece’s 3rd birthday party (and we sincerely hope it’s not the latter), there are tons of ways that you can maximize your audience and help turn your video into a viral hit. This is a 5-part weekly blog series that will provide an introduction on how to best get eyeballs to your content. Simple.
Episode 5 follows. Catch other episodes here:
FINAL BLOG: MY FAVORITE RESOURCES FOR FILMMAKERS
Cogs of the viral machine: Designed to help the most popular websites bubble up to people’s attention, these sites all allow you to add some weight to your selected webpage, and purport to reflect what the world is looking at, online. There are literally hundreds of them, but here are the best.
Stumble Upon: http://www.stubleupon.com/
Social Networking sites: Go make some friends, and promote yourself, too! Don’t be obnoxious, remember people are not keen on being marketed to. They are keen, however, on making friends with cool people who happen to have amazing projects.
Video hosting sites: There are, like social networking sites, a ton of these. Here are the ones most commonly used, and which also contain a heavy community influence.
Learn some basics of HTML: These basics and tutorials will only come in handy.
Press releases: Handy resources for writing press releases.
Self-Distribution/community: Learn tips from filmmakers and distribution experts for how to best get your content out into the world.
IndieGoGo: Meet with hordes of film fans, audiences and makers alike. http://www.indiegogo.com/
Swarm of Angels: A groundbreaking project to create a £1 million film and give it away to over 1 million people using the Internet and a global community of members. http://aswarmofangels.com/
Workbook Project: A handy how-to on self-distribution from Lance Weiler and friends, with a theatrical mapping project and amazing DIY distribution and marketing tips. http://www.workbookproject.com//
Shooting People: Jobs, resources, calendar and discussion for crew and actors. http://www.shootingpeople.com/
B-Side: B-side is the home for independent festival films, and the millions of fans who love them. http://www.bside.com/
Withoutabox.com: Everything for the independent filmmaker, from social networking to message boards. Be sure to post about your video in their very active message boards section. http://www.withoutbox.com/
Film Festival Secrets: From B-Sider and festival expert Chris Holland. If you subscribe, you get a PDF of copy of his book, which is basically the best run-down of the contemporary festival scene. http://filmfestivalsecrets.blogspot.com/
Filmmaker Magazine: Keep an eye out for guest columnist Jon Reiss about his self-distribution initiatives. http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/
Youtube Screening Room: The section on Youtube that highlights some of the best independent films being made and distributed online. http://www.youtube.com/user/ytscreeningroom
IndieFlix: Dedicated to providing a forum for filmmakers and their audience to interact, and to building a community that translates artistic vision into commercial success. They sell films online through DVD orders or streaming. http://www.indieflix.com/
Spout: Movie reviews, ratings, details, synopsis, summary and new movie trailers. Discuss films in the movie groups & use the tools to get your work out there. http://www.spout.com/
Fundraising: Goes without saying that to make a film, you often need some cash. Micro-funding from friends and family often is a wonderful first step, and some of these sites provide widgets and other tools to blanket the web.
IndieGoGo: Finance your project with micro-payments from your friends and contacts. Sheer brilliance. http://www.indiegogo.com/
Pledgie.com: Sign in with your twitter account, set specific goals, spread the word. Remarkably simple, but you’re on your own with getting the word out.
Need to be inspired? Google these people and learn from the pros.
Arin Crumley & Susan Buice
M Dot Strange
GO GET’EM TIGER.
The New York City native graduated with honors from Stanford and began his show business career with Stanford graduate Roger Corman, where he began working in distribution.
Steven was always an L.A. presence and he will be missed by all of us in the business. Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
Last week, Chinese officials in Melbourne also tried to cancel the world premiere of the Australian documentary regarding the plight of ethic minority Uighurs in China, "The 10 Conditions of Love".
The festival director Richard Moore told the media that MIFF is an independent arts forum for different perspectives and it would not bend to political pressure. "The 10 Conditions of Love" has sold out and an additional session has been scheduled.
Parenthetically, film is under seige from other quarters as well. The Irish Film Board may loose its funding in the face of the financial crises and the Italians are protesting cuts in their funding by their government as well.
Bad News! Saudi Arabia's cancellation of the fourth Jeddah Film Festival according to Variety July 20, 2009 "may be a victory for hardliners in the conservative kingdom who have become increasingly worried about the gradual relaxing of cinema laws in the country. " Variety's account of the history of clerics' banning cinema is fascinating and worth reading as are many other postings you will find by googling the festival.
Once again art is being perceived as subversive and in being banned in the name of Authority, filmmakers have cause to be proud of their contributions. The subversive quality of art raises film to level above crass commercialism. It is indeed a public art and therefore worth suppressing in the name of Authoritarism. In Iran the censors must OK the film but at least cinema is embedded within the culture of the society, same with China, two ancient and beautiful civilizations known for their rich contributions to the world.
http://www.afi.com/ will link to AFI's YouTube page and will will feature hundreds of videos from the AFI's 42 years. Going to their site gives you access to YouTube and all the choices available. Only failing is YouTube steams shorts and not features and the pictures are always grainy looking.
This is a great poor man's solution to building a website, showing one's films and linking to other relevant sites such as Amazon Video on Demand or Create Space, or which ever 150 digital platforms or other sites the filmmaker chooses.
We should create an award for the best of these sites. Any suggestions, please send them to me at Sydney@SydneysBuzz.com
The marketing strategy is the issue needing to be addressed. Two new books deal very astutely with this:
THE NEW RULES OF MARKETING & PR by David Meerman Scott and FANS, FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS: BUILDING AN AUDIENCE AND A CREATIVE CAREER IN THE DIGITAL AGE by Scott Kirsner. I highly recommend the first one and the second is highly recommended by a fan Jason Kohl who will soon be at UCLA Film School after his Fulbright studies in Germany and working with a Berlin production company. (Let's see who reads and responds to this:).
These books offer solutions to how to enter today's digital media world. Brilliant!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Blogs That Will Review Undistributed Films v1.0 List: Blogs That Will Review Undistributed Films v1.0
As of July 15.2009 All of these blogs got recommended to me as being open to reviewing unreleased film.I have placed the name of the individual who recommended next to the blog.
http://brendonbouzard.com/blog/ Brendon Bouzard
http://cinemaechochamber.blogspot.com/ Brandon Harris
http://wwww.cinematical.com Tze Chun
http://www.cinevegas.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://d2dvd.blogspot.com/ Bill Cunningham action,horror, pulp,sci-fi, thriller
http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/ Christophe Lepage
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com Tze Chun
http://www.hammertonail.com/ Ted Hope
http://iradeutchman.com Christophe Lepage
http:/www.ironweedfilms.com Christophe Lepage
http://www.nerve.com/CS/blogs/screengrab/default.aspx Christophe Lepage
http://www.notcoming.com Tze Chun
http://www.sf360.org/blogs Christophe Lepage
http://www.spout.com Tze Chun & Christophe Lepage
http://twitchfilm.net/site/ Tze Chun
http://videocrity.blogspot.com/ Dave Nuttycombe
PLEASE NOTE: I have not confirmed this acceptance policy with any of the sites. Please confirm on your own and let me know. – Ted Hope from Facebook
This will be an ongoing to-be-revised list. Check back for updates.
– Ted Hope from Facebook
In Quebec July 14 Father And Guns outdraws Bruno in Quebec (De Père En Flic) was the top film at the province’s box office over the weekend, earning an astounding $1.6m (C$1.8m). The sum was more than the combined grosses of the four other top five titles: Brüno, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs, Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and Public Enemies.
In Japan July 14 the big screen TV adaptation Gokusen: The Movie earned $5.27m (Y489.5m) from 402,440 admissions on its opening weekend in Japan, beating out Hollywood newcomers Knowing and Monsters Vs. Aliens.
In Spain, gross-out comedy Fuga de cerebros was the bestselling local pic so far in 2009, with 1.1 million admissions." Their entire box office figures are up for the first time in five years. I wonder if this local film beat out any U.S. films playing at the same time and if it did, which were they and how long did the winning streak for local box office continue?
In Korea box office is also finally up again and Korean films are playing strong with a record $375.7 million in the first half of 2009, according to a report by the Korean Film Council (Kofic).
Star Kim Yoon-suk's comedy Running Turtle has held in second place in its fourth weekend, cuming $13 million. U.S. films took 45% of the market, with local films close behind at 44.7%. Seven local films ranked in the top 10, including "My Girlfriend Is an Agent" at No. 2 ($20.78 million), "Scandal Makers" at No. 3 ($19.88 million), "A Frozen Flower" at No. 5 ($17.72 million), "Mother" at No. 6 ($15.46 million), "Old Partner" at No. 7 ($15 million), "Thirst" at No. 9 ($11.73 million) and "Running Turtle" at No.10 ($10.76 million)
In terms of the distributor rankings, CJ Entertainment topped the list with a 25% market share from "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" "Mother" and "Thirst," among others.
Lotte Entertainment came second for the first time, with a 20.4% market share due to "Terminator Salvation" "My Girlfriend Is an Agent" and "Scandal Makers."
Showbox Mediaplex ranked third with a 15% market share from "A Frozen Flower" "Red Cliff Part 2" and "Running Turtle."
In Brazil June 23 Brazilian romantic comedy A Mulher Invisível beats Terminator into second place in Brazil .
Thursday, July 9, 2009
From NY Times Bits Blog:July 8, 2009, 8:48 am — Updated: 4:16 pm -->
Why Hulu Succeeded as Other Video Sites Failed
By Saul Hansell
Many people watch free, advertising-supported episodes of shows on sites like Hulu.
Why were so many people in the technology world wrong about Hulu? It was an idea that seemed like a relic of the worst excesses of the dot-com era: a portal for content run by a joint venture of media companies. Could any venture have more going against it?
Portals, of course, are passé in a world where search engines point people to content spread all over the Web. Who needs professional content when users make their own? And if there is anything more clueless than a big media company, the Silicon Valley wisdom goes, it is a joint venture of several media companies bound to undercut one another with crossed agendas.
Yet Hulu, founded in March 2007, is triumphant when most other video sites have languished.
Most recently, Joost has retrenched and its chief executive, Mike Volpi, has left that spot to join Index Ventures, one of the company’s backers. Joost was notable mainly for the pedigree of its founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, who have been known to upend traditional industries. Their free Kazaa file-sharing service continued the work of Napster in undercutting the $15 price for CDs. And Skype, the Internet phone service, continues to cause trouble for the cartel of phone companies and governments that keep international phone rates high.
In television, however, the empire struck back. Here are a few reasons Hulu has been successful where others failed:
Putting Network TV on the Internet Is Not Disruptive
The business model of TV networks is free programs paid for by ads. There is nothing technically or financially revolutionary about putting shows on the Internet. And thus the networks didn’t have a weak spot that could be exploited by a newcomer, as Kazaa and Skype did in their industries. Joost hoped that a twist on Kazaa’s peer-to-peer technology would reduce the transmission costs of Internet video, but the price of bandwidth has fallen so much that this didn’t provide any edge. Ultimately, the networks had all the power to decide which sites could distribute their programs. While CBS chose to spread its content widely, there was nothing that forced NBC and Fox to license their content beyond Hulu, cutting out Joost and the others.
People like professional video and see it differently than user-contributed video
It seems odd to say, but “American Idol,” “Heroes” and the rest of the prime-time lineup have many millions of fans who don’t get the same satisfaction from YouTube (even though many of them turn to YouTube for other entertainment). So not only did Hulu have something people wanted, it had a brand promise that was clear and distinctive: Hulu is where you go for network TV. That’s different from YouTube, which is where you go to watch the biggest collection of video that isn’t on TV. Hulu, in effect, is Amazon.com to YouTube’s eBay.
Meanwhile, the brands of all the other video sites — Joost, Veoh, and so on — didn’t mean anything in particular at all. It certainly helped Hulu cement its position as the icon for professional content that the company built a particularly attractive and easy-to-use site. But I think being first with a critical mass of content and the right brand position was more important.
Portals are a low-margin business
Hulu has proved that there is value in having a portal for video. People go there as well as to NBC.com and Fox.com. That’s why Disney has decided to bring ABC into the venture. But that value is modest compared to the power of the companies that actually create the programming. If a company like Hulu demanded too much of a cut of the ad revenue, a network certainly could pull its programs off and its audience would still only be one click away. That’s why it makes sense for Hulu to be owned by the main networks it distributes. It can help its owners mainly by making it easier for them to find viewers and only secondarily making a profit. Joost and the rest needed to make money, and enough of it to satisfy venture capital investors, by negotiating a large enough share of the ad revenue with the networks.
All this makes me believe that Hulu is an exception that proves the rule. Running a portal is a very tough business and unless you have exclusive access to very valuable content, along with a distinctive brand premise, you are not going to be able to make much money with one.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
From Screen Digital:
The Orchard strikes digital distribution partnership with National Lampoon
Dark Sky plans midnight theatrical events for Deadgirl
Oscilloscope signs digital deal with Warner Bros
Universal's PictureBox VOD service to launch on Virgin Media
Warners Bros and 3 Italia launch on-demand mobile movie service
L.A.-based film vet Peter Marai (who goes back to Media Home Entertainment days) has created a new Buenos Aires-based arthouse distributor, Mirada Distribution.
The first release from Mirada is Andrzej Wajda's "Katyn", which Marai bought from Germany's Betafilm. Pic will open in July.
Marai aims to bow 10-12 films a year, releasing them in Buenos Aires through Marcelo Morales' Arteplex 10-screen arthouse chain.
Other early buys include Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "Distant" and "Three Monkeys", both from France's Pyramide; the Match Factory's "Grbavica," and the Steve Buscemi-Sienna Miller 's "Interview" from Cinemavault.
In early Cannes trading, Marai also acquired Edgar Keret's "Jellyfish" and Karin Albou's "La Petite Jerusalem".
Mirada's launch comes as arthouse audiences are contracting in some territories, such as Spain. Other territories, such as France and the U.K., are seeing a release glut.
In Argentina, however, there are still market opportunities, Marai maintained. Argentina has a large tradition of arthouse cinema and thousands of film students. Other Argentine indies -- Alpha, Primer Plano, 791 Cine, Pachamama, Impacto -- tend to spread buys across a range of films. Mirada will be more of a straight-arrow buyer of art pics and new discoveries, Marai said. Mirada will buy all rights to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and sometimes Chile.
In fairness to the new VOD streaming efforts, I must mention Cinetic, constantly reinventing itself to get its toehold in the digital world and so I lifted Anne Thompson's blog:
More and more, movies that ordinarily would get a theatrical release are taking the direct train to VOD. In this instance, writer-director Michael Almereyda's New Orleans Mon Amour, which was filmed in post-Katrina New Orleans with real folks as well as a few good actors, played the 2008 fest circuit, including SXSW. Now the hurricane recovery drama (which conjures up the post-atomic classic Hiroshima Mon Amour) will make its debut July 15 on Cable VOD via the new channel Cinetic Film Buff, followed by portals iTunes and Amazon VOD.
Question: How do I find Cinetic Film Buff? How much does it cost? How is it being marketed?
Ex-SXSW programmer Matt Dentler plans to release five new or library films via Cinetic Film Buff every month, reported Mike Jones at CineVegas.
Cinetic is in talks with several distribs to mine their libraries for VOD release, including the troubled New Yorker Films.
LONDON UK FILM FOCUS, which attracted more than 100 international buyers to the capital, drew to a close last week. Despite the recession, the event did not experience the fall out of buyers anticipated and was an upbeat affair, with industry premieres including Nick Love's The Firm and Julian Fellowes' From Time To Time. Approximately $3m (£1.8m) in sales is expected.
This new report is in line with the June 16 Posting as seen below. The question remains: Who Bought What?
The London UK Film Focus (June 29-July 2) is showcasing UK films to a captive audience of international buyers. For those smaller UK sales agents trying to stay afloat, this year’s LUFF, run by Film London, has assumed a new importance.
Around 120 international buyers will be in town for four days to see UK films such as Ealing Studios’ "From Time To Time" and Carnaby International’s comedy-horror "Doghouse".UK sellers claim that LUFF gives them to reach distributors with titles that risk being overlooked in the maelstrom of the Cannes market. The event’s organisers estimate the event generates around $3m of film sales each year.LUFF 2009 is backed by Film London, the UK Film Council, the British Film Institute, Film Export UK, UK Trade & Investment and the London Development Agency.
ONLINE DISTRIBUTION/ THAT IS, EXHIBITION
In keeping with my commentary that when Gigantic Group announced its launching a full-service “online exhibition venue” for first-run independent films, called Gigantic Digital Cinema.
that their use of "exhibition" rather than "distribution" 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. So today a British platform has fallen in step with current worldwide shifts to digital exhibition, even if they call it "distribution".
New online media and entertainment platform Studio Beyond is planning to launch an alternative to traditional theatrical distribution mid July by offering its subscribers the opportunity to distribute movies online. (Here I would say to exhibit movies) It enables film-makers to maximise distribution opportunities and generate new revenue streams, but also gives aspiring creative talent the chance to showcase their latest movies. Producers are being invited to send in a preview copy of their movie, which will be reviewed within 15 days.
Showcasing is important!
How much will the moviemaker make from a download?
How much is the download?
Per Mark Lipsky: Gigantic is $2.99 for a 3 day unlimited viewing ticket. As for getting the word out, we do a great deal of pr and grassroots marketing on behalf of every film that flows through our Cinema - at no cost to distributors or filmmakers that we work with. When we released Must Read After My Death in February, over 100 media outlets big and small and nationwide covered the film even though it only opened in theaters in NY & LA.
The Auteurs is $5.00. For how long? How many subscribers are there? There are 3,700+ posts on its Forum which seems good to me. How is it being marketed?
If anyone has answers and/ or comments I'd love to see them.
How will Studio Beyond market itself and the films?
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Clients include AFI FEST, Los Angeles Film Fest (LAFF), International Documentary Association (IDA), Wolfe Releasing and films such as: The End of the Line, Hollywood, je t'aime, Were the World Mine, Niloofar, Beautiful Darling, Against A Trans Narrative, BoY, and City of Borders (to name just a few).
Here's how you can keep up with what they're doing...
If you live in the Los Angeles area, check out their events site, http://www.festselects.com/ or follow them on twitter @festselects.
DISTRIBUTION & ACQUISITION
You can always find out what cool independent, queer and activist film projects they're repping by checking out http://www.newamericanvision.com/. (Tip: if you see something that interests you whiz by, click on it and you'll be taken to that film's website so you can find out more). If you're interested in acquiring or programming any of these films, you might also want to sign up for their monthly newsletter. Samples of past newsletters can also be found on their website. Please write to them at email@example.com to sign up.
Check out their pioneering work on the digital distribution landscape. Updated every couple months. They also link to the Sundance panel on Digital Distribution: Go to: http://www.newamericanvision.com/digitaldistribution.html
QUEER FILM DATABASE
Are you a programmer at a queer film festival? Write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can access (and hopefully contribute to) this growing database of upcoming lgbt-related films.
THE COLLABORATIVE:INTERNATIONAL NON-PROFIT FILMMAKER DISTRIBUTION COLLABORATIVE
NAV is launching an international filmmaker non-profit distribution collaborative. Representing a culmination of their work over the last five (5) years, this collaborative will draw upon NAV's expertise in areas such as grassroots and niche marketing at film festivals and in distribution; collaboration with non-profit organizations and film festivals; and comprehensive distribution, marketing, and licensing/sales rep services for independent, art house/world cinema and especially niche and activist cinema.
Additionally, they plan to expand their ongoing pioneering work on digital distribution to serve non-profit entities. By combining a built-in marketing network with an aggregated body of programmed and marketed film, the collaborative will help the work of filmmakers reach greater audiences and achieve the fullest possible distribution potential without having to pay expensive fees or too many middle men. All the distribution and marketing work will be done under a non-profit mission and fully transparent structure. We are inviting filmmakers and industry professionals to weigh in on the mission, proposed structure, and overall functionality of the collaborative.
To keep you informed of their plans,...so please join the new NAV Facebook FAN page.