Monday, October 24, 2005

Once It Was Direct to Video, Now It's Direct to the Web

"As cheaper technology and a seemingly inexhaustible hipness quotient have led to more filmmakers and films being produced, theatrical distribution has become more expensive, the outlets more cautious, and the returns on investments more dubious. The Internet has absorbed some of the spillover, although the bigger success stories - notably, the political films of Robert Greenwald ('Uncovered: The War on Iraq,' 'Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism'), or 'Faster,' a highly lucrative motorcycle documentary narrated by Ewan McGregor - have been niche movies with a core audience.

So what about more general fare with no stars, budgets or hope? That's where IndieFlix, founded by Ms. Andreen and her business partner, the filmmaker Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi, comes in. Directors submit their films, which are then posted on the Web site ( When users log on and click to buy the films that capture their interest, IndieFlix burns them onto a DVD and ships them out. The price for a feature-length film is $9.95."

I find this trend in film distribution to be a natural evolution of the industry, much in the same way as the online distribution of e-books developed to bypass the traditional, creativity-throttling publishing industry. I guess time will tell if we are able to coax some really interesting work out of new filmmakers with this strategy.
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