Rethinking the film distribution

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Piracy, the excessive cultural offer, the taste for immediacy. These few specific nascent decade inclinations require the film industry to rethink a system and to offer new products, such as distribution. In this area, they are often independent distributors who launch more or less successful offensives. The last offensive concerns two films, “Nuit#1” and “Les Paradis Artificiels”, which have been broadcasted in full and on the Dailymotion platform for free few days before their theatrical exploitation. This is a way to promote the film and to make its existence on the large screens not prematurely caught by reducing the time of visibility of the movies in theaters and a competitive and supported turn-over. It is also a way to show to the entire profession that some cinematographic creations can be applied a different media timescale as the timescale set up for decades.

But the statement remains offset. If Nuit#1 has managed to attract 7000 spectators when passing on Dailymotion and be in theaters at the same time, the film Les Paradis Artificiels was removed from 12 rooms on the 15 planned by the operators. A measure of retaliation contrary to the approach of Yann Cornu, distributor of Les Paradis Artificiels (Damned Distribution), for who this 2.0 Premiere was to enable a necessary word-of-mouth to promote this author film and encourage the audience to go see it in theaters. A view corroborated by similar efforts by the patron of Fondavina producing Nuit#1, Marc Guidoni. Marc Guidoni explains his approach to the website ZDNet.fr saying that independent distribution of fragile films has become a game of Russian roulette in which the distributor may permanently drop its balance sheet” adding that “our professions have to be inventive and to rethink practices taking full account of new uses of 2012 movie lovers who see images on a variety of screens.”

And this statement, others have done the same before. In particular, the businessman Italian Francesco Rulli who founded in 2006 the Film Annex website. This platform of distribution of movies and web-TV, freely offers to Internet users, works of filmmakers and other creators who could not find funding to promote their works. Contrary to Youtube or Vimeo, Film Annex is managed by an editorial team who watches all movies before their release to ensure that they are made by professionals. Once that barrier is passed, the filmmakers who present their works on the site are paid 50% of the revenue generated by advertisings on their page. In this way, Film Annex can finance future productions and enrich its own film library in advance while launching a reflection on the production, distribution and cinema exhibitions. And even if it does not replace a large screen projection, Film Annex can boast to have 14 million unique visitors per month and 40,000 registered professional filmmakers.

Because Internet today has become an unavoidable player when we enter into the sphere of audiovisual and cinema. The worst of its deviations, illegal file sharing or piracy through sites such as Megaupload, comes even call into question a certain common sense which gives the impression that a pirate movie is a lost gain. Indeed, a study made by two researchers, one from the Munich School of Management and the other from the Copenhagen Business School, shows that the Megaupload closure has generated a decrease in revenues for confidential authors films budget without affecting the revenues from blockbusters. According to the authors of this study, people resorting to piracy are also consumers of cultural property which, thanks to Megaupload, discovered confidential works with no major advertising campaigns. Was to follow a positive word-of-mouth materialized by a rise in sales of places for some films theatrically because, as the study concludes, the online file-sharing would work as “a mechanism to disseminate information about a cultural property of consumers who have no wish or few want to pay to users who really wish to pay“».

Online file-sharing, the Film Annex site or even Premieres on Dailymotion finally would participate in the survival of independent distributors. This business that makes possible the coexistence of author films and entertainment films meets however many difficulties. In addition to the inherent independence financial risk taking, these distributors are facing a market widely held by subsidiaries of American studios or French TV channels with incomparable budgets and countless films success. Another difficulty must be taken into account that consists in the necessity to keep author films on the screens more time as those movies need more time to find their audience without having hype around them.

And this trend may increase when we know that some theaters require payments for any space promotion both inside and outside of the theaters rooms. Independent distributors could find their lifesaver in these new ways of promoting films and distribute them. But for that, the film industry must understand that it is necessary to renew and invest all the possibility to disseminate movies. Even the smallest.

 

 

Article publié sur After Set le 3 janvier 2013

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