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Monday, May 14, 2007

From Release Print: 'The Still-Unsolved Riddles of Digital Distribution'

Michael Read over at the Film Arts Foundation has put out another great issue of Release Print, their every-other-month print mag. This one is dubbed the "Distribution 2.0 Reader" -- a collection of stories, case studies, and profiles focusing on the new rules of movie distribution.

There's lots of good stuff in there, including stories about Adrian Belic ('Beyond the Call'), Lance Weiler ('Head Trauma') and Luke Wolbach ('Row Hard, No Excuses'). I also contributed a piece headlined, "Mystery Cyber Theater: The Still-Unsolved Riddles of Digital Distribution."

The PDF of that story is here, with Michael's permission. The opening:

    Digital distribution, circa 2007, resembles a high-concept science fiction script: conceptually intriguing, potentially feasible, but not quite part of the fabric of reality.

    Many of the elements required for a direct connection between filmmaker and audience are already in place. The average internet user in the United States now watches more than 100 minutes of video per month, typically over a high-speed connection. According to Apple, iTunes customers have so far purchased more than 1.3 million movies and 50 million
    television episodes. Several websites, including GreenCine, CustomFlix, and Dovetail, provide free hosting for full-length features, and cut the creator in on the revenues each time a movie is viewed.

    A few filmmakers have experimented with making their work available through these new channels. Despite these forays, digital distribution still hasn’t arrived as a viable, financially sound option for independent filmmakers. This may be a transitional year, however, as more consumers rent and purchase mainstream studio movies in digital form, and install the technology necessary to view them on a TV screen. Wider consumption of digitally delivered indies may quickly follow.

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