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Friday, July 08, 2005

Netflix picks up Hal Hartley's latest

Netflix will be distributing the latest Hal Hartley film, "The Girl from Monday," on DVD later in July, according to IndieWire. The sci-fi farce has played in several cities and at festivals - but it didn't attract a traditional distributor.

Key quote from the story:

    "Even though we felt 'The Girl From Monday' had great commercial appeal, most mainstream distributors thought it was too much of an art film to warrant the high cost of theatrical release," said Steve Hamilton [Hartley's long-time editor], in a statement. "As an alternative means of promoting our film, we joined forces with Netflix, a company whose model and philosophy provided a much more direct link between the filmmaker and the viewer."

I had a chance to chat with Hartley in January at Sundance, after he spoke on a panel about alternative distribution models for movies. (Coindidentally, Ted Sarandos of Netflix was on the panel with Hartley.) Everyone else on the panel - mostly distributors, former execs at theater chains, and producers - was jazzed about the new possibilities for financing indie pictures and getting them seen outside of normal channels. But Hartley didn't seem that enthused; he seemed to think it indicated that his success, niche-y as it has always been, was getting even niche-ier. And there's a quote in the IndieWire story that seems to underscore that Hal isn't so happy.

Explaining why he's moving to Europe, Hartley told IndieWire, "I need to work and I can't work here. It's impossible to make art film in America, particularly in New York. It's just too expensive to make work here, if you want to pursue work that is based on your interest you can't necessarily be tied to being a commercial success and that's all that happens here."


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