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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

IFC, SXSW Experimenting with Festival Releases

IFC continues to tinker with release windows, trying to expand the audience for indie films. The latest experiment involves releasing Joe Swanberg's 'Alexander the Last,' along with films from Javor Gardev and Matthew Newton, on cable video-on-demand the same time they play the South by Southwest Film Festival in March.

Here's the Variety coverage.

From that piece:

    "It's our job to connect talent with audiences," said SXSW's [Janet] Pierson. "Conversations are getting louder about how festivals can and should aggressively help filmmakers."

    "It's a smarter way to make the release an event," added Swanberg. "Better than just sitting in a theater, waiting on people to come."

    ..."At a time when the U.S. marketplace for truly American independent and foreign films is rapidly changing, and many films are having difficulty getting exposure, IFC Films has created opportunities for a wide range of films to find an audience," said [IFC president Jonathan] Sehring.

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  • I understand how the big studios make more money by slicing up the revenue from each distribution method and then selling them at a premium, but I can't say that I'm a fan of the system as a consumer. Windowing may help the big marketing machines squeeze more juice out of their lemons, but I think it's a mistake for IFC to try and play this game.

    The strength of independent films is that they're future isn't tied to the legacy system that the studios have become so dependent on. If I wanted my film to be seen, I'd push the boundaries by letting consumers rent the DVD, while it's in the theaters and getting the marketing bump.

    This might threaten the exhibitors, but would be a hit with consumers. If your customer prefers watching movies on the small screen (or digital screen or cable vod) instead of the big screen, why not offer them the most enjoyable experience in the format of their choice? It's great that IFC is able to make a little bit more money off of these cable VOD deals and I'd like to see more of this, but they need to push the envelope even more, if they want their films to stand out among so many choices.

    By Blogger Davis Freeberg, at 10:21 AM  

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