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More TIFF

People (like me) have been banging on for years about how the internet presents new distribution opportunities for film and TV and it was clear at TIFF this year that things are finally starting to happen.  

Companies like Magnolia in New York (the distributor for our film) are pioneering new digital only, or predominantly digital release strategies.  Magnolia is credited with developing the premium VOD (video on demand) model into a serious new release distribution strategy.  Traditionally VOD has been used at about the 3rd stage of a release strategy (after theatrical and DVD and before pay TV).  Premium VOD is a pricier form of VOD (in the US you pay $10 as opposed to around $4 for standard VOD) that is used as the first stage of release.  This may be in lieu of a theatrical release, at the same time as theatrical, or even before.  

There was a lot of talk at TIFF about Bacholerette, a film with a very modest budget, that elected to go with premium VOD as the first platform of its release strategy.  As well as taking $500,000 in 3 days, it reached no.1 on iTunes, all of which served as great promotion for its theatrical release.

So non-traditional release strategies utilising digital media are all of a sudden starting to be taken very seriously by sales agents and distributors, and a number of serious players in that space are starting to appear.  The traditional model is being turned inside out in an increasing number of cases, and release strategies with no theatrical release (which can incorporate “four walling” where the distributor rents cinema space themselves - usually where theatrical play is required for festival compliance), or “day and date” releases (where all platforms are hit at the same time) are becoming more common.

Tim

Johnnie Goes to Hollywood

Hold on to your hats.  Last time John Key met with studio executives he gave them 30 million dollars and a fundamental change in employment law.  What is he going to give away this time?  Immigration protections for NZ film workers is pulling good odds at the moment.  Foreign investment in film production in NZ is a good thing, but do we really want to be sending that shambling idiot to do it for us?  They won’t even be able to understand what he says.  Anyway, he can’t be their favourite person after stuffing up their efforts to get Dotcom on trial in the US.  Hang on.  They got the site shut down.  What do they care that the NZ taxpayer is going to get taken to the cleaners and that the NZ police force and security services are the laughing stock of the world?  Actually, while it can be fun to laugh at the police, Crown Law and other government services over their Maxwell Smart-like handling of the affair, there is of course a very serious side to it.  I think it is illustrative of the government’s disdain of the rule of law and democratic principles in general.  This government has passed more law under urgency (where we lose the usual right of participation in the process) than any other government, including the Hobbit law which removed a fundamental common-law employment right from film workers.  Hilariously, the government now calls this a “clarification” of employment law.  I really hope I never get my rights “clarified” by them.  The apparent lying in court by senior police officers, withholding of information by government officials and apparent ignorance of the law by the government’s lawyers is all symptomatic of the same thing in my opinion.  A casual disregard for the fundamental principles of our democratic system.  A side-lining of principle in favour of what they see as the right result.  Barrack Obama said in his speech to the UN that while he didn’t enjoy people saying nasty things about them, he would always fight for their right to do so.  Can you imagine Gerry Brownlee saying that?

Tim

Tim @ TIFF

A week or so ago I got back from an 11 day stint at the Toronto Film Festival.  Over the next couple of weeks I will post some random recollections.  Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos.  As Bill Pullman says in Lost Highway - I prefer to remember things they way I remember them.

I was there with Ant Timpson for the première of his film ABCs of Death.  26 directors, many well known in the horror genre, each making a short film on the subject of death using their allotted letter of the alphabet, and the whole lot bundled up in a feature length anthology.  It premièred at midnight on a Friday to a full house in a huge cinema.  The pre-party started at 7 p.m in a bar; the after party commenced at 3 a.m in a large hotel suite.  9 of the directors were there. As far as I could tell, Spanish director Nacho Vigondo never stopped talking.  He was still in full flight as I left the hotel suite to catch a train to Montreal at 9 the next morning.  Luckily he is an extremely entertaining man. He’s known in film circles for nearly causing serious injury to Eliljah Wood by throwing him on to a pile of broken glass.  Appropriately enough, Lee Hardcastle, the director of T is for Toilet proudly showed me a photo on his phone taken earlier that day of the longest poo I have ever seen.  He was like a proud father.  I got to hang out with Jason Eisener, famed cult director of Hobo With a Shotgun, and a personal favourite. Noshihiro Nishamura best known in horror circles for cult classic Tokyo Gore Police arrived with full entourage and wearing a samurai inspired dragon motif outfit of his own creation.  He seemed like a charming man.  Despite having no English.  His rather perplexing contribution to ABCs had one of my favourite clips in the film - a woman’s breasts bouncing and banging into each other, one with a picture of a plane on it and the other with a picture of the twin towers.

Next time; the Mongrel party, probably the flashest party I have ever been to, and some thoughts on the new wave of digital film distribution that I learned about at TIFF (no, it wasn’t all parties).

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