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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 @ 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).

Tim the Lawyer »