Distribution is changing. Sure, Hollywood is still trying to keep the status quo, and at the same time slowly branch out into VOD and streaming, but the indies have been forging ahead with new and ever-changing methods of distribution -- many times circling all of the above when it comes to getting their movie out there. Larry Clark, best known for the film Kids, is releasing his new film Marfa Girl (which just won Best Film at the 7th Rome Film Festival) in a rather peculiar way:
streaming online tonight only for 24 hours, and then he says you'll never be able to see it again in any other format. [Update: I misunderstood the wording on his site. The film will be available online indefinitely, but the rental will give you access for 24 hours.]
Since it doesn't seem like a trailer exists, here's the only available clip from the film:
I will put the film on my first and only website, larryclark.com, which is the only place one will ever be able to see the film…. It will stream for $5.99 for access to the film for 24 hours…. This is the future and the future is now…. Most and very soon almost all the small theaters that show Indie and Art films will be gone….
Everyday another goes out of business because everything is digital now and it is quite expensive for the wonderful old smaller theaters to bear the cost of switching to digital…. Anyway I think I am one of the very first directors to release a new film this way, on a website who’s only purpose is to show his new films…. I think this could be very successful and it also cuts out the crooked Hollywood distributors.
In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Larry described more of his motivation for why he made the film and why he's releasing it this way:
I wanted to make a movie for the Internet. These days everyone one is on it — emails, social networks and all that. I have kids and they are constantly connected to it. I send them a message and they get back to me straight away. It’s so hard to get a film made, especially an art film with your own final cut. So I thought, “Why don’t I just do it myself, set up a website and get it going.” I decided to get rid of the middlemen, producers and the like. Anyway, they’re all crooks; I never got paid for my movies. The Internet is happening, people make a video and it gets a million hits, so fuck it, let’s do it.
This is absolutely fascinating to see, as it gives the movie a scarcity it never would have experienced otherwise. Sure, it may be a gamble to release a film once for a short period of time, but with enough buzz (we're obviously adding to that here), you can attract a sizable audience. He could still change his mind about releasing it at another time and in different mediums, but at the moment, it seems like he really wants to do things differently.
The film costs $6, and will be available streaming only on his website,
and then, according to him, go offline forever after 24 hours. It's not often that you see award winning films not test the distribution market, but clearly Larry is fed up with the way many distribution deals go down -- which very often involves the artist never seeing a dime from sales of the film. As many of these distribution deals take away more of the filmmakers' control over the future of the film, there's no question more people with a solid reputation will follow suit in one way or another.
I plan on watching the film later, but what do you guys think about his strategy? How about his thoughts on the industry in general? Would you consider trying something like this with one of your works?
[via Filmmaker Magazine]