A Successful Non-Traditional Theatrical Model

"Who Does She Think She Is?" House Party Kit
“Who Does She Think She Is?” House Party Kit

Last Spring I was approached by the filmmakers of a documentary film called “Who Does She Think She Is” about using Emerging Pictures to distribute and exhibit their film. The film is a moving exploration of the difficulties women have in being taken seriously as artists. It had already had some modest theatrical exposure, and the filmmakers had been besieged by individuals and organizations who wanted to organize events and buy copies of the DVD. They had read all the various manifestos about DIY distribution, and armed with that information, were keen on trying to break the mold in the service of getting the film out to as many people as possible.

I liked the film and the niche audience it was playing to, but I’m always dubious about filmmakers’ abilities to deliver an audience. My experience is that no matter how many organizations come forward to help, and how big their mailing lists are, they are very good at delivering an audience for one night…and that’s it. When I expressed this, I was pleased to find out that expectations were not out of line, and that they were game for whatever made sense. After many brainstorming sessions, assessing all the opportunities, we had a plan. Continue reading “A Successful Non-Traditional Theatrical Model”

Carbon Neutral Distribution

Anne Thompson recently wrote a column in Variety about the “greening” of Hollywood–the attempts by certain folks in the biz to make the process of making films more environmentally friendly. I wrote her a polite note telling her that she’d actually missed an obvious angle–the fact that the current 35mm theatrical distribution process is quite unfriendly to the environment. It would take a lot of carbon credits for the industry to overcome the many trucks and planes that are necessary to delivery those 35mm film cans, not to mention the process of making the prints, which requires putting petroleum-based substances into baths of toxic chemicals. Then consider what has to happen to all those prints when they are ultimately “destroyed.” In other words, theatrical distributors have a lot to answer for with Mother Nature.

But rather than fret about it, perhaps the studios should wake up to the fact that there is a better solution than paying for carbon credits–digital theaters. Imagine a world in which film prints are merely digital files, and those files can be delivered electronically without the need for airplanes and trucks. Hollywood doesn’t want you to know this, but this world exists right now.  Continue reading “Carbon Neutral Distribution”