September 3, 2005 The forthcoming launch of DeathToHollywood.com represents an inevitable twist in the distribution of low-cost independent movies that cannot hope to achieve widespread distribution through conventional cinemas. DeathToHollywood.com is a free website which functions as an online movie theatre providing free, high quality, independent feature films with the express permission of the producers. It serves to highlight the works of independent film makers by providing easy access to their work. DeathToHollywood’s Pam Paton explains the rationale behind the new service, why the company believes the time is right for the new service to propser thanks to a new era of low cost digital video productionand high speed internet access combined with increasing public media literacy.
As you are no doubt aware evolving internet technologies continue to create exciting new possibilities. The astonishing fact is that it is now possible for independent or low budget film makers to completely bypass the traditional distribution channels and present their work directly to the public.
This is a free service and there are no charges or other catches whatsoever – we have elected to remove ALL the barriers and there’s not even so much as an email address required to download a movie.
It seems the times are ripe for this both in terms of the technologies that make this so viable, low cost digital video, computer/software editing systems and high speed internet access, and the increasing media literacy of the public.
Until now there have been only short movies available for download on the internet and usually at low quality. We intend to make low cost feature length independent movies available to download with the minimum of obstacles placed in the way of the end user.
We have succeeded in persuading a number of film makers that their movies will serve them better by being available to the public than not. As I’m sure you are aware even the most modest of traditional supply strategies requires a significant outlay both in time and cost.
Many independent film makers can spare neither of these commodities and are frustrated in not being able to showcase their work to a wider audience. Most traditional online distribution deals that may be available to this class of film maker work better for the distributor than the film maker and can effectively stifle the potential popularity of a film by placing an unrealistic requirement upon the end user – the need to pay. When we say this is unrealistic, we mean this in the context that a potential downloader must first be aware of a film and desirous to see it. It is logical that a potential viewer is far more likely to be aware of a Hollywood blockbuster with a built-in US$100million promotional budget, but if the viewer wants to see this film he will almost undoubtedly download a pirated version of it for free via the peer-to-peer networks.
Therefore it is necessary to place an independent film on as equal a footing as can be managed or it simply will not be seen. This is why both we and the film makers who support us feel it is reasonable to provide the most convenient possible access to their movies and most certainly for free.
By doing this we entertain the possibility that if a movie is sufficiently entertaining it can spread by recommendation and ultimately become what might be considered a success, and by this we mean viewed by a great number of people. Most independent film makers would wish this in preference to the near impossibility that their movie could supplant our aforementioned blockbuster at the traditional box office.
Every improvement in video compression and internet bandwidth makes our task easier and so technically we are fortunate to be able to ride the crest of the wave. The low cost of providing this service combined with the disproportionate potential benefits means that while we would in the long run wish ourselves to be financially self sustaining in the short term it is not only feasible for us to self finance this but actually getting relatively cheaper day by day. We obviously find this encouraging and fully expect other similar projects to appear in the near future as more people come to see this strategy as a viable form of promotion.
Our official launch date will be October but most of the site is already active and we have more movies on the way including the epic trilogy Bored Of The Rings which we consider to be a set of movies which have the potential to become a cult phenomenon as they represent perhaps a new milestone in what can now be achieved by independent film makers with no budget using the astonishing array of relatively cheap digital filming and editing systems. It’s amazing and even inspirational.
Pam Paton & the DTH Team