The producers of the award-winning independent feature film WATERBORNE has announced plans for a groundbreaking film distribution model in conjunction with Google Video. Google Founder Larry Page unveiled the new Google Video Store from CES in Las Vegas today.
WATERBORNE, which debuted to rave reviews and won an Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival, will be among the first independent feature films to be available on the Google Video Store for the new “download-to-own,” distribution model.
The filmmakers turned down a $125,000 advance from a distributor to embrace the online distribution model thru Google Video. Why?
Until now, only pirated films, television shows, music videos, and low-end exploitation titles were available for paid download through the Internet. This is the first time an award-winning festival favorite like WATERBORNE is releasing through the download-to-own distribution model. By coupling independently created content with Google, the largest and most powerful delivery system in the world, the filmmakers are pioneering a dynamic new model for independent film distribution.
In addition to streaming the film for free for the first week of release, a digital file of the film can be downloaded to own for a price of $4.99. Unlike the copy-protected downloads of iTunes Video and other online services, which limit how the viewer can watch their content, with Waterborne, the consumer may do anything they want with their purchased product, view it not just their computer but on any monitor, burn it to a DVD, or even transfer it to a Video iPod.
“We’re excited that independent filmmakers like Ben Rekhi are using Google Video to distribute their work and discover new audiences around the world” said Jennifer Feikin, Director of Google Video.
Director Ben Rekhi shares a similar enthusiasm, “When we set out to make WATERBORNE, we aimed to think outside the box of conventional filmmaking. Now in releasing it, we want to continue this forward-thinking mentality by embracing new methods of film distribution. The internet is going to revolutionize the film industry just as it has the music industry.”
Adds producer Smriti Mundhra, “In the traditional distribution
framework, a film of this size would be lucky to get released in a handful of theaters, reaching a few thousand viewers at best. But by utilizing Google Video’s radical new model, WATERBORNE will get an audience of millions. For those of us working outside the studio system, this kind of exposure is tremendous.”
“A lot of people think we are crazy for turning down a six-figure advance to dive into the unknown perils of online distribution,” confesses Rekhi. “But its time that someone put their money where their mouth is. No one ever got ahead by playing things safe.”
Posted on January 9, 2006 in News by Film Threat Staff
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