I think festivals should always pray for chilly, rainy weather because there is a direct correlation between screening attendance and sunshine, i.e. the better the weather the fewer movie goers, which might explain this years long lines and inability to get in to watch some films last week in Austin. With all the rain, I felt like I had never left the East Coast.
Much has been said about the films in Austin and how it is a growing festival with a unique angle on the intersection between film distribution and technology. Panel after panel discussed why some digital ventures don’t deliver, the future of independent film distribution, and how to succeed in making a video go viral (without kittens). We are entering what is probably phase 2 of DIY film distribution, where ventures such as BSide proved that there were audiences to be reached using online outreach to get niche audiences to screenings, but failed to generate sufficient revenue for their investors. We have the Auteurs who offer a proprietary VOD platform but can’t get eyeballs, suggesting that technology and content alone are not sufficient. And now YouTube has announced that it will offer Pay Per View to independent filmmakers. Is it the solution filmmakers have been waiting for or is the habit of free to deeply entrenched in the YouTube culture to translate to Pay Per View? I guess we’ll see… one of our upcoming Knitting Factory Entertainment releases is a YouTube Pay Per View feature and so far it is going well at more than 166,000 views.
On the film side, I had my favorites. I think the highlight was the after-party for CANAL STREET MADAM. Talking to the (in)famous Jeanette was a pleasure and only proved my hunch that the lady might be a whore, but she isn’t anybody’s victim. Another viewer over at Indiewire suggested that she is simply ‘libidouness,’ but that is like saying that most people go to work in the morning not for the money but for the pleasure. Perhaps that is true for the guys over at IndieWire, but tell that to your average joe and he’ll probably spit in your coffee. Most of us, alas, must work for our bread and Jeanette earned hers the old fashioned way. Nothing wrong with that – like she said, if it is between two consenting adults it shouldn’t be illegal.
The EyeSteel Films crew was out in full force. Omar Majeed, the filmmaker behind TAQWACORE: THE BIRTH OF MUSLIM PUNK will be keeping fans new and old abreast of all things Taqwacore related at taqwacore.myfilmblog.com. Sign-up and stay tuned for updates regarding festival screenings, the upcoming NYC premier and theatrical dates throughout the summer.
REEL INJUN, which will open theatrically at MoMA in June, and THE SOUND OF INSECTS also garnered attention. Stay posted for further updates.
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