Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival and speaking on an industry panel. The positive energy was palpable as movie stars, filmmakers and industry luminaries from around the world converged in tiny Dubuque, Iowa, a wonderful Mississippi River town that quite convincingly exemplifies the charms of the Midwest. In fact on the second day, we visited the original set of Fields of Dreams, which looks exactly as it did in the movie, farm house, baseball field and all.
Congratulations to all the wonderful films that were selected, and also to the organizers Brad Parks, Christopher Kulovitz, and Michael Coty on a fantastic job. There were many great films, but a stand out documentary that I saw, Moving On, which chronicles a young couples journey to adopt a child in war torn Uganda, was not just a great story, but also breathtaking beautiful. A real treat, so check it out if you get the chance.
While I was there I participated in the 2012 Cinema Exploration Panel on Film Distribution: the New Prohibition, where panelists discussed how the film distribution landscape is rapidly evolving. A recurring theme is that these days filmmakers are slicing and selling their various distribution rights in ever more distinct segments. In the past it was not uncommon to have a theatrical distributor and a different home video distributor. As technology has exploded, so have distribution options, and with it, film makers options for getting the results of their hard work out to audiences. For instance, Nat Mundel, the CEO of Voyage Media spoke about his work in micro-targeted, one-day-only digitally distributed theatrical releases. They reach very targeted special interest audiences and get them into a theater during non-peak times. This is a very profitable niche because the marketing is micro-targeted, and there are no film prints to strike and send back and forth. Even a few years ago, this would not have been possible.
Unexpectedly I was also the recipient of the Exploring Cinema : Technology award. This beautiful-looking award was in recognition for the work we are doing in the emerging field of white label VOD. We are in the early days of looking into the development of a private label VOD platform that will enable smaller sites to set up robust VOD very quickly and cost effectively.
Much more to come on this front as it develops.