Independent Distribution In America Is Seriously Threatened

And the reason is because independent exhibition is even more seriously threatened.  This is likely the last year of 35mm projection and the problem of that goes much deeper than whether you appreciate grain or not.

Sure the promise of digital projection & delivery is partially lower costs, but the cost of conversion is out of reach of many small exhibitors.  The funding scheme that many theater chains have utilized, instituting in a Virtual Print Fee (VPF), puts the financial return in jeopardy for indie films -- we could not play DARK HORSE in theaters that required a VPF because after the film rental split, another $800 in VPF risks having us not just not make money, but lose money.

The studios all require the theaters to be DCI compliant.  The cost of being so is out of reach for smaller theaters.  Yet, the studio, and their specialized subsidiaries, represent such a large share of the box office, theater owners have to consider this move.  But if distributors don't want to lose that $800 that goes to the VPF, can the same theater offer projection on one of the many cheaper systems.  Why not?  Because evidently the MPAA went to The Supreme Court and got them to approve an exception to the anti-trust laws and require all the theaters to sign a no-compete clause and use just a single platform.  This sucks and is not what I expect from a country that prides itself on being the "Land Of Opportunity".  

A former intern of mine, Ricky Camilleri, hosted a great conversation on this topic on HuffPostLive.  His guests include

Here it is that discussion non-live.

 

 
Two further notes: I have to say I really like this style of Google HangOut forum for discussion, particularly with the added in comments and questions from the audience/community.  It feels very participatory.
 
I wanted to title this "Independent EXHIBITION In America Is Seriously Threatened" but I suspect that "Distribution" will make more folks read this post.  More and more as I look at what is the lifeblood of independent cinema culture I come to exhibition.  They should be are heroes.  The industry and culture needs to celebrate them far more than we do.  The era of the filmmaker/exhibitor collaboration should already be here -- but it's not.  Shall we try to fix that too?

SIDE BY SIDE MONTH LAUNCHES ON TRIBECAFILM.COM WITH EXCLUSIVE CLIPS FROM HOLLYWOOD MASTERS

Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, David Lynch and many others debate the digital revolution on Tribecafilm.com

Tribecafilm.com launches a month of conversation around the upcoming documentary release Side By Side today. Each day a new exclusive clip will post from one of the film's prognosticators that couldn't be squeezed into the final cut of the film. The clips will offer a daily opportunity to follow the debate on the digital revolution that is portrayed in this seminal film.

Side by Side, produced by Keanu Reeves and directed by Chris Kenneally, explores the complex and divisive conversation currently taking place around the transition from traditional filmmaking to the new digital revolution. Keanu Reeves asks the question – Will film survive? He takes the audience on a tour of the past and the future of filmmaking. Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium. Reeves explores the development of cinema and the impact of digital filmmaking via in-depth interviews with Hollywood masters such as James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, and many more.

With such a contentious subject, everyone had a lot to say. We will continue the conversation on Tribecafilm.com—home to the Future of Film blog, a platform that explores our changing industry on a weekly basis—as well as across social media all month. Check the site daily for exclusive clips from Adam Valdez, Barry Levinson, Bradford Young, Craig Wood, David Fincher, David Lynch, David Stump, Dennis Muren, Dick Pope, Dion Beebe, Donald McAlpine, Ed Lachman, Ellen Kuras, Greta Gerwig, James Cameron, Jost Vacano, Lena Dunham, Martin Scorsese, Michael Ballhaus, Michael Chapman, Reed Morano, Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, Vilmos Zsigmond, Wally Pfister and Walter Murch.

Tribeca Film will release Side by Side via on-demand platforms on August 22. The film will also open in select cities theatrically, including Los Angeles (August 17), New York (August 31), Boston (August 23), Seattle (August 31), Chicago (September 15), Tacoma (September 18), San Francisco (October 18) and other cities to be announced.

For more information on the film go to www.facebook.com/sidebysidethemovie and sidebysidethemovie.com