Friday, February 11, 2011

Beyond the Game, VoDo and Cinema Purgatorio

As I've mentioned before, I am a big fan of VoDo - the folks who are using PTP sharing as a way to get money to filmmakers. If you haven't checked them out, you should, but the short version is that you can get their films for free, just like a pirate does, but they've built an easy mechanism for you to donate money to that film. They've also built a reward system, the Do, for those who share these films via social networks, spend money on films, etc.

I've not written as much (at all?) about another company I like, called Cinema Purgatorio (CP for short). CP was founded by Ray Privett, a very smart, capable distributor who is a true filmmaker's friend. He has done everything from running the Pioneer Theater (and making sure filmmakers got paid there before it went downhill (without him)), to working with distributors, theaters, etc. CP is a filmmaker friendly distributor - a very rare thing - and he prefers to work with the quirky, little films (usually) that need special care and attention in finding their way in the marketplace. And he does an amazing job with these films. Check out his website, he's currently working on Zenith, a great transmedia project by Vlad Nikolic, and he's done films like Christmas on Mars featuring the Flaming Lips and Bjork's Voltaic concert film. His website sums up his company like this:

"Cinema Purgatorio brings movies to select audiences via custom-crafted theatrical and semi-theatrical releases (including press campaigns), and mass audiences via output VOD and disc deals. Every season, Cinema Purgatorio films screen publicly in more than 40 cities; be on the VOD menus of over 10 million homes; and are released far and wide on DVD and Blu-Ray."

Well, now these two great companies are working together and CP also brings films to bajillions of homes through VoDo! You can now get the CP film Beyond the Game by Jos de Putter on Vodo. The film, which I haven't yet seen, follows two of the best players of World of Warcraft....and that's no easy feat to accomplish. Here's the film's description:

"Warcraft III is the most popular real-time strategy computer game, thrilling over 2.5 million North Americans and 10 million people worldwide everyday. The game creates an alternate universe, where players challenge each other with a mythically-charged online world of humans, orcs, the undead, knights, and elves.

In Beyond the Game, we meet - in real life and within the game - two of the game's leading figures, known as Grubby and Sky. Acclaimed filmmaker Jos de Putter tracks these Kasparovs of a new generation and a new game across the world all the way to the world championships in Seattle."

I really like that Ray is willing to take a chance and experiment with this new distribution model. Most people are afraid of piracy and PTP, but let's face it, your film is going to get pirated no matter what - fighting it won't help, so you might as well turn it into a business model. It also gets a film seen: Beyond the Game already has had over 300,000 downloads! That's some serious viewer numbers for a doc, and by using VoDO, they have a chance to help invent new business models as well. As Ray/CP describes on the VoDo page:

"Support of this release helps Cinema Purgatorio with its next generation strategies to bring movies to theatres, discs, and downloads, seeing downloads (and torrents) as a "legitimate" release method."

Amen. I hope it works!

You can get the film at VoDo or pay for it directly, and support a filmmaker and a film curator/distributor/innovator at Cinema Purgatorio.

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