Josh Bernhard, creator of VODO’s first original series, Pioneer One, has an insider perspective on alternative approaches to TV production and distribution as the show’s worldwide success climbs on toward the Season One finale. Equipped with determination, innovation and a wealth of recent experience in sharing work and insight with an online audience, Josh shares his thoughts on Indie TV in the digital world for the Tribeca film blog:
Episode 5 of Pioneer One, Season One – “Sea Change” – is now available for free download on VODO in partnership with BitTorrent, with an array of special extras available for supporters. Credits in the concluding episode of the viewer-funded show supported by .tv are available until Monday, December 5 for supporting contributions of $100 or more. Episode 6 goes live on VODO on December 13 after a special premiere screening on December 5 at The Anthology Film Archives in NYC.
Subterranean indie horror, The Tunnel, released as a free-to-share download by VODO in partnership with BitTorrent Inc., has passed the 1 million downloads mark. Described by Rolling Stone Magazine as “A cunningly crafted exercise in suspense”, The Tunnel was produced by Australian independent innovators Distracted Media. Their massive success with free-to-share distribution has scored them a worldwide fanbase and thousands of dollars in viewer support, followed by a collection of shiny festival awards and a DVD distribution deal for North America this December with Blackrock Films.
Distracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi cites the influence of an earlier BitTorrent/VODO success in deciding to go free-to-share: Pioneer One, the world’s first torrent-only serialised drama. “This show was a huge inspiration for us when we were pulling together The Tunnel,” says Tedeschi. “What they were achieving on the platform put a lot of wind in our sails… We have loved the whole exercise and intend to hone it and do it again once we nail the right project for the model. You just can’t argue with millions of downloads!”
Episode Five of Pioneer One, the penultimate installment of the first season, is available now on VODO for download and streaming and is set to add to over $80k raised in direct audience support so far. The show won Best Drama Pilot at the 2010 New York Television Festival and its creators, Last Sat Productions, are fielding significant interest from commercial backers for the second season.
The Tunnel and Pioneer One are part of the growing success of free-to-share distribution as a vital link between creators and audience. In partnership with BitTorrent Inc., VODO’s online distribution platform is already responsible for over 12 million film downloads and is attracting increasing attention among movie, documentary and serialised drama creators for worldwide distribution and development of their work. With a growing catalogue of titles from emerging filmmakers, VODO provides an effective revenue model by enabling viewers to support creators after experiencing their work, often in exchange for limited-edition goodies and production memorabilia.
The Tunnel is available now to download and support at http://vodo.net/thetunnel.
VODO will represent internet film distribution at Encounters Bristol International Film Festival 2011, drawing on its free-to-share release successes with a special focus on short films.
VODO, partnering with BitTorrent Inc., has generated over 500,000 free-to-share downloads for its ‘Mixtape‘ release – a collection of short films selected by VODO from film submissions published on its site by filmmakers in 2010. VODO founder, Jamie King, will draw on this extraordinary success to address the value of internet distribution for short-form content at Encounters Festival’s industry focus event, Brief Exchange: The Future of Short Film on Wednesday 16 November.
VODO will collaborate on a second Mixtape project in 2012 in collaboration with Encounters Festival, distributing a new collection of films from the festival archive, to be curated by a special guest programmer. Details of the project will be announced in the new year.
Encounters Bristol International Film Festival is the umbrella festival for Animated Encounters and Brief Encounters which together present one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for new and established international short film and animation talent, promoting the importance of short film as a means to develop the next generation of filmmakers and animators. This year’s 17th International Film Festival takes place from 16 – 20 November and features a packed programme of film screenings, workshops, gala events, talks and awards. Selected films from previous Encounters programmes can be viewed at the festival’s on-line archive.
The first part of our free-to-share series, A Lonely Place For Dying, has been a great success. If you haven’t checked out this Cold-War spy thriller, make sure you do! Talented first time Director Justin Eugene Evans has produced a great movie and it’s shaping up to be one of VODO’s most popular releases.
Demonoid, one of the world’s most popular Torrent sites, is tracking the 75,000 seeders of the motion picture. At the last count it was in first place as the most seeded file on the Net, while “House” was at second place with 20,000 seeders and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” was a third place with 17,000 seeders.
With such a strong seeding community users have been downloading the 720p 1.5 gigabyte episode in 6 minutes! “We’re on track to pass the one million mark download mark soon, with download volume continuing to build”, says Justin Eugene Evans, the film’s writer/director/producer.
VODO is delighted to have Versigin’s.TV as the sponsor of this release — their support for independent film and progressive online distribution is just another sign of the domain’s commitment to being the premier spot for indie film makers to build their identity. As always, uTorrent was an important partner in this release, but we must also thank The Pirate Bay, MediaGet and BtJunkie, all of whom have given major distribution boosts to this release.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next episode: we are developing an exciting new feature that we think you’ll appreciate!
Suppressed report on raided file-sharing community reveals users as big-spending entertainment purchasers – Boing Boing
Boing Boing‘s Cory Doctorow reports on a suppressed report from a raided file-sharing community (Kino.TV) which reveals that its users were big-spending entertainment purchasers.
We have a very special VODO release. Zenith is a cataclysmic cyberpunk thriller, directed by Anonymous and featuring Jason Robards III, Emmy-winner Zohra Lampert and David Thornton.
In the hellish future of 2044, human beings have become stupefied by the state of permanent happiness they’ve been genetically altered to experience. ‘Dumb’ Jack (Peter Scanavino) offers relief via drugs that bring his customers the welcome phenomenon of pain. But when Jack receives a mysterious videotape of his dead father, he sets out to unmask the dangerous conspiracy that created this dystopian world.
This release will be presented in four parts with a donation target of $10,000 per part. The last and fourth part will be financed with donations received through VODO and will feature previously unreleased secret tapes from the Zenith archives as an exclusive VODO release.?
Users will be able to share BitTorrent-certified content between the devices by burning DVDs or through a wireless connection.
… The new client sports a new user-interface that emphasizes the discovery, playing and sharing of media to woo over more users. It will also have new features like a media player, and an app on Android smartphones and tablets that will allow users to download and control media through those mobile devices. In the demo, it all seemed to run pretty smoothly. The question on my mind, then, was what sort of content would I want to watch with BitTorrent?
VODO, of course, will be part of the answer to that question. Our partership with BitTorrent helps creators by pulling new content into the BitTorrent ecosystem, and increasingly this will mean getting right onto the TV screens associated with traditional media.
Streaming Media has an in-depth article on Vodo, and in particular how we provide “a lifeline for documentary filmmakers“. Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men, who released their comedy documentary The Yes Men Fix the World through Vodo, explains:
P2P distribution meant more revenue, more freedom, and more viewers than The Yes Men would have had otherwise.
“That’s how probably more people have seen the film than any other way. It’s been really rewarding for us, because we’re hearing from people all over the world who wouldn’t have seen it any other way,” Bonanno says.
He also talks about how Vodo can sidestep some of the film-industry caution which usually stops interesting projects getting seen:
“Right now there are sort of legal hoops you have to jump through. To do something officially through established big businesses—television broadcasters, things like that—costs a lot, and you sort of have to pay to play,” says Bonanno. “Releasing on peer-to-peer is a way around that, because it’s not like we were breaking the law with anything we were doing—it’s all fair use—but you still have to pay for a lawyer, or, in many cases, pay for rights simply if the insurer requires it.”
The same logic keeps all kinds of great content away from the public. Traditional distributors have massive costs, so they can’t take risks with unknown film-makers, with foreign-language content, or (as here) with films that annoy powerful groups. Vodo doesn’t have those costs, so we have much more freedom to share films we believe in.
In early February, VODO’s founder Jamie King presented VODO’s recent successes and some brief insights into its future direction at Persistence Resistance in New Delhi, India.
Persistence Resistance is an annual festival of shorts and documentaries. VODO took part in its seminar on crowdfunding and alternative financing models.
The annual festival was organised by the Magic Lantern Foundation and spearheaded by Gargi Sen. The Foundation is working with VODO to connect Indian films and audiences with VODO. Two films from the Foundation will be released on VODO shortly.
All the films from the festival can be seen at http://festivalonline.persistenceresistance.in/ by registering on the site.
PSFK has this write up on Sebastian Guttierez’ forthcoming A Girl Walks Into A Bar (to be released on the Web*) and VODO’s crowd-powered distribution:
Web distribution techniques are not necessarily new and Guittierez acknowledges the changing indie landscape enough to know that it’s ready for Hollywood to adapt to this sea change. Many will argue the marketability of distributing a film for free online, but evidence has shown that you can have a sustainable free model.
Similarly, the digital distribution platform VODO allows filmmakers to release their films for free via BitTorrent. Although the content is distributed freely users are given incentive to support the filmmakers whose work they download. Users are encouraged and rewarded for spreading the word about films they download and watch. It is a model built specifically the social nature of the online world.
* On YouTube, according to Wikipedia, sponsored by Lexus.