Coming Soon to a Living Room Near You

This John Anderson article in the New York Times is basically a 1,300 word advertisement for IndieFlix, a new online resource for distributing independent films, but it still looks like a pretty cool service. Short version: Scilla Andreen and Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi’s IndieFlix post independent films on their website, where customers can buy the film, which IndieFlix will burn onto a DVD for $9.95.

It’s not a bad deal for indie directors who might be looking for an audience for their films, with directors retaining all the rights to their films while being assured of gaining some visibility. In the article, Anderson comments that the major worry is visibility, with one commenter asking how film fans will learn about IndieFlix. A New York Times article can’t really hurt, I suppose.

I’d imagine the more difficult problem, also mentioned in the article, will involve the the cultivation of audiences based on shared interests. The most successful online distribution projects, measured by sales at least, involve the grassroots political films produced by people like Robert Greenwald. I’m wondering, for example, if this method of distribution, which will entail watching the film on a smaller screen, will be as effective for “narrative,” rather than documentary, projects. Sill, it’ll be worth watching to see where IndieFlix goes.

Update: David at GreenCine offers some other reasons to be skeptical about the Anderson article. Most crucially, Anderson misrepresents the service (i.e., it’s not really skipping “direct-to-video”). And it ignores several other similar services that came first, including the CustomFlix service rcently purchased by Amazon and Green Cine’s own video-on-demand service.

David raises these points in the context of Sujewa Ekanayake’s questions about his self-distribution of Date Number One, which looks like an interesting film.

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