Bob Alexander, president of IndiePix, wrote recently in a guest column in Digital Cinema Report, “An Extraordinary Moment?” that in the wake of decline in independent divisions among the major studios (e.g. New Line Cinema was closed by Warner Bros), “the traditional models of distribution, which barely work for the major studios, do not work — at all — in some scaled down version for independent film” and he goes on to suggest “there will be a new era in independent filmmaking” but traditional distributors have no idea what that era looks like. He suggests its on the net and that IndiePix is committed to making it happen.
Bold pronouncements, talk of the net and social networks, but it’s still a wild, wild world out there. A time of opportunity, we’re at a similar crossroads as when live theater was giving way to the cinema. I welcome the change, even though I’m not totally sure how this brave new world of distribution is going to look like, but I’m sure it rests in internet distribution and social networks, and I feel fine about that. Do indie filmmakers need theatrical distribution? Old wisdom said yes, new wisdom is evolving. The expense of theatrical distribution to a hand-full of art houses? The even more elusive national release? Art houses have for the most part tried to swim up-stream, these days showing very little local fare (with exceptions like The Coolidge Corner) and there are simply too few screens for all the great indie films out there. For now I think Netflix is doing a pretty good job of getting alternative films out there, they are my source for indie films and documentaries. But how do you find out about them? Social networking is certainly part of the answer.