This time a year ago, we were closing out the Bootleg Film Festival Edinburgh. As anyone in attendance will tell you, it was a monumental weekend, and something that I know we'll all never forget.
Fast forward to September 2013 and we dropped the curtain on the festival one last time, out here in NYC.
Well, it's been six months, and whilst I've certainly not been idle, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was still something awesome to be done in the indie film space.
So, here it is - Cinema Zero.
This is a place for independent features and shorts that have completed their film festival run and are ready to find a whole new audience.
The internet is a powerful tool for filmmakers, and yet, so far, it's been sorely underused. We think that there's a better way.
So, riffing on the real world cinema experience, the site is designed to host one film at a time, for a limited run - anywhere between 3 - 10 days.
Anyone who has ever distributed their micro-budget feature will attest to how extremely hard it is. And indeed, how disappointing it can be to see such small numbers of engagement - especially when there really are so many amazing and beautiful films out there. It's simple, really, the problem is not the films, it's the discovery.
Cinema Zero is pushing to change that.
When we screen a film, it owns the site. With the film front and centre when you arrive, ready to be enjoyed. No sign up, no advertising, and no cost. It's a one-click process to just enjoy the movie.
Accompanying the film, we'll be hosting live video conversations with the filmmakers behind the movies, offering you an insight into why it was made, and just what it took to achieve that vision.
Lastly, we have a curated programme - with a focus on pure, high quality storytelling. We're not interested in filling the site with a hundred thousand movies of ranging quality - we'll leave that to others - instead, we're honing in on the films that move people. The films that matter.
And by making this a frictionless process - no cost, no ads - we believe we're breaking down barriers to entry. After all, anonymity is worse than poverty for an artist.
Cinema Zero claims no ownership on the films we screen - the filmmakers always retain the rights and even where to host the film. This is purely about putting movies in a focused place.
And I know what you're thinking - won't this fuck up a distribution deal? On the contrary, it can help you get one.
By having an engaged audience and putting the focus on one film at a time, we will have steady and clean viewing numbers for each film - even letting you know which countries the film performed best in. This data is a huge boon for any filmmaker when presenting their film to a distributor - real numbers count way more to them than the content of your film when it comes to signing a deal. So we're here to empower you in getting over the unknown valley between festivals and release.
We know we've got challenges ahead, but we also believe that, by doing something fresh in this stagnant space and leveraging the incredible power of our connected world, we can help film reach it's audience.
And to kick things off, we're launching the first feature film Weekend Retreat from British writer and director Brett Harvey on April 4th. You can find out more about it on the site, but trust us, you're going to want to tune in.
And as we keep saying, cinema is magic, and the magic is real.