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Announcing Cinema Zero Distribution

In the handful of months that Cinema Zero has been running, things have really grown and I've learned so much about not just what the landscape is like for indie film, but also just where it seems to be headed. And I'll be honest, after several dozen interviews with filmmakers both on and off-screen, it seems like the future is as uncertain as ever.

The facts remain the same; theatrical reach for indie films is near impossible, DVDs are gaining vinyl status, and it seems as though everyone and their cousin is crowdfunding a movie these days. Recently, I even wrote a thought-piece, asking if festivals were, in essence dead, for the start-up filmmaker.

Essentially, we're all making films and nobody seems to know where to take them next. And that's why I started Cinema Zero.

Our thinking was, that after the festival run, you'd all want a place to hopefully find an audience. And that's still the consensus. But what if you wanted to bypass that festival release all together and use those festival fees better. You know, to at least put them toward making more films. And what if you could see a better return on your film by cutting out the middleman (as in distributors), and actually see the money from ticket sales and downloads? What if you could do what you're already doing, only get benefit better from the hustle?

So that's what we're going to try and do. We're going to start distributing feature films. But not the traditional way.

Here's the plan:
  1. Starting with New York City (the coolest place in the world for indie film) we book a theater for a single night and pre-sell the seats to a film.
  2. If the tickets sell well enough, we book a second date. And again, if that works well, we keep booking. Of course, if we don't sell enough seats, we don't run the screening - it's that simple.
  3. We also make the film available as a DRM-free (play it anywhere, basically) download, which is also available to pre-order, and releases on the same day as the theatrical release. It's also available worldwide.
  4. In addition, anyone buying a seat to the movie theater screening (or screenings), gets a copy of the download on the release date as well.
  5. The pricing is simple: $12 for a theater ticket + download, $5 for just the download.
  6. If the film does well and there's enough word-of-mouth attention, we'll expand the theatrical release to more cities, such as LA and London, all the while picking up write-ups.
  7. The filmmakers behind the movies take 90% of the profits from theatrical & digital release - better than any other standard distribution deal.
Okay. That's the idea. Nice thinking cowboy. Now how are you going to make it work?

Well, there's nothing like putting your money where your mouth is, so we're going to begin with Let It Go - my latest movie as a director.

Beginning with a first screening at Anthology Film Archives on September 23 2014 at 8pm in New York City, Let It Go will also be available to download at the same time. You can find out more here.

The plan is bold, I know. But I think it's going to be awesome too. We'll be open to submissions from filmmakers wanting to go this route soon (along with the criteria necessary for us to take the film on), but we'll be keeping an open dialogue on how it goes.

We've got some cool partnerships coming down the road (more on that real soon), and we'll also be opening up the beta for more filmmakers to join soon. To be notified of when that happens, you can join the mailing list and we'll be in touch as soon as it goes live.

So show some love and support and check out Cinema Zero Distribution and be sure to pre-order your copy of Let It Go.