Breaking out from the pack of film festivals worldwide, Cinequest has announced its latest venture on its quest to redefine “film festival.” Starting today, Cinequest launches its own DVD label, presenting feature films chosen from the Cinequest lineup and making them available to fans worldwide through a new model of distribution that combines DVD releasing as well as online delivery of certain titles via Cinequest Online (www.cinequestonline.org) and a partnership with Netflix Inc. This model is a new solution to distribute the truly independent film that doesn’t fit into the traditional model of studio films or quasi-independent films cast with movie stars.
Unique to the Cinequest distribution model are two items: Instead of outside acquisition of films, all titles on Cinequest DVD are culled from films that premiered either at the Cinequest Film Festival or on Cinequest Online. Furthermore, Cinequest combines a unique marketing approach of select films being available for free download, in secured, DVD quality, as well as being able to be purchased on DVD. Both free downloads and DVD orders are available on www.cinequestonline.org.
“The first thing some people might think is that we are crazy for providing select films for free download on Cinequest Online,” says Halfdan Hussey, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Cinequest. “That’s what the naysayers said when we launched Cinequest Online in February of 2004. We were the premiere festival to offer free downloads of feature films in DVD quality through secured Kontiki technology. The filmmakers who took a leap of faith with this venture found it to be an excellent marketing tool to further expose their wares and talents as filmmakers. Furthermore, as we predicted would happen, distribution deals occurred. Now Cinequest has its own DVD label to provide film connoisseurs with an outstanding collection of feature films that probably wouldn’t have made it through the typical Hollywood distribution system. These are the films people love, the films they can’t get enough of. These are films for people who want to break away from the typical. If you are looking for hot, raw talent with a delightful lack of celebrity, then check us out.”
The partnership with Netflix includes a guarantee that each film signed to Cinequest DVD will be available on Netflix. The partnership began when Reed Hastings, CEO and Founder of Netflix, advised Cinequest that a DVD label would distinguish it amongst film festivals worldwide and that he would be supportive of this venture.
“Cinequest has been an amazing supporter of independent film and is now a source of powerful and successful content for Netflix,” says Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “We are proud to be a part of extending Cinequest’s reach by offering this great collection of DVDs to Netflix subscribers.”
Cinequest Online will be a powerful marketing force for the Cinequest label. Currently, traffic on www.cinequestonline.org has over 40,000 registered users and over 250,000 films and forums are on target to be viewed in 2005. The Cinequest site, www.cinequest.org, which connects to Cinequest Online, garners over three million hits per month during February and March when the festival is in full swing. But even more enticing to filmmakers is the deal that Cinequest offers. Many distribution companies offer filmmakers 65 percent of DVD sales after expenses. The industry has a notorious history of adding on excessive marketing fees and expenses which end up diluting the revenue going back to the filmmaker. Cinequest offers filmmakers 70 percent of DVD sales after minimal fees are recovered. These fees primarily consist of the hard costs associated with producing the physical DVD. Virtually all marketing fees are covered by Cinequest as the organization is already in the business to promote and market Cinequest Online and the Cinequest Film Festival. This provides an overall much better deal for the filmmaker.
“The Cinequest distribution label represented, to me, a refreshing change in the way films are distributed, further closing the gap between artist and audience. They’re an organization that sees things from the artist’s, as well as the audience’s, perspective — and that by itself is unique. Our project scared a lot of people, a little too controversial for some distributors, but Cinequest was able to see how strongly audiences reacted to it and knew that it was the kind of movie that people wanted to see.”
— Nick Tucker, Director of “Fandom”
Six films will be released today, with an additional three to be released October 2005. The first six films are:
Awful Normal (documentary)
This controversial, empowering and amazing film captured awards around the world for its frank look at director Celesta Davis’ struggle to deal with the demons from her past. Most stunning is when she confronts on camera the man who molested her as a child. Winner Best Documentary and Audience Award at Cinequest Film Festival 14.
Cry Funny Happy (drama)
When old friends unite at a 30th birthday party, relationships are formed and spied on, secrets emerge, and people are not what they seem.
A riotous look at how one man’s love of Natalie Portman spiraled into an obsession that took on a life of its own.
Rock and Roll Superhero (documentary)
A suburban indie-rock band meets the Big Apple and a cyborg costume comes to life.
Seizing Me (psychological thriller)
A sexy and provocative psychological thriller about a troubled yet gifted woman who captures three unique people in the hopes that if she seizes these remaining pieces, she will inevitably complete herself.
From the producer of Fahrenheit 911 comes a hilarious look at homeland security and all the hysteria that goes with it. Not recommended for uptight Republicans.
For more info, visit the Cinequest website.