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March 21 at 7:42am

Lipsky’s Indiewire List on Why He Loves Theatrical Distro

By Ted Hope

Cassavettes’ former distributor announced last week that he was going back to his old ways and taking other people’s films to the people. This week he (Jeff Lipsky) did a must read article to try to explain why. It’s in the pop form of a list and after each bullet point he goes into some detail to back up his assertion. Check it out. I post the list (w/o the explanation) below.

There is some food for thought in Jeff’s positions and I look forward to discussing it further. I have always believed in a collective sub-conscious; is there really a new? In reading, Jeff’s list it reminded me of several points from filmmaker Michael Barnard, who’s thoughts on the current state I am posting today and tomorrow. Stay tuned…

The whole article is on IndieWire and you should read it. Jeff’s bulletpoints are:

1) My number one job as a distributor-for-hire is to run a collection agency.

2) All new distribution platforms (with the possible quirky exception of movie downloads to laptops and PDAs) fall under the heading of “home entertainment.” And, one after another, they all tend to cannibalize each other.
3) According to an article in Reuters, in 2009 combined theatrical and DVD sales/rentals in the US yielded $26 billion.

4) We should be talking about how to capture the attention of a film’s potential theatrical audience (which is hungrier than ever) while being able to reduce the marketing spend.

5) Approach domestic film festivals with great caution.

6) From the Everything Old is New Again Department: Addict teens, get them into the habit of going to see independent films, to debate them, to spread word-of-mouth, to love them.

7) What do I make of the state of film criticism today and how do I assess its role in the distribution of movies right now?

8) What about the state and role of trade media? Do we need a trade media at all?

9) I’m not in denial about technology.

10) I do believe in social networking…

11) I want to continue to distribute films theatrically because I still love movies.

As with all online publishing these days, the comments make for necessary reading.  In this instance, Chris Dorr, who says:

A very good post. A couple of ideas to amplify.

Numbers 9 and 10. The innovation that is occurring in technology today often takes place in what some call the “golden triangle”, the three sides being mobile, social and real time. The three poster children for this innovation are Apple, Facebook and Twitter, however, the innovation extends far beyond each of them. Each side of the triangle drives the other.

As a result the internet for many, (though not all) exists in the physical world. It is now something to which you are constantly connected while you move about in the real world. As a result you are connected to your social graph and to the choices you and your friends make and recommend as they move through the world. These choices include things like restaurants, music venues and yes—movie theaters.

Every aspect of the innovation within the “golden triangle” enhances the possibility of independent movies reaching their audiences in a theatrical release at a radically lower cost. It is only a matter of independent filmmakers and their distributors truly understanding this innovation and harnessing it .

So don’t deny this technology or ignore it—dive in, understand it and embrace it. There are real people and yes, even real money here.

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