Dead Dad has come a long way since its inception as a conversation between former film school classmates. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and a rigorous shooting schedule (consisting primarily of weekend shoots due to full-time work schedules), the film became a breakout success on the festival circuit (winning the Audience Award at the Tallgrass International Film Festival, appearing in many others). Focusing on three estranged siblings who return home following their father's untimely death to decide how to tend to his remains, the family dramedy made its worldwide video-on-demand and DVD premiere February 4.
As Hollywood's event movie model continues to claim the lion's share of major studio attention, funding and distribution for smaller projects have become increasingly problematic for independent filmmakers. Produced with crowdsourced funds for a fraction of the cost of a mega-blockbuster, this film epitomizes how a DIY aesthetic and passionate contributors can exchange flashy CGI for character development and storytelling craft. Co-written by Ken J. Adachi and Kyle Arrington -- who also direct and star in the film, respectively -- Dead Dad's potency is rooted in its focus on the nuance of human relationships, how we negotiate our histories and come to deeper understandings of what we can (and do) mean to each other.
The growing prevalence of video streaming, rental and purchasing services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, iTunes, et al., allows films like Dead Dad to garner deserved attention beyond the limited exposure of festival appearances.
Steven Beckman, the Head of Content Partnerships at FilmBuff, explains how this democratic process benefits viewers and artists both:
Jesse Damiani: How'd you find Dead Dad? What drew you to it?
Steven Beckman: We discovered the film after it had played at the Florida Film Festival and were immediately floored by the film's unique and original voice. Ken Adachi and Kyle Arrington created in their script such genuine and compelling characters with a perspective on family that is rare to find in independent cinema. We're thrilled to be able to introduce this film to audiences on iTunes and all other leading digital platforms.
JD: What's appealing to you about the digital-distribution model?
SB: Digital distribution really allows for FilmBuff and other companies in the space to champion unique voices and different types of projects that audiences are seeking out, but can't find in traditional multiplexes. We're able to partner with filmmakers and give them the platform and spotlight their work deserves, but also curate for film buffs and direct them to the awesome movies they didn't know were available.
JD: How do you see digital distribution changing the landscape of independent film?
SB: In many ways, digital distribution is democratizing the independent film landscape. Audiences now, more so than ever before, have the ability to discover all sorts of content instantly without needing to live in New York or LA to engage with the best of independent film. Films that, five years ago, would have only been available to select communities, can now be experienced by millions of movie lovers from all over the globe. And that's today -- as technology evolves, so too does this model of digital distribution, making for countless exciting opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers and their work.
For more information, visit the official website for Dead Dad.
Follow Jesse Damiani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@JesseDamiani