Just as television broadcasting was changed by cable and satellite, leading to narrowcasting by consumers, streaming specific shows to a variety of devices, so too has feature film distribution entered a revolutionary era.
Producer Ted Hope, as CEO of the streaming subscription service Fandor, oversees two paradigmatic shifts at once: His library of more than 5000 lesser known but quality American indies and foreign films provides a significant and growing alternative to Netflix, and the site benevolently returns 50 percent of revenue to filmmakers.
Not just exploring lesser known lights of cinema, Fandor also has the ability to provide more context to followers of established directors, exemplified by the July acquisition of 16 Werner Herzog titles. Among its 200 genres of films is a deep repository of short animation. The well-structured site also provides onscreen links to films similar to those chosen for viewing, plus cast and crew info, press reviews and articles.
Two initiatives of note: The Fandor|Festival Alliance (F|FA) uses existing assets and technology to help film festivals grow their local audiences and expand sponsorship opportunities. FIX is a program designed to help filmmakers showcase existing work and engage more directly with their audiences.
While Fandor's exponential growth leads the Video-on-Demand landscape for alternative films, Festival Scope, based in Paris, more specifically caters to festivals and film professionals, like those in acquisition, production, promotion, programming and yes, even lowly but well-intentioned film journalists.
Festival Scope's list of worldwide festivals is quite alluring, including a recent spate of Swiss films from Locarno and plenty of other intriguing programming from the domestic front (Seattle, Tribeca, SXSW, Sundance) and more diverse locations, including Hong Kong, Berlin, Rome, Tokyo and the adventurous fantasy and animation features and shorts to be found in Sitges and Annecy.
Also reflecting world film festival investment in VOD, Festival Scope has announced its Sala Web, a selection of Venice International Film Festival titles that will be viewable during the run, August 27-September 6. Festival Scope is taking advantage of the newly burgeoning tendency of some festivals to market certain films via streaming, rather than relying solely upon physical attendance. As Fandor and Festival Scope change the nature of VOD, traveling the world, from one's home, for cinematic nuggets has never been easier nor more rewarding.