A few years ago, the internet was perceived as the great nemesis of the film industry. Illegal downloads were killing movies, just like Napster had killed the record industry. Things have changed. Now, filmmakers and producers are actively embracing online distribution, marketing and participation. Even star-studded feature-length films are being made with an online audience in mind.
Big names making online movies
Since The Blair Witch Project hit it big 1999, many films are going for that shaky found footage look often associated with homemade online movies, examples being Cloverfield (2008) and this year’s Project X. In the UK, the drama series Persona is available for download in little “appisodes”. The online musical “Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”, starring Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris, was written and directed by Joss Whedon, creator of TVs Buffy and writer/director of this year’s hit movie The Avengers. Sites like Lovefilm are offering film downloads for a fraction of the cost of a Blu-ray disc, with big American players like Netflix waiting in the wings. Viral marketing has become a big part of how movies are advertised. Now, German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom (DT) is taking online participation to the next level.
The next chapter in film creation
DT is financing a new road movie/thriller called Move On. Directed by Asger Leth (Man on a Ledge) and starring former Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale), Move On was filmed across Europe. Earlier, various aspect of the production were suggested and voted upon by the internet community – like props and locations being used or parts for extras. News from the set are posted regularly on the website or tweeted by Asger Leth. There are also regular postings on YouTube and Pinterest. While the main story remains unaffected by these relatively minor details, DT and Asger Leth are thrilled by this new form of collaboration. Says Leth: “I really see this as part of the next chapter in the way in which films are created.” After its premiere in Berlin in the fall, Move On will be released via a number of digital platforms.
Pic by: firstname.lastname@example.org Darko Novakovic – Fotolia