UK filmmakers claim to have invented DIY distribution – should we tell them?

0 Posted by - May 8, 2009 - Blog, Screen
The Age of Stupid: Daredevil Distributors

The Age of Stupid: Daredevil Distributors

OK, The Age of Stupid is a pretty fantastic film. I even said so here on this site some time ago. I also lamented how annoying it was that they weren’t letting any grassroots screenings happen in Canada before their UK launch (screenings where rights for the film would be paid for). They’ve since found a Canadian distributor, and the film will undoubtedly pop up here and there in Canada over the summer. But since I tried to program the film for Cinema Politica and was turned down, I’ve somehow ended up on an email list that every three days tells me how incredibly absolutely unbelievable and fantastic all the people (and especially the filmmakers) are behind the film. It was funny and quirky at first, but the very frequent feather fluffing wore thin quickly. Oh well, I thought, they’re pumped up and they’re trying to pump up their base – that’s pretty standard fare for the indy doc scene.

But now they’ve launched a site, called where you can screen indy films, wait, where you can screen an indy film (The Age of Stupid of course), and help change the world through cinema. This is all fine and dandy as well, but what the self-aggrandizing has hit steroid level, and now these cheeky Brits are claiming to have INVENTED DIY distribution! Excuse me? Um, have they looked around? Have they seen what’s been going on in Canada, America, Columbia, Brazil, India, Indonesia…should I go on?

Promote your film, fine. Fluff your filmy feathers, OK. Set up a dandy system for DIY distribution and exhibition, excellent. But c’mon guys, claiming to have invented this stuff, is just taking it too far. I’m not making this up – from one of their how-to downloads:

Three days before your screening date, a high-quality screening DVD will arrive on your mat…. and a whole new era of film distribution begins. No, really, that’s not a complete exaggeration: nobody has attempted this before. When you order the DVD on the website, you’ll confirm that you agree to the conditions: the DVD must be returned a few days after the screening, by registered post and obviously if you lose it you’ll have to pay a fine. (The DVD isn’t on general release until much later in the year – you’re paying for the right to show it before it’s in the shops or on TV).

It’s a new era, a new revolution, and um, you have to RETURN the 50 cent plastic disc with the movie on it, right after you copy it on to your computer? This is taking an existing movement in DIY distribution and throwing some restrictive protective measures in, which is, so 2002!

Why do we need to claim we’re always starting something new, when it’s already out there? Why do progressive politicos get so fragmented? Maybe it’s because they always want to stake their own claim, but in the interim it’s a big old raspberry to everyone else already sweating away in the revolution. But hey, this is a rant, and in the end, it’s a good site for a good film. Lots of resources, and yes, you can even rig up your own screening of The Age of Stupid. But let’s cut the rhetoric, it’s hurting my feelings.

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