AUSSIE CINEFEST LAUNCHED
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION OPENS UP THE WORLD
Several award winning and/or festival selected Australian films – including over two dozen made by students at the Australian Film Television and Radio School - can now be downloaded (for as little as US$1.99) via broadband from anywhere in the world at AussieClix, the first country-dedicated section on the premiere CineClix website, in a pioneering digital distribution arrangement facilitated by Urban Cinefile, as announced at the Berlin Film Festival today (10/2/2005).
CineClix President, Margo Langford, says, “Launching the Australian collection online sets a fantastic precedent for highlighting films from a particular region. We are thrilled to have the Aussies on board with this approach because so few of the independent films made by Australians get global distribution. In fact, the vast majority of independent films from any country don’t get widely circulated beyond their country of origin or the Festival circuit.”
The first films to grace the Aussie CineFest section are: The Fan by Gavin Lewis; Interchange by Michael Chrisoulakis; Welcome To Wherever You Are by Aaron Stevenson; Top Shelf by Marta Tesoro; and Breath of Fresh Air by Antony Balmain.
The films have been licensed to CineClix through an agency agreement with Urban Cinefile, a CineClix Alliance Partner since October 2004. It is the first dedicated section highlighting films from a particular country. The filmmakers share 50 – 50 of the net revenue from download sales. Total film downloads in the US now exceed 20 million a month.
"a truly fascinating collection of Australian
“The announcement is made at the Berlin Film Festival,” says Andrew L. Urban, “for two reasons. One is that Margo Langford is a speaker at one of the key festival sessions on Digital Distribution, organised by Berlin based company, Peacefulfish and The Hollywood Reporter. This enables her to speak directly to the world’s movie media. The second is timing: we have the beginnings of a truly fascinating collection of Australian films, ranging from the world premiere of a spiritual epic by little known Melbourne filmmaker, Aaron Stevenson, whose film, The Samsara Chronicles 2018-2049, has been described by the celebrated Wim Wenders as "An amazing piece of work!" to a handful of award winning horror shorts like The Fan, a highly amusing but creepy film from Gavin Lewis, plus Tom Cowan’s acclaimed drama, Orange Love Story. And notably, over two dozen shorts by graduates of the Australian Film Television & Radio School; famous films like Dylan Yeo’s Mozzie, Cordelia Beresford’s Restoration, and the Oscar nominated Inja from Steve Pasvolsky among others.”
(The AFTRS films and The Samsara Chronicles 2018-2049 are expected to be available shortly on the site, as soon as encoding is completed.)
Writer director of The Samsara Chronicles 2018-2049, Aaron Stevenson, is delighted that “Finally there is an avenue for an independent film like ours, that was totally self financed by borrowing against homes, selling my car, etc. Also, Samsara Chronicles is a very visual picture that lends itself extremely well to the broadband medium, where high quality images and sound can be exchanged. We are not at the mercy of a dodgy cinema, with dodgy equipment and a potentially dodgy apprentice projectionist compromising our picture. I didn’t spend 10 years making Samsara for it to be bastardised at the cinema. Digital broadband is flawless and I can rest assured that our work will be seen in its purest form.”
And director of The Fan, Gavin Lewis, says, "For the independent film maker, the offer of a distribution contract without asking is like winning an Oscar. We (The Lewis Boys who made the film)
were astounded when CineClix offered us online distribution, and their contract process was remarkably painless. It is a milestone for us to have our film available to the world via this
online distribution mechanism, and it is eye-opening to see so much other great film talent there."
"opens the way for independent filmmakers"
The digital distribution of films opens the way for independent filmmakers to break out of the unsatisfactory strictures of standard distribution, which presents sometimes insurmountable hurdles for indie filmmakers, ranging from print & advertising/marketing costs to the hurdles of dealing with distributors handling a large slate of films. The Aussie CineFest initiative follows on the heels of the 2004 Screen Producers Association of Australian conference on the Gold Coast, where international guest speakers urged Australian producers to explore different distribution models, even leaving theatrical release to the end of the schedule, rather than the beginning. They urged filmmakers to explore DVD and other digital forms, where the lower costs of duplication made it possible to expand the audience and thus build awareness and propulsive word of mouth for their films.
Urban Cinefile is in negotiations with a number of film owners to funnel more films to Aussie CineFest over the coming months.
See the Aussie CineFest section on CineClix
Filmmakers wanting more information should contact Andrew L. Urban:
Tel: +61 (0)2 9949 6700
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The Samsara Chronicles
Aaron Stevenson -has two films at CineClix (one is Aussie CineFest, and the world premiere of Samsara Chronicles on a special page)
Breath of Fresh Air
Welcome to Wherever You Are