At this year’s Sydney Film Festival, producer/distributor John Maynard launched a festival first – allowing audiences exclusive access to a world premiere film on VOD.
Minutes after FELL had its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival, viewers across Australia logged on to instantly access director Kasimir Burgess’ debut film on VOD, streaming it into their living rooms.
FELL stars Matt Nable (Riddick, The Turning) as a man whose daughter is killed in a hit-and-run accident with a logging truck. Grief-stricken, he moves to the town where the accident occurred, changing his identity and becoming a logger himself. It’s here he comes face-to-face with the truck driver, Daniel Henshall (Snowtown, The Babadook), who is out of prison, and who has a daughter himself.
The VOD strategy for FELL broke new ground for audiences who are used to seeing Australian films come out on VOD months after their theatrical release. Available for $9.99 (almost half the price of a Sydney Film Festival ticket) the world premiere film was available for streaming online for a limited time of 50 hours after its SFF screening.
“There was a good audience result with the VOD, and the feedback on the film itself has been fantastic,” Maynard says, “Audiences are constantly telling us they want content that’s easily accessible and at the right price, so with FELL we decided to listen to them”.
The Sydney Film Festival and Adelaide Film Festival were partners in the VOD launch, and the release was supported by Screen Australia.
John Maynard has been distributing films for over 35 years, and has seen the landscape change with the introduction of online, which has in turn radically changed audience habits. “Audiences have a lot more choice with content, as well as when and how they view it, and this diversity is something we should embrace and cater to”.
Collapsing windows is a trend overseas, especially in the UK and US where day-and-date releases across theatrical, DVD, VOD are increasingly common. Coupled with dismal domestic box office results for Australian films, day-and-date releases are looking like an increasingly attractive option for independent films.
The Sydney Film Festival/VOD release is only the first stage in longer release strategy that Maynard is planning, with more details to be released in the next few weeks. He is confident that he is onto a winning strategy “Sydney and the VOD was a great sneak preview for the film, and it has only driven demand for the film and its next stage of release”.
FELL will be screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival on the 15th and 16th August 2014. More information at www.fellfilm.com and www.facebook.com/fellfilm