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Vimeo Offers Toronto Films Direct Distribution
'The distribution landscape has been blown open'

06 September 2013  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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If the ever-expanding range of movie-viewing options is enough to make your eyes water and your laptop billow smoke, spare a thought for the distributors having to compete with aggressively innovative video-on-demand channels. Vimeo, one of the newest players in the VOD space and an official Toronto Film Festival partner, is taking advantage of the festival to offer filmmakers the chance to skip the costly distribution process altogether.

While Empire's man on the ground, Damon Wise, wires back from the festival with first-look reports of The Fifth Estate and other Toronto premieres, we quizzed Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor on his plans to take over the world - or at least part of it - by offering the 150 films premiering at Toronto $10,000 to distribute exclusively via Vimeo On Demand, as well as a 90/10 profit split in favour of the filmmaker.

"It's an option for filmmakers to go direct to their audiences," Trainor explains. "We're making an open offer to all films premiering at the festival to receive an upfront payment for having the film come to us as its first digital window. We're also eager to learn how filmmakers start to use direct distribution."

Earlier in the year Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival launched its own video-on-demand service, and Toronto's move into the VOD space is likely to be followed by others, suggesting a brave new world where major film festivals become online events in their own right.

"The distribution landscape has been blown open," says Trainor. "Steven Spielberg recently went on record saying that the traditional model for theatrical distribution is changing under our feet. It's a pivotal time, and we're seeing the effects of technology coming to roost."

Vimeo is bullish about carving a niche for itself, particularly with indie filmmakers. Surely the Netflixes, Amazons, iTunes et al make that task all the harder? "It is a crowded marketplace," concedes Trainor, "but I think there is enough viewer demand, attention and revenue to go around for many different platforms."

The 2013 Toronto Internation Film Festival runs from September 5-15.

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Your Comments

This is interesting because I just read a storey at about a Director who is doing just that. He is an independent film maker, this is his second film, but the first to go down the independent distribution route. More

Posted by StuartTanner at 08:59 on 25 May 2015 | Report This Post

I called that! Totally called it. I said after Spielberg's speech that VOD would start buying films at festivals to replace the 'limited distribution' nightmare of small indie films. Good news too, as an aspiring filmmaker I've come to terms with the fact that I will never shoot on film and may have to produce a few projects before I can get on the big screen. This is even better, if an upstart like myself can sell a movie for 10 grand then I can make another and if anyone watches the first one More

Posted by Nicky C at 09:25 on 09 September 2013 | Report This Post

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