A new take on crowd funding will help filmmakers – including those from Russia – reach a wider audience in the United States. Fans will be able to request movies to be screened in their town, even if the original theatrical release is unavailable.
Web-based service Gathr has been called the "love child of Netflix and Kickstarter". It democratizes theatrical distribution by allowing film fans to organize a theatrical screening of a movie virtually anywhere in the US. It works for classics, independent features, niche films, cause-driven documentaries and even foreign movies that are of interest exclusively within the ethnic communities.
“The major challenge is that traditional theatrical distribution is a one-size-fits-all model,” Scott Glosserman, Gathr founder and CEO told RT. “It’s an archaic top-down model that is not able to serve movies that only appeal to limited audiences because the cost of entry is the same for a theatrical release whether it is Spiderman or whether it’s a small independent feature.”
With Gathr, fans can request a film to be screened in their town, they can either reserve or purchase a ticket to a screening in their area or they can request a new screening by specifying where and when they want to see the movie. Once a user has requested a screening, Gathr confirms the request and it goes live. If enough people reserve tickets for the screening in advance the movie screening is guaranteed.
The idea of a new service came about when Scott Glosserman, a filmmaker himself, had a hard time distributing his own films even though they've had a successful festival run.
“After a time-consuming and expensive effort to self-distribute my documentary ‘Truth in Numbers: Everything, According to Wikipedia,’ I decided the theatrical distribution model needed to fundamentally change in order for filmmakers like me to have a viable shot at a successful career,” he says.
According to Glosserman, Gathr also has a plan to distribute Russian movies in the states.
Up to now, there was virtually no way for Russian communities to see the latest Russian releases on big screens in the US. The same goes for Soviet favorites that are hugely popular among older audiences.
Right now, Glosserman’s company strives to help fans and filmmakers bring films directly to audiences that want to see them. Among Gathr’s expanding partnerships are family owned or independent theater chains, independent art houses and non-theatrical venues.
Moviegoers reserve tickets by pre-authorizing their credit cards. No one will be charged for tickets unless the critical mass of reservations has been made; usually the number is as small as 40 to 60 people.
The small audience threshold allowed people to get screenings for their friends and family, to hold a small "film festival" as part of their birthday celebration or to an outing for a film club. After all, nothing can beat a real theatrical experience.
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