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Why Net Neutrality Matters to Indie Filmmakers

Thompson on Hollywood By Chris Dorr | Thompson on Hollywood May 19, 2014 at 3:54PM

Here is the promise of the internet: the filmmaker gets to the consumer easily, and keeps the lion’s share of the money paid for his/her work. Both sides win; one through reduced prices and the other, through higher revenue. Yet all of this is now at risk.
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'In Your Eyes' director Brin Hill
'In Your Eyes' director Brin Hill

Recently I watched the new movie "In Your Eyes" on my large screen TV in HD. I paid $5 to rent it from Vimeo and stream it on my Apple TV.  The movie was very good and the experience was seamless.

The idea that you can rent a movie on the Internet and watch it on your TV is still a very new one, especially on a mass scale.  How long have we been doing this? A year? 5 years, tops? 

And it is remarkable for those filmmakers who create and sell their movies online using platforms like Vimeo.  In the past, to sell a film to any audience, they had to rely on a series of gatekeepers.  Now they can sell direct–which means they keep a larger part of the revenue.

When I pay $5 to Vimeo, 90% or $4.50 goes back to the filmmaking team responsible for the film.  Traditional gatekeepers take from 30% to 70% of the revenue and hold onto all the information about the customer.

Here is the promise of the Internet.  It reduces the friction and cost within the artistic economy.  

The customer gets direct access to the content easily at a reasonable price. The creative artist gets to the consumer easily and keeps the lion’s share of the money paid for his/her work. Both sides win; one through reduced prices and the other, through higher revenue.

Yet all of this is now at risk.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.