By Roger Paradiso
Streaming is a technology used to deliver internet content to smart TVs, computers, and mobile devices without having to download it.
I am placing my films, including The Lost Village and Searching for Camelot episodes 1-3, with Global Cinema Online. As an independent filmmaker, I have been searching for a home for my films for years, during the transition from analog to digital and from theaters to home theaters. I like the people at Global Cinema, Daria Trifu and Bruno Pischiutta, and I like the respect they have for directors and films. They are artists and may be able to bring back the concept of the original United Artists Company to Global Cinema—a company for and run by artists themselves.
My decision is important because the industry is changing from film to TV. Independents are still staying with film, though. Why is that? Well, for me it is still a viable art form. Consider staging an opera in a theater compared to presenting a soap opera on TV. There are many fine episodic TV shows. But they are different from films and are not called films. There are films that are made specifically for TV, and most people can spot the difference between those and films made for theaters. Many are terrific and manage to elevate beyond many TV offerings. So, that brings me around to: stream or not to stream? That is the question.
The answer is yes, for me. Whether a film is delivered to a movie theater with a hard drive or streamed to a home theater should make little difference to a filmmaker. You have reached your audience. Streaming movies are here to stay, and audiences choose to stream to their home theaters in greater numbers every day. Generally, it is safe to say that the big blockbuster events, like cartoons or movies for children about famous books, will always be shown first in theaters, with streaming dates closer and closer to release dates. In fact, in the future all films will be streamed to movie theaters as well as to home theaters.
Two other players in the streaming game are the independent films and the smaller studio films. These will find a home at your local art house theater. Historically, independent films have always screened in the small mom-and-pop theaters, sometimes called art house theaters, like Cinema Village here in Greenwich Village. I believe many of these will survive the demise of the big chain and mall theaters. There has always been an audience for these independent films and they will be marketed to people who like cinema.
The indie film audience will grow larger as the market diversifies to people whose appetites may be for nonviolent films, for instance. And that is why I like Global Cinema Online. They run an international film festival called the Global Nonviolent Film Festival. They are looking for films that are strong on story and performance without resorting to the obligatory sex scenes or car explosions. The cartoon super heroes will stream to your chain theaters. The cinematic novels will stream to your home theaters or art theaters.
There were film movements after World War II, the New Wave in France and neorealism in Italy, that rebelled against Hollywood filmmaking. They challenged the conventions of the day, producing a more director-driven art form that used small crews, 16MM cameras, and, sometimes, real people instead of actors. Directors like Truffaut, Godard, Fellini, De Sica, Visconti, and Rossellini initiated and contributed to these movements which have influenced all filmmakers to this day. These mid-century masterpieces were mostly low budget and independently financed. They were produced in many countries including the USA (Welles, Ray, and others), and were seen in art theaters and on college campuses; they rarely made the big Hollywood theaters here. Battle lines were drawn. There was an audience cultivated for this independent movement and it brought us through many decades to where we are currently. Now, you can see these timeless films on the Criterion channel, in art houses, and on college campuses around the world.
I believe there will be a revolution in mainstream film coming soon. In fact, I think we are already there, in independent documentaries and fiction films. There are streamers who will market these films like the “old” video stores used to. I am betting on Global Cinema Online, curated by Daria and Bruno, to be one of those great collectors of nonviolent indie films. Look for them online. And you will find other distributors of fine art as well. Support whatever touches your heart and soul. Film will always be here, and independent film will uphold the art form. Do not get mixed up in the delivery systems of streaming. Keep watching great filmmaking and keep cinema vibrant and alive wherever you find it.
Top Five Apps to Stream Movies for Most of Us:
- Amazon Prime
- Criteriorchannel.com on your computer screen*
- PBS Passport on your computer screen*
- GlobalCinema.com on your computer screen **Apps or devices can put these on your smart TV