The Film is the Story: Story-Extension in Digital Distribution of Independent Films


Independent films have always found themselves at the margins, most even completely outside of popular film culture. Traditionally, only a small number of filmmaking centers, most notably Hollywood, controlled film production, distribution and exhibition. Digital media and the Internet are often celebrated as enabling what some have termed ‘truly’ independent filmmaking, with individual filmmakers not only making films but also independently distributing them to mass audiences via the Internet. Such mass publishing, however, has created an abundant amount of available small-scale culture on the Internet. Findability becomes a critical problem that threatens the promises of self-distribution. This paper uses three independent film projects, The Hunt for Gollum, The Cosmonaut and 15Malaysia, to demonstrate how story extending techniques on the Internet can be used to independently build an audience for a film, thereby controlling its distribution. The concept of Story-Extension acknowledges the multimedia, interactive and archiving aspects of the Internet. Independent films no longer have to be standalone products. They can be one, though often central, part of an extended filmmaking story. Related events or products allow a story to transcend the film’s temporal boundaries and even the limitations of its medium. The paper concludes that Story-Extension (a) helps to create communities and audiences, who (b) individually experience the making of a film and (c) view a film merely as an end product while ‘watching’ takes place over an extended period of time. Such ongoing storytelling allows continuous audience growth that helps the filmmaker to self-distribute.

Author Information
Nico Meissner, Multimedia University, Malaysia

Paper Information
Conference: EuroFilm2014
Stream: Films and Digital Distribution (use of the internet and video sharing)

This paper is part of the EuroFilm2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon