New distribution opportunities at home

Demand.Film launches in Canada

The Australia-based company is looking to tap under-served audiences and under-used cinema space with its crowdsourced screenings.

Le Ride 2Demand.Film, an Australia-based firm that organizes one-night screenings of niche films, has launched in Canada through a partnership with Cineplex.

The company’s goal is to set up one-night cinema screenings for feature films (typically documentaries) on evenings when theatre attendance is low (usually Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday). Since it was founded four years ago, the company has expanded to the U.S, U.K., Ireland, Singapore and Germany and has now launched in all the provinces across Canada. Director of operations, Toronto-based Paul Rotz, is overseeing Demand.Film’s Canadian expansion. Rotz is a former director of theatrical sales at eOne.

Demand.Film’s model is designed to give filmmakers and producers a way of getting projects that appeal to niche audiences into cinemas. In order for a screening to take place, a person must first request a film (from Demand.Film’s catalogue of titles) to be screened in their own market. Once tickets go on sale, the number of tickets sold must reach a certain threshold for a screening to go ahead. In Canada, 50 tickets is the threshold in order to make a one-off screening profitable. If less than 50 tickets are sold for a particular theatre, the screening does not go ahead and ticket-buyers aren’t charged. If a screening is locked in, Demand.Film typically confirms four or five weeks in advance.

Promotion for the screenings is handled by Demand.Film, which creates a web page once a film has been requested. The host can then share this page with their community. Demand.Film also promotes the screenings to its database of past ticket holders, as well as using paid promotion through Facebook advertising campaigns.

The first screenings took place on Aug. 23 in 26 Cineplex theatres across the country. The documentary in question, a cycling doc called Le Ride (New Zealand), was chosen based on an insight gleaned from Cineplex that cyclists are an underserved market in Canada. Le Ride stars cycling enthusiast and The Amazing Race (U.S.) host Phil Keoghan as he recreates the 1928 Tour de France race. The project is produced by his wife Louis Keoghan.

The screenings sold a total of 3,200 tickets (including around 400 in Vancouver’s Cineplex Park Theatre), equating to a box office of around $44,000  an impressive one-night haul for any documentary in Canada, and even more so considering it is New Zealand cycling film. In terms of revenue split (once tax has been deducted), the content owner takes 25%, Demand.Film takes 25% and the exhibitor takes the remainder.

Company founder Andrew Hazelton, EVP of global business development, is bullish on the need for documentaries and other indie films to find their audiences, and insists that it can be done in this alternative theatrical model. “We’re just using under-utilized cinema space with films that wouldn’t otherwise be seen, and have an audience that would never be found in a traditional theatrical campaign,” he told Playback Daily.

During this year’s Hot Docs, Hazelton said he met with a number of Canadian documentary filmmakers that expressed to him the difficulty in getting their docs seen in a big-screen setting. “These filmmakers aren’t making a film to be seen on a phone or the back of an airplane seat. They want their films to make an impact, especially in the doc space. And I always says, you can’t start a movement on iTunes, you need 100 people in a cinema together around this particular issue to really make a difference,” he said.

Another upside for filmmakers is that they also have access to the email addresses for each of the ticket buyers, which can be valuable when it comes to promoting or crowdfunding subsequent projects.

While Demand.Film is establishing itself in the Canadian market, the company will select the films that screen in Cineplex theatres, said Hazelton. As such, it is sticking with the cycling theme for its next release, which will take place in the coming months, once it has analyzed data from all 26 of last week’s screenings. The company does intend to branch out with the types of film is programs, Hazelton said, adding that Demand.Film is open to working with all sorts of filmmakers from pre-production through to completion.

The Edifice on demand!

If you haven’t yet seen it, my “digressive” 35mm film, The Edifice, is now playing at Vimeo on Demand.

Edifice Production Still 12

Julien and Claudia voyage through a mysterious landscape of city, nature, and industrial ruins as they set out to find an inherited plot of land. Crossing boundaries between dramatic fiction, minimalist narrative, and magical realism, The Edifice takes us on a digressive journey through the real, ambiguous, and intimate places that Claudia and Julien share.

If long takes and realism, magic or otherwise, are your thing, you’ll be right at home. Bonne visionnement!

Cinema Turbulent & Canadian Anthropology Society

The Edifice has been selected for presentation as part of the Cinema Turbulent Film Festival taking place May 8th to 11th at the University of Victoria in BC.

Turbulent-LogoFestival organizers SONOPTICA, based in UVic’s Department of Anthropology, are teaming up with the Canadian Anthropology Society for their 2013 Annual Conference to present works in harmony with this year’s conference theme “Unsettling Records: Reworking Anthropology’s role in Turbulent Times.”

Sonoptica describes their organization as a group of people (very human of them) that think seriously about the sonic and visual dimensions of life and how these can shape our reflection and understanding of contemporary and historical phenomena. “These dimensions include music, sound art, sound studies, and all aspects of visual representation, including, but not limited to, the visual and graphic arts.”

Screening is May 8th, 2013 – University of Victoria – click here for full schedule

see Canadian Anthropological Society for the Annual Conference (CASAC) schedule.

Festiwal Filmu Filozoficznego

The Edifice has been selected to be part of the 6th Philosophy Film FestivalKinematograf Filozoficzny taking place this March in Krakow, Poland.

March 29th, 6pm at the KIKA studio cinema in Krakow. An evening of thematically linked films, “each of which presents different ways to understand Metaphysics” followed by an audience discussion lead by Dagmara Romanowska, film connoisseur and long-term chief of the film section at”

Here is a little excerpt in English from their mostly Polish website:

The festival is a look at the art of film through the prism of philosophical assumptions; those of filmmakers, commentators, theorists and connoisseurs of cinema. One of the festival aims is to create a permanent meeting place for Polish and international artists whose sublime language of film is not just entertainment, but leads to a discussion and reflection on the universal values and vision of contemporary man.

The Edifice @ Hamilton Film Festival

Screening as part of this year’s Hamilton Film Festival experimental program:
Wednesday, November 2 at 9:30 pm
– Staircase Theatre, 27 Dundurn St. North

Hamilton is such a great city – full of  character, rich architecture, texture, and neighborly people. I am very excited to be presenting my film in this very real place. Check out the festival’s website for more info and hope to see you on the 2nd!

Review of The Edifice by Réal La Rochelle

Critique du film The Edifice par Réal La Rochelle. En français, voir ci-dessous.

Réal La Rochelle is an author, professor, and critic. Teaching in the department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Montreal and giving seminars on cinema sound at INIS (Institut national de l’image et du son), he has also contributed to various journals such as 24 Images. He is the author of several books including the biography “Denys Arcand. L’ange exterminateur” which has been translated into English.

Screened at the event of the 38th Concordia Film Festival, here is what he had to say about The Edifice.



The Edifice de Frank Sanna

Ce court métrage se présente comme un poème de l’errance, ponctué d’une trame narrative minimaliste, où un jeune couple, habilement joué par les comédiens Natalia Valencia et Julien Boissaud, est à la recherche d’un terrain. Un arpenteur a d’ailleurs tracé au sol les marques de cet emplacement. Le réalisateur Frank Sanna voit cette quête comme ancrée dans un cadre au « réalisme magique », une manière de « contemplation mythique de la condition humaine ».

Les deux jeunes chercheurs vont aussi déambuler dans des archives de lettres anciennes et de photos. Ce qui n’est pas sans rappeler l’exposition de 2010 Les deux Sardaignes, à la galerie Espace projet, une collection de clichés familiaux évoquant la Sardaigne originale des parents et l’enfance de l’auteur à Thorold, en Ontario. Frank Sanna appelait ces paysages « l’espace d’une fiction de la vérité personnelle ». The Edifice reprend cette thématique, qu’il prolonge et accentue sur sa bande sonore, sur laquelle se font entendre des bribes d’espagnol, d’anglais et de français (« lots of time », « is it real? », un « Notre Père » en espagnol, « je déteste Dieu parce qu’il veut que je le déteste »).

Par ailleurs, les pérégrinations de ces deux jeunes vont les conduire autant dans des paysages urbains (routes et échangeurs, bâtiments industriels en ruine, hôtel rutilant) que dans des espaces de nature, forêts et bords de l’eau. Ils n’échangent entre eux que des bribes de conversations, la jeune femme parle quelques minutes en espagnol sur son portable (histoire de famille en arrière-plan), le garçon profère quelques aphorismes en français. Sinon, peu de dialogues au sens strict du terme, ce qui ne fait qu’accentuer l’espèce de barrière invisible qui sépare ces deux êtres. Une sorte de malaise s’est installé entre eux, que les déserts urbains et les espaces natures touffus ne font qu’amplifier.

Car ce jeune couple semble tout autant installé dans la gêne d’un premier contact (un moment, ils se dévoilent leurs sexes) que dans la fatigue qui amorce leur rupture. L’atmosphère est ambiguë, les enveloppe à la fois de décrépitude et de rutilance. Le film reste suspendu dans cette problématique, aucune solution ou sortie de crise n’est esquissée.

The Edifice est superbement mis en images, les prises de vues au naturel, autant de jour que de nuit, les paysages et les personnages (y inclus les énigmatiques chiens) captés avec sensualité et une sorte de vibration lumineuse très adroite. La bande sonore, pour sa part, est finement travaillée, au point qu’elle offre un contrepoint très riche à l’image. Paroles, bruitages, silences, musiques religieuses ou profanes s’entrelacent en une chaleureuse tapisserie de sons qui donne au film une modernité particulière.

Poème de la quête et de la solitude, The Edifice rend à merveille cet objectif de son réalisateur de faire référence à « une ambiance de tension entre le sacré et le profane », tout comme de donner au réel une dimension « magique » et de hisser le parcours d’un jeune couple au niveau de la mythologie.

Réal La Rochelle
Mai 2011

À ce jour, ce court métrage de fiction de 30 minutes a été présenté deux fois en 2011. D’abord durant les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, le 19 février; ensuite, le 12 mai, au moment du 38e Festival du film de Concordia.

The Edifice @ Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois

Julien Boissaud and Natalia Valencia in The Edifice (2010, 35mm )

Screening as part of PRORAMME LE FOND ET LA FORM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 ~ 14h 30 (2:30pm)
Cinémathèque québécoise
salle Fernand Seguin : 335, boul. de Maisonneuve Est

THE EDIFICE reveals the mysterious road-trip of a man and woman set out to find a plot of land. Within an ambience of sacred/profane tension, nonlinear narrative embraces magical realism as a mythic contemplation of the human condition.

Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois