Company launches online movie service
Gigantic Group is launching an online service bringing firstrun independent films to broadband households, starting with the docu “Motherland” on Aug. 26.The streaming service — priced at $2.99 for three days of unlimited viewing — is aimed at offering indie filmmakers a means of reaching a potential audience for their pics amid limited opportunities for an adequate theatrical release. It plans to release at least four more titles by the end of the year. “As things stand now, financial and market pressures on bricks-and-mortar exhibitors have largely eliminated the possibility of a truly independent film finding its audience or building word of mouth,” said Gigantic prexy Mark Lipsky. “Even with rave reviews, films can be off screens so quickly that the audience has no time to find them. Not only can we keep a film onscreen indefinitely, but we can dramatically extend their reach into the marketplace and grow the audience in areas of the country that have never been exposed to indie films.” Gigantic’s also offering a geographically targeted release, with the ability to hold back from making pics available online in areas where films are playing in theaters — thus avoiding head-to-head competition. Jennifer Steinman’s “Motherland,” produced by Smush Media, won the Audience Award for Emerging Visions at this year’s South by Southwest festival. Docu follows six American women, each grieving the loss of a child, who perform volunteer work with orphaned children in South Africa. “It is the quickest and most intelligent way to get your film into every living room in the U.S.,” Steinman said of the new service. Gigantic said it decided to go ahead with the concept after experimenting with a simultaneous theatrical and online release in February on the documentary “Must Read After My Death,” which opened in Los Angeles and New York.