Film Constellation, the London-based production, finance and sales company, ventured into new grounds amid the coronavirus crisis, and hosted the first online industry premiere for Gabriel Range’s young David Bowie origin film “Stardust” last week.
The movie, which was supposed to debut at Tribeca, gathered more than 300 buyers and select press for its online premiere on an invite-only platform on April 15.
The screening was introduced by an interactive live video presentation on Zoom with writer/director Gabriel Range and stars Johnny Flynn, Marc Maron and Jena Malone who candidly shared thoughts and anecdotes about the movie from their homes.
“It was a first in many ways, and arguably one of the most attended market screenings I have experienced. With over 300 buyers tuning in simultaneously, watching the cast introduce the film Live, seeing who else was in the room, pretty much like in a real market situation,” said Fabien Westerhoff, the founder of Film Constellation.
“As festivals are getting canceled one after another, we decided to innovate and embrace the idea of
bringing the industry together to celebrate the film remotely, but in live conditions,” said Westerhoff.
The executive said he was still looking forward to introducing the film to a “public festival audience in the fall, when the circuit comes to life again.”
Putting together this online industry premiere was a challenge because there wasn’t a ready-made tool available to manage a live stream, a private premiere destination and a screening room.
“We had to built it all in-house, combining Zoom technology with its screening technology partner i2i Media and a curated premiere site designed by our marketing team,” said Westerhoff, who predicted that more of these events will be staged in the run up to Cannes’ digital market.
The company has successfully orchestrated a similar initiative in late March for “Relic,” the Emily Mortimer-starring horror movie which had its world premiere at Sundance and was supposed to go on to SXSW Film Festival. Film Constellation had hosted an international screening for “Relic” on an open dedicated website.
“Stardust” is set in 1971, when a 24-year-old Bowie embarks on his first trip to America, only to be met with a world not yet ready for him. The film reveals the inspirations and life events that gave birth to Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, charting the transformation of one of the world’s greatest cultural icons.
Film Constellation is currently in talks for several territories and has already pre-sold the film to Elevation (Canada), FilmWelt (Germany), Culture Convenience Club (Japan), Icon (Australia), California Film (Latin America), Falcon Films (Middle East), Noori Pictures (Taiwan/Hong-Kong), PVR (India), Outsiders (Portugal), Russian Wold Vision (Russia), Captive Entertainment Airlines.
Film Constellation financed the film with Salon Pictures and Wilding Pictures as an official UK-Canadian coproduction, with the support of Telefilm and equity investment by Piccadilly Pictures.