Fresh from an announcement earlier this year that they would be entering the first-run digital market, Gigantic Digital Cinema has developed a deal with distributor First Run Features to release their award-winning feature “Bliss” online simultaneous with the New York release. The August 7th digital release will initially only be available for those outside the New York metropolitan area and other areas where the film is booked theatrically, to provide exclusivity for the theaters. This block will continue on until at least two weeks after the film’s theatrical run.
This is the first deal with an established distribution company for Gigantic Digital Cinema, which announced earlier that they would be releasing the feature documentary “Motherland” August 26 in the same way with the film’s production company Smuch Media. Marc Mauceri, VP of First Run Features, noted, in a statement, that “It’s quite an honor to be working with Mark Lipsky, one of the original gurus of Indie film,” He continued, “We’re very excited to be working with Mark and Gigantic in releasing ‘Bliss’ online nationally. Making the film available to audiences outside the usual arthouse stongholds will bring much-deserved attention and exposure to this superb film.” Gigantic Digital Cinema streams films commercial-free for a ticket price of $2.99.
“Bliss” (“Mutluluk”), produced and directed by Abdullah Oğuz, is one of the first narrative films to tackle the highly charged subject of honor killings. Based on the acclaimed 2002 novel by Ömer Zülfü Livaneli (published in 2006 in the U.S. by St. Martin’s Press), and set against the backdrop of Turkey’s natural wonders, the film has collected rave reviews and a long list of awards worldwide. An unconventional road movie, “Bliss” pits tradition against modernity, urban against rural and East against West when a 17-year old girl is believed to have been sexually ‘tarnished.’ When she refuses to take her own life to uphold her family’s honor, a distant cousin just out of the military is charged with the duty of killing her.
And, earlier this week, Lipsky generated blog buzz when Deadline Hollywood Daily published a letter he recently sent to AMPAS president Sid Ganis, challenging an Academy documentary category rule bars films from screening on TV or online for 60 days after it completes a seven-day qualifying run in NY or LA.