You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Bass Ackwards and the YouTube/Sundance Experiment

Bass Ackwards and the YouTube/Sundance Experiment

Today, I plunked down $3.99 to watch Linas Philips’s “Bass Ackwards,” premiering in Sundance’s NEXT section, on YouTube. This is the first time I’ve ever paid money to watch something online — notwithstanding my Netflix subscription — so I’d say this is a major coup for the publicity and filmmaking team behind the movie. “Bass Ackwards” producer Thomas Woodrow is a persuasive sort, and when he vigorously argued to me that they would treat “Sundance itself as the theatrical campaign” and make the movie simultaneously available on all platforms, I bought the pitch, literally. (Since I talked to Woodrow and wrote about the film for Filmmaker Magazine (When Does Plan B Become Plan A? Few Sundance Filmmakers Brave Alternative Distribution Paths), I was probably more invested than your average movie-consumer, but so be it. Last I checked, the movie had 63 views after being available for about three-quarters of a day.

I have little doubt that this approach is the best commercially for the film–the decidedly lo-fi, offbeat, rambling road-trip story of a slacker looking for direction in his life would not fare well in theaters.

But I still have my doubts about the cinema experience of watching a movie streaming on my computer. There’s too many potential distractions and I had a number of brief streaming pauses–visual hiccups (what’s the 21st century terminology for this?). Also, comedy doesn’t translate as well at home verses a theater with a bunch of people. There’s an early sequence that shows the protagonist working briefly at an Alpaca farm–for my money, one of the movie’s best scenes. And while I snickered out loud during a moment where the character asks for love from a hungry alpaca, I suspect this bit gets big laughs in a theater–which would have been far more satisfying, not just for the audience, but the filmmakers, as well.

This Article is related to: Uncategorized



I think film loses some of its intimacy without the cinematic experience – watching in the theater and sharing the thrills, chills, laughs, tears with fellow movie goers (even if they are rude enough to answer their cell phones)

However, I do value the convenience of watching on a computer, but it’s too damn distracting (an email here, an IM there, pause, buffering, tweets) and we lose the commitment to the film.

I love movies. I love convenience. One day we’ll find a happy medium.


I Personally, feel cheated. I watched “Strays” for free on you tube because I was not interested in it enough to pay for it. However when its free I figured what the hell, and turns out it wasn’t half bad. I would of never payed even $1.00 for pauses and the other idiosyncrasies involved in streaming. To me this is the cost of free movies.

Bryan Land

Watching a movie on a laptop with a decently sized screen and headphones is an intimate experience. I think it’s more immersive than the big cinema screen. Better yet, portable. DVD technology helped usher in quality viewing at home. Now its just getting better. Going to see a ninety minute film at the theater can take most of your day somehow. Now you have streaming and digital downloads. Convenient and sharp. Love it.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *