The allure of the streaming model for filmmakers is easy to understand. Scraping together financing from a handful of production companies, distributors, and investors is tedious, time-consuming, and most importantly, fragile. If any one of those links in the chain should bail on the project or go under, you either have to adjust your movie to meet that budget shortfall or scramble to find it elsewhere. Being able to develop a project with the full support and distribution network at your disposal is an enticing possibility. And while Netflix has blazed the path, Amazon is not far behind. They have Spike Lee developing the feature "Chiraq," while Jean-Pierre Jeunet is working on the series "Casanova." And now it seems they have signed up two more filmmakers.
Completely buried in a report by Deadline, they reveal that Jim Jarmusch and Terry Gilliam have inked movie deals with the company once known just for selling books. And that’s all the news there is. But what could those projects be? Last we heard from Jarmusch, he had a script ready to go about a bus driver and poet in Paterson, New Jersey. And according to a more recent interview, it would appear that movie is getting ready to shoot very soon. "I’m preparing a new feature film for next fall that will be filmed here in New York and New Jersey," he told Soundcheck in February. And he’s even getting the musical elements together.
"I’m just in the early stages of exploring the possibilities of a kind of electronic score, which I never used before," Jarmusch explained. "Something is pulling me toward that because I love a lot of electronic music and I haven’t used it in a film really."
"I would say from Cluster to [Brian] Eno," he added about the kind of music he’s looking at. "I don’t know if you know Fuck Buttons. Some variety of things that interests me. I like Detroit House and all kinds of electronic aberrations so I’m not exactly sure but I want music that floats along. I don’t want a heavy beat — maybe no rhythm at all. I’m not sure yet."
It’s tremendously exciting stuff and hopefully there’s more news very soon. As for Gilliam, we can only imagine (and hope) that Amazon is the savior of his forever gestating and frequently delayed "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote."
We shall see, but it looks like Amazon is ready to be recognized as a player with just as much might as Netflix.