Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

PUMit & Crowdstarter Push Into the DIY Distribution and Self-Marketing Game

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire November 20, 2012 at 12:52PM

Add the bare-bones DIY platform PUMit to the growing list of potential solutions for filmmakers looking to self-distribute their films.
0
Arthur Kane in "New York Doll"
Arthur Kane in "New York Doll"

Add the bare-bones DIY platform PUMit to the growing list of potential solutions for filmmakers looking to self-distribute their films.

It works quite simply. After downloading a majority of the film's file by clicking on a download URL, any viewer can get the proper license to watch the film (it's a very small bit of code that is easily downloadable in low-bandwidth environments such as airplanes) after paying for it via PayPal. For the filmmakers, the service is accessed with a $30/month subscription. The license that the consumer buys is valid for at least six months after the filmmaker cancels his membership with PUMit.

READ MORE: Self-Distributing Indie Filmmakers Get a Shot at a Theatrical Run Courtesy of IFP and Brooklyn's ReRun Theater

Like many self-distribution tools, PUMit benefits greatly -- almost depends on -- a robust audience-development strategy. So the PUMit team, working with Crowdstarter, a company devoted to identifying and mobilizing audiences, has worked with a few specific film projects to help launch the service.

One of these is Greg Whiteley's "New York Doll," a documentary about New York Dolls bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane, who converted to Mormonism because of his struggles with alcohol, drugs and suicide. As the band contemplated reuniting, Kane died suddenly of leukemia in 2004. The following year, "New York Doll" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the grand jury prize for best U.S. documentary.

READ MORE: 'Detropia' Filmmakers Explain DIY Distribution and How the Sundance Institute Artist Services Program Works

A few weeks ago, Whiteley regained the rights to his film and launched an online distribution campaign. He's selling the film through PUMit for $3, and with the help of Crowdstarter he's been tapping into deep networks of New York Dolls fans to help get the word out about the re-release. By using the Facebook pages of the New York Dolls and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, Whiteley was able to launch a contest where referrals could be tracked and customers with high numbers of referrals could get autographed merchandise and other prizes related to the film.

PUMit's head of business development Olivier Pfeffier notes that by using the service filmmakers are in greater control of their digital goods and consumers have a closer relationship with the product and its maker. "The flexibility of this technology is a total asset," says Pfeffier. "Fans can re-sell their goods, and we have the technology to track that. We can help consumers promote and re-sell what they download. They are able to send the link to a friend, and if their friend buys from their link, they get a cut. The secure distribution technology is a total asset."

Crowdstarter's Paola Freccero says that convincing filmmakers of the effectiveness of the no-frills, low-risk self-distribution option that PUMit offers is one thing but that self-promotion remains a bigger obstacle. "Fillmmakers are very unclear about direct-to-fan marketing," Freccero says. "They wonder if they're allowed to do it in light of other deals they're striking. Filmmakers are trained to see it as a last resort. That's a shame, frankly. No other retailer in the world sees marketing direct to their consumers as something to avoid."

Self-distribution technologies like PUMit have been proliferating over the past few months. Vimeo recently launched various initiatives to allow filmmakers to get paid for their work, and companies such as VHX are helping filmmakers build out marketplaces on their own websites. It remains to be seen to what extent consumers will find these films and just how well filmmakers can monetize their work as these new technologies gain ground.

This article is related to: VOD, Filmmaker Toolkit: Distribution, DIY Distribution, New York Doll, PUMit






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More