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B-Side Finds “Manifesto” Ahead of SXSW; Follows Recent Trends In Online Distribution

B-Side Finds "Manifesto" Ahead of SXSW; Follows Recent Trends In Online Distribution

B-Side Entertainment, based in Austin, has announced the first film to be released through its distribution arm. Brett Gaylor’s copyright and content creation law doc “RiP: A Remix Manifesto,” which will screen at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, has been acquired by B-Side. They will handle the US theatrical release while Disinformation will release on DVD. The doc’s producers, Eye Steele Productions. and the National Film Board of Canada, will additionally partner with B-Side on the release.

“This film, and the way we are distributing it, is about important issues that affect arts and culture worldwide,” commented NFB Commissioner Tom Perlmutter, in a statement. “At the NFB we see documentary film as a platform to break through all types of issues; we want RiP! to foster growth and discussion for all artists and creators across the digital universe and are quite enthusiastic to make RiP! the most accessible film ever.”

The film essentially explores the legal and artistic ramifications of the mash-up. “I wanted to document and explore the war of ideas between those who want to share ideas – the Copyleft – and those who want to lock up ideas – the copyright,” Gaylor said in an interview with indieWIRE upon the film’s world premiere at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema in Montreal last November.

Using mash-up artist Girl Talk as an entry point into his film, Gaylor cohesively and emotionally discusses the sweeping topics of intellectual property and remix culture. “We made the film in collaboration with the Open Source Cinema community,” Gaylor said in November. “[It’s] a remix website launched so that peers could remix and contribute to the film. We posted our raw footage under a Creative Commons license, and asked people to remix it around key themes. The resulting work was then included in the film – the goal is for these stages of remixing to continue throughout our festival release, and then once the film moves from “beta” to 1.0 – that we release it to the web.”

The promise will be kept through “RiP”‘s deal with B-Side, as it will additionally be streamed via www.opensourcecinema.org and www.nfb.ca, where viewers can watch the film or remix it.

“We want RiP! to be an evolving conversation about intellectual property in the digital age and to that end we’re making the film remix able to ensure that the ‘audience’ is now an active part in the creation of the film,” Gaylor said in a statement yesterday. “RiP! is an attempt to move beyond the traditional relationship of producer and consumer – we want to recognize that this passive era is over.”

In addition to the U.S. distribution partners, the film has multiple international multi-platform distribution deals in place. In Canada, Kinosmith is the distributor for the theatrical and DVD sales. The broadcast partners are the Documentary Channel and Canal D in Canada. International broadcasters on this project include, YLE in Finland; SBS in Australia, TV3 Catalunya in Spain and Yes- DBS Satellite Service (1998) in Israel – who all have plans to put a version of the film online as well as broadcast it in their own language.

In regard to B-Side, this deal comes two months after Paola Freccero left her post at the Tribeca Film Festival to join head the company’s newly launched distribution division. The unit planned to distribute independent films nationally to what it describes as “a wide variety of outlets including theatrical and non-theatrical venues, via online and on-demand platforms, television networks and on DVD with low-cost, high-impact marketing campaigns.” The company’s CEO and founder Chris Hyams said that the initiative will be financed through a $4.25 million investment led by Valhalla Partners.

B-Side’s acquisition of “RiP” marks another SXSW-related deal with unique distribution plans. A few weeks ago, it was announced that the world premiere of co-directors Clark Lyda and Jesse Lyda’s documentary “The Least of These” will take place simultaneously at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival and online. SXSW and distribution partners SnagFilms, IndiePix, and Cinema Guild announced their plan to have the film simultaneously premiere online on March 16 via SnagFilms and be presented at SXSW, followed by online, physical and semi-theatrical distribution by IndiePix and Cinema Guild.

In January, IFC Films unveiled a plan to simultaneously release Joe Swanberg’s new film, “Alexander The Last,” on VOD simultaneous with its world premiere at SXSW. Four other SXSW ‘09 titles will also screen on-demand via IFC Festival Direct, concurrent with the fest.

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