10 STREAMING MEDIA July/August 2017
behind the screens
How Netflix and Amazon Are Changing the Indie Movie Business
one way for 30 years, snapping into a new model doesn’t happen overnight.
“It’s disruptive, but I think at the end of the
day, for independent filmmakers it’s positive
because there’s more opportunity and there’s
more money out there to get projects made,
which is exciting,” Callif says.
Whither the Cinema?
These first-timer deals are part of a larger
evolution in how people watch movies and
how subscription services are changing a
century-old experience. Consider the drama
at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where the
two most-talked-about movies—Okja and The
Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)—were
both Netflix originals, and neither would be going to theaters. The powers-that-be at Cannes
weren’t thrilled with their festival being part
of Netflix’s marketing arm, and ruled that next
year streaming-only content will be ineligible
for competition. They want to promote the theatrical experience. That makes the festival far
less attractive to Netflix, so insiders are curious whether or not it will return.
With home viewing rising and consumers
binge-watching themselves through the new
golden age of TV (all thanks to streaming services), box office ticket sales have ebbed substantially. Some wonder if movie theaters have
a future. Callif believes the theater experience
will never vanish since too many people enjoy
it. The rise of streaming music services didn’t
totally kill CDs, and CDs didn’t totally kill vinyl.
People will still want the theater experience,
she says, although theaters might not be as
prominent as they once were both culturally and economically. The indie movie crowd
will feel it more, since people are more likely
to turn to theaters for big-money special effects blockbusters. Although with the quality
of home theaters increasing, even that will feel
some of the pinch.
For first-time filmmakers, Callif says there’s
no one correct path. Does the filmmaker have
investors and loans that need to be repaid?
That’s the most important factor, since paying
back investors makes it easier to get funding for
future projects. Filmmakers also need to consider how much marketing push the services
and Bryan Fogel
in Icarus, which
[Photo credit: Netflix]