Last week, I happened across a story online about a new VOD service starting up with an interestingly niche twist. The service is called Brooklyn On Demand. Below is an interview with Joseph Shahadi, Executive Director of The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, who has co created the service.
What is Brooklyn On Demand?
“Brooklyn On Demand is a new pay-per-view hub designed to bring Brooklyn independent films to worldwide audiences. Presented and curated by the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, BKOD showcases award-winning Brooklyn indies on a dedicated channel powered by Vimeo.”
What inspired you to start a VOD site for Brooklyn based artists/audiences?
“We run the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, the only international fest dedicated to Brooklyn indie film —so every year we get to see the best new independents coming out of this scene. Sadly, most indies, no matter how great they are, languish after their festival runs are complete. At the same time we are in the midst of a revolution in on-demand viewing that is changing what distribution means for independent filmmakers. VOD is a powerful tool but a single film can easily be lost in a sea of online content. We wanted to create a branded hub to introduce Brooklyn indies to global audiences and generate revenue for their makers. There are online resources featuring everything from Brooklyn-made small-batch pickles to handmade furniture, but there hasn’t been a central location to stream Brooklyn independent film — until now.”
What is Art of Brooklyn Film Festival and how is this tied in to AoBFF?
“We founded AoBFF in 2011 because Brooklyn needed a major film festival that focused on its vibrant, diverse independent film scene. For the launch of Brooklyn on Demand we featured award-winning AoBFF past selections. Going forward, anyone submitting to the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival will automatically also be considered for BKOD. But we are happy to announce open submissions directly to Brooklyn On Demand for any film that meets our criteria.”
What are the rules about how “Brooklyn” the film needs to be? You say on your site “Brooklyn-born, Brooklyn-based and Brooklyn-centric” filmmakers. What does that mean?
“Although the films on Brooklyn On Demand don’t need to have screened at our festival the criteria are the same: If you are a filmmaker who can demonstrate a connection between your film and Brooklyn, you are welcome to submit. For example:
-Your film was shot in Brooklyn;
-You live and/or work in Brooklyn or have spent formative time here;
-You are from Brooklyn, but now you live elsewhere;
-Your cast, crew or production staff is from Brooklyn;
-Brooklyn is a key inspiration in the creation of your film.
Anyone with questions about eligibility can see the FAQs on our website.”
How is the revenue split? You use Vimeo on Demand so they take 10%, then how is it split? I assume the filmmaker must have the rights to distribute via Vimeo globally?
“After the small fees deducted by Vimeo and PayPal respectively, we split all revenue with the filmmakers 50/50. Filmmakers must have rights to all elements of their films including music in order to participate in Brooklyn On Demand.”
Just so I am clear this isn’t a subscription service, it is transactional?
“Yes. We wanted it to be simple and straightforward to use. Audiences visit the site, browse films and rent or buy whatever they like.”
What is the plan for letting audiences know about the platform? Are you specifically targeting Brooklyn dwellers or globally?
“We are definitely reaching for a global audience. We have already gotten press on BKOD from USA Today and the NY Daily News for our launch. We will continue to promote the platform to national and international press and showcase BKOD films and filmmakers on our blog and social media networks.
One of the advantages of being powered by Vimeo is that our films are also discoverable by their users worldwide.”
Is there curation by your staff or will any film be uploaded? Features, docs and shorts?
“The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival curates BKOD. Films in all genres are welcome to submit.”
How do you submit a film? How much does it cost?
“Filmmakers should use the submissions tab on the Art of Brooklyn site or directly at BrooklynOnDemand.com. Please note that early bird submissions are open for the 2015 AoBFF starting October 1st, so anyone with a film that fits our criteria should send it our way and we will also consider it for BKOD for no additional fee.
But films that meet the criteria and just want to be considered for Brooklyn On Demand can enjoy a discounted submission rate of $15 until December 31st.”
Got a film with a Brooklyn connection? Check out this service
JOSEPH SHAHADI BIO
Joseph Shahadi (Executive Director) has had a long nonprofit career, notably at the W.T. Grant Foundation, The Green Circle Program and the World Game Institute. Most recently he was Festival Coordinator for the DUMBO Dance Festival, where he curated and produced its first ever site-specific works, staged along the Brooklyn waterfront.
Joseph also served on the DUMBO Dance Festival Board of Directors. He earned a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University where he was awarded the Corrigan Doctoral Fellowship and the Performance Studies Award. He contributed a chapter to the book Doomed By Hope: Essays on the Theatre and his scholarship appears in TDR (The Drama Review), the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism—in a special section he also co-edited—and the Journal of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Joseph is also a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, director and dramaturg. He makes video, photographs, installations, live art and works on paper. His work appears in several private collections and has been exhibited in New York, regionally in the United States and internationally in Europe.
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