Archive for April 13th, 2007

A Wet Beginning

13th April 2007 by Maura McHugh

The Stage summarises the situation of the Broadway musical, The Pirate Queen, which was created by the Riverdance originators, Moya Doherty and John McColgan.

Based on the life of the 16th-century pirate, Grace O’Malley, the production cost approximately $20 million to stage, and opened to poor reviews from the theatre critics, like this notice from the New York Times, which dubbed it “Oceandance, with Swordplay”.

The Stage estimates that to recoup its investment “it would need to play to full houses at the 1,800-seat Hilton Theatre for three to four years.”

New Ways to Distribute

13th April 2007 by Maura McHugh

There’s an interesting article up on Variety about how the struggles for independent producers/directors to obtain a fair deal–or any deal at all–for the distribution of their films might become easier in the future thanks to online innovations.

The piece focuses on producer Linda Nelson, who wanted to find distribution for her very low-budget film, Shifted.

“We knew we didn’t have the quality to stand up to a theatrical release,” Nelson says. “But we got five offers from DVD distributors.” Nelson, however, was shocked by the deal terms, which were typical: No advance without a star or a decent budget. No piece of the backend. The distributor hangs on to its rights for seven to 10 years. And when they sell the DVD on the Internet via Amazon or Netflix, the distrib takes 25% of the gross and subtracts all expenses, including replicating and supplying DVDs and marketing. (Netflix won’t take any films without a distributor.)

Nelson was amazed, too, by the distributors’ lack of accountability. “They send quarterly reports by country,” she says, “But they don’t tell you how many units they sold. They don’t keep track by film. They don’t have systems or bookkeeping capabilities. There’s no such thing as making money. What you get upfront is what you are going to see.”

But this situation won’t last much longer, Nelson predicts. “Everything is changing,” she says. Any neophyte filmmaker faces a huge puzzle when it comes to selling theatrical, TV and video rights around the world. But it’s nothing the right software can’t solve.

Green Fields for free

13th April 2007 by Maura McHugh

IFTN reports that there will be a free showing of Alan Gilsenan’s WWI documentary, The Green Fields of France next Thursday, 19 April, in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square at 8.15pm. The director will introduce the hour-long film, which honours the Irish men and women who died during World War I.