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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ira Deutchman says...

ira deutchman

Ira has been making, marketing and distributing films for 31 years. So he knows his stuff. I won't name all his credits now, but here is his IMDB page. He now runs Emerging Pictures which is a distributor for independent films that specialises in use new techniques in getting films seen. He says...

"With the advent of digital distribution there is simply no excuse for distributors to justify the current economic model".

Why does he say that? And does that mean he sees no future in theatrical? In this post I'll highlight Ira's points for why theatrical / big screen entertainment is hanging in there. In the next post I'll highlight Ira's views on how to lift ticket sales.

He lists 4 factors that influence audiences decisions on how they will see a film.
  • Convienience
  • The Experience
  • Price
  • Choice of films

Put theatrical cinema next to that list.
  • Convienience - low, you have to travel
  • The Experience - big screen is good, audience could be good, but could be bad, jury is out on quality of the cinema itself
  • Price - very high
  • Choice of films - average to crap

So why does it survive? Ira says 3 reasons. So here are his 3 reasons why cinema is still alive when economics say it should probably be dead or dying:
  • Theatrical releases still get noticed by the press. DVD / on-line doesn't.
  • A theatrical release is a great advert of the DVD - even for people who don't actually see it on the big screen
  • Film makers themselves - they love it.

I say...
I'd add one more thing to Ira's list. I think distributors themselves are as 'romantic' as film makers. If Ira was more of a hard nosed businessman he might conclude that he should dump screenings. But I bet he never would.

If you want more detail on these ideas then below is a video uploaded by Arin from the film2.0 project Four Eyed Monsters who was also in the audience at this talk.

Photo from Miami IFF.
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