Two Cases: Cultural vs Commercial

The VoD market took off in the first quarter of 2006. Feature films are the main offerings, yet a couple of services have decided to focus on documentaries. DOX profiles two very different examples.

www.doc-air.com

Owned by: JSAF (organises IDFF Jihlava), a cultural service supported by the Czech ministry of culture and education, the State Fund for the Support of Cinematography and the Visegrad Fund.

Launched: 7 August 2006
Location: Czech Republic
Language: English (a few films in Czech only)
Titles (June 2007): 200, adding 300 a year.
Rights: non-exclusive, world (if possible)
Revenue share: 60% producer / 40% Doc Air
Downloads: approx. 160 streamings / DVD downloads per week
Profile: Creative docs

Interview with Doc-Air Manager Nina Numankadic

133513DOX: “Doc-Air was born to give viewers access to the kind of creative documentaries the International Documentary Film Festival Jihlava shows, also outside of the festival. What would you say is the aim behind the service: to give viewers access to this kind of films or to make money for the filmmakers?”

NN: The main objectives of Doc-Air are to improve the international public’s access to European documentary production, both contemporary and archive; to give a chance to small and independent productions often not seen in theatrical or TV distribution to expand their work, to break through to the international audience; to prolong the Festival- to create access to film festivals selections all year round (not only IDFF Jihlava, but other Festivals as well). Hopefully we will launch this section by the spring 2008.

Part of the future vision that is starting to be realized is also to create a valuable set of high-quality archive documentaries from the whole world – the works that have given a shape to the creative documentary as we perceive it now, including collections of works by outstanding authors.

DOX: “Who do you consider your audience to be? Film professionals or a more general audience?”

NN: Professionals as well as an ordinary audience. The latter are increasingly taking films from the Internet, but there are far fewer documentaries available than fiction films – we have to bring documentaries to their homes. The professionals will be able to more easily look for works and authors that can fit into their distribution strategies, like the digi-cinema networks.

DOX: “How are you making the selection? What are the criteria for the films you select?”

NN: In an attempt to avoid getting lost in the jungle of virtual outlets available everywhere you look, we decided to follow the Jihlava’s Festival tradition in building the Doc-Air profile and identity. Doc-Air films are selected by a festival programme committee, which focuses on films with thematic and aesthetic merit, emphasising socially crucial topics as well as cultural-historical values. At the same time Doc-Air figures as a platform, open for cinematic innovations, experiments, progressive and provocative docs stimulating creative dialogue between filmmakers and audience.

DOX: “Any particular popular titles?”

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