by Jim Ridley
Is East Nashville Tonight, the rangy Elizabeth Cook-Todd Snider documentary-turned-weed-impaired-fuckaround screening 7:15 tonight at The Belcourt, "the future of DIY film distribution?" That's what BOND360 CEO Marc Schiller argued recently in a conversation with Indiewire columnist Anne Thompson:
Back in February, [Brad and Todd Barnes] attempted to shoot a documentary about the lives of Todd Snider, Elizabeth Cook and other touring songwriters residing in the burgeoning East Nashville neighborhood. Well, they failed. Drugs and booze took over. What they ended up with is the comedy "East Nashville Tonight." Earlier this year the film premiered to sold out audiences at the 2013 Nashville Film Festival and will officially debut on November 18 at a one-night only Nashville screening and concert with all-star group Elmo Buzz and the Eastside Bulldogs, featuring Snider and Cook.
And BOND360 will release the film exclusively to fans on November 19 via the film's website. This is a small-scale pilot test, as Schiller experiments with bypassing the usual big retail outlets to see what can be done by marketing films directly to fans. Why go searching around through google and multiple clicks to find a movie you can stream, when you can go directly to the film's website and get it there? Why not preorder a film as soon as you hear about it, and agree to pay more for bonus content if you want it? Fans are coming to store that looks like a website. Which means "the analytics are huge," says Schiller. "It's a goldmine, making my data smarter as a market publicist and distributor. I know how many people bought 'East Nashville Tonight' from reading the article on The Playlist website, whether or not the PR was good for awareness, and which PR hit made the most revenue for the filmmaker," Schiller says. "Not only will this be the future, but it has to be the future."
Tickets remain for tonight's screening/concert and are $20 at the door. More information here.