tao films – The tao website

A major step forward has been taken yesterday with the finalisation of our logo and the set-up of our website. There’s nothing much to see for the moment apart from our logo, the launch day and a link to the GoFundMe page. But oh boy, this looks as zen as I had imagined 🙂

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 08.19.02

Please help me share the website (http://tao-films.com) and promote it. It would greatly help the cause. And please do remember that the Call for Films is still open, and that we’re still seeking financial support for our VoD platform. You can also now follow us on Twitter via @TaoFilmsVoD. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

tao films VoD – Further info

I would like to use the time to explain a little more about the VoD platform. Things have developed quite a bit since I posted the original project description online. I also think that a great deal of people (including filmmakers) don’t read it 🙂 So maybe it’s a good opportunity right now to describe the forthcoming platform for which we are seeking the support of the people on GoFundMe, in more personal terms. This is what the platform is; a personal project, not a matter of business.

tao films VoD will go live on 1 January. It is a platform which seeks to support underrepresented or even completely unknown filmmakers, whose aesthetics are very much contemplative. There will be feature films, short films, and even experimental installation pieces. There will be films from Mexico, films from Thailand, films from Morocco, films from all corners of the world.

My intention is it to show films which have no distribution (yet). This does not mean that the films can’t run on festivals. Of course, they can. Festivals are fantastic opportunities, and I wouldn’t prevent anyone from experiencing this. But we do seek to have exclusive rights for 3 consecutive months during which the film should not be shown on any other platform.

The VoD is not meant to be the end of a film screened. I know that when a film is shown on VoD, it has usually finished its theatrical run. This is not what I’m interested in. In many ways, I think, the VoD could be the beginning of something new, something larger. The platform will generate exposure for the films, so if something else comes out of it, I’d be very proud and happy to support the filmmakers in every way I can.

I envision the forthcoming tao films VoD as a community project. It is not my project, or that of me and my brother. Yes, we’re hosting the films and prepare everything for their streaming. But we ask the filmmakers to join in. In the end, they know their work best. For instance, the filmmakers will be asked to upload their films, enter information about their work and about themselves.

Filmmakers and hosts work together to make this platform happen, which I believe is the way forward if you want to have a lively community, a sort of friendship, and not a model which is based on profit and nothing else. We will also make it possible for the viewer to contact the featured directors directly, in the hope that this encourages a vibrant community. I’m sure viewers will be interested in this, and the platform will be less anonymous than all the others we know. There will be a direct link between us, the artists and the viewers. I see us as a family, and nothing less.

The platform will have pay-per-view and free content. The free content will be accessible in form of a permanent collection. A sort of pool of all kinds of shorts – I mean short shorts – or films that are already showing for free on other platforms. Then there will be pay-only content, which features feature and short films. At the moment, the costs are set for 4,99€ per feature film and 0,99€ per short film. But this is not confirmed and may change. The pay-only content will change every three months, and the films will then be deleted from our servers.

Everyone involved will profit in the same way from the platform. tao films VoD will not be a competition. We’re all working together on this. Hosts and the filmmakers involved receive an equal percentage of the money the VoD platform makes every month. tao films VoD will be the most equal distribution method you can probably find. 

I’m still waiting for confirmation about the registration of “tao films” as trademark. But what I can say for sure already is that I have tried to register the name for film distribution, film production, exhibitions, book publishing, journal publishing, photography work, and more.

The logo is in the works. The contracts will be up for debate amongst the chosen filmmakers any day now. As I said, it’s a community, and I want this to be a fair distribution vehicle. If the filmmakers can help, then I’m more than happy to listen to them to make the platform better and fairer for all.

And now it starts to sound like a political speech, which is why I should stop myself 🙂 I just live for the project. I don’t like describing it. But feel free to contact me and ask questions, especially if you’re a filmmaker! Drop me an email via theartsofslowcinema@gmail.com

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema Trailer N° 1

A week after I set up the crowdfunding campaign for The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform, I have put together a first showreel. This trailer contains extracts of five films already chosen for the platform. This will give you a first impression of the material I have chosen, but more is to come.

Please consider helping out, and helping me to make this VoD platform happen.

https://www.gofundme.com/theartofslowcinema

Please help – The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD

As part of the set up of the forthcoming The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform, I have started a crowdfunding campaign, which seeks to cover current labour costs and costs of the server, payment provider and content delivery network. Every small contribution helps. And you even get a voucher code for a curated theme of your choice! 🙂

Please spread the message. Please consider donating. Please make this platform happen!

On behalf of the involved artists, thank you, thank you, and thank you.

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Slow Cinema VoD – Update (3)

Today, I would like to list the directors whose works I have chosen for The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD. These directors have submitted their films after the first call for films, or I have asked them whether they’d be interested in the project. That these names appear here today does not mean that the Call for Films is now over. It remains an open call. I simply want to announce the first batch of participants.

Yesterday, I finished watching the submissions. For some films, I only needed to see the first frame and my decision was clear. For others, I had to let the film do its work on me before I could decide whether it would be good to include it or not. From the submissions I have received since January, I have chosen the majority. Let me give you the names now before I continue with my thoughts on them:

Simo Ezoubeiri, Sebastian Cordes, Yulene Olaizola, Michela Occhipinti*, Félix Dufour-Laperrière, Tito Molina, Felipe Guerrero, Zhengfan Yang, Homer Etminani, Pablo Lamar*, Christos Gkotsis, Martin Meija, Liryc de la Cruz, Shengze Zhu, Yotam Ben-David, Miguel Hilari, Jaime Grijalba, Allison Chhorn, José Fernandes, Diego Amando Moreno Garza, Jenni Olson, Martynas Kundrotas, Blaz Kutin, Mark John Ostrowski, Sorayos Prapapan, Yarr Zabratski, Peter Sant, Oren Contrell, Mirac Atabey, Dina Yanni, Nandan Rado, Kevin Pontuti, Scott Barley, Mikel Guillen, Lois Patino*, Tiara Kristiningtyas*, Panahbarkhoda Rezaee*, Salvatore Insana, Manjeet S. Gill, Ion Indolean, Yefim Tovbis, Regina Danino, Krishnendu Sarkar, Karel Tuytschaever.

Those names which are labelled with a stars are not 100% certain yet. I’m trying my best to chase up the directors (or find them!), but I haven’t yet been successful. If you can help in any way, please let me know.

Some filmmakers have submitted more than one film. There is a great mixture of amateurs and “professional” filmmakers. I have an almost even number of feature and short films, which is fantastic. I thought that I would receive more short films than anything else, but this is not the case.

The chosen films are either made in, or the directors come from the following countries:

Mexico, USA, Canada, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Belgium, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, UK, Turkey, Austria, Morocco, Australia, India, China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand. 

Unfortunately, there is only one film from Africa so far, but I’m nonetheless proud that the Call for Films has attracted films from all continents. I had always hoped this would be a global platform. Obviously, I couldn’t influence the film submissions. Yet there was the risk that I would end up with films from predominantly Western countries. Another fear which was unfounded. South America is very strong, a fact I like most. I’ve always had a strong feeling that there are plenty slow films being made in South American countries. I have three films from Mexico so far. Not a surprise, if I see the countries general output of good arthouse cinema.

This morning, I set up a Facebook group for all directors who have been chosen from the first batch of submissions. From now on, there will be a direct and quick contact between me and them regarding the project development. New members will be added as we go along with the project.

One final point, we have Cinéma Fragile on board, a French film collective focusing on film haikus. Their films are freely available on Vimeo. They will remain free, but The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD will show them, too.

Any questions? Any more films? Please contact me!

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

Slow Cinema VoD – Update (2)

Here’s a brief update on how things stand with the upcoming The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform.

Work is going on at three fronts at the moment. First of all, I’ve been trying to find a decent payment provider, whose HQ is in Europe (for legal reasons) and who doesn’t take extortionate commissions on transactions. There are some who only accept credit cards which wouldn’t be useful. Others operate only in certain countries, or on certain continents. At the moment, we’re looking at a Dutch and a Danish company. They both sound good, though the latter only deals with payments from within Europe and they recommended we should speak to a separate provider for non-European payments. Some of you may suggest PayPal, but PayPal’s commissions are pretty high. If we can avoid it, we should. Besides, PayPal is American. We want to avoid this, if at all possible.

Second, the programming is continuing. One important thing I should mention is the subject of geo-blocking, which pops up in the news again and again. Sadly enough, geo-blocking is common practice. This goes for all kinds of online players, including VoD platforms by national state televisions. MUBI, for instance, does a similar thing. Now that I’m in France, the choice of films is pretty lousy compared to the choice I had in the UK. Besides, films only come in French or with French subtitles. If you’re not familiar with the language (say, you have just moved for instance), you cannot watch the films. A monthly subscription would be a waste. When I was in Brussels for two months, all I could see on MUBI were films in Dutch or with Dutch subtitles. Useless to me. I don’t speak a word of Dutch. Geo-blocking is a problem nowadays. With regards to The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD, we think that building walls online restricts the access to a form of culture which should have its doors open to everyone. Why should you be able to watch film X only if you’re in a certain country? Everyone should have the right to see it. The Slow Cinema VoD platform will make this possible.

Last but not least, from the first batch of submissions I have chosen 30 films. This is a higher number than I expected at the beginning. Most of them are short films. A third of them are feature-length films, which I’m trying to get more of. It would be nice to showcase two feature films per curated “season” plus a package of short films. But this obviously depends on the submissions I receive. For two films I need to check the legal grounds because the directors are bound by a contract with IFFR Unleashed.

Speaking of which: I have contacted the people behind IFFR Unleashed about their project. Every year, some films from IFFR are selected for VoD streaming via iTunes and Google Play. I wasn’t aware of this. It’s a good idea in any case, though I do believe that some films, especially those slow films I have in mind, would benefit from a more focused platform than the vast mainstream-driven platforms by Apple and Google. I’m currently waiting for a response and hope that they are at least willing to speak to me about it.

This is it for now. As per usual, I’d like to renew the Call for Films which you can find here. Just keep them coming. And keep making them too! 🙂

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

Slow Cinema VoD – Update (1)

As promised, a first, rather brief update, about how things are developing regarding the forthcoming (oh, I’m super excited!) Slow Cinema VoD platform.

Two weeks ago, I took the first step considering the technicalities behind the idea of setting up the platform. The Art(s) of Slow Cinema now has its own server, which will host both the VoD service and this blog which will move later this year. The server will also be the place where all data is stored, including payment information. So, the basis is present and correct.

My brother, who’s the genius behind the whole technical stuff, is now working on the structure that will allow the filmmakers, who have been chosen for a certain curated theme, to upload their films. As noted in the project description, the filmmakers will do their share of work. They upload their films themselves (at least for the beginning, we’ll see if that really works out this way), they enter all relevant information about their films for the viewer, and they will give a brief biography of themselves.

This is what’s being worked on for now. It will take a good couple of weeks after which we can test the upload function of the VoD platform. There is no date for that yet, but I’ll keep you posted. If all goes well, and my proposal is accepted, I will briefly speak about my work – my blog, my VoD platform – in London at the Slow Cinema symposium. Fingers crossed!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the Slow Cinema VoD project description and here’s the Call for Films.

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD – Project Description

Here it is, as promised – a little later than I had hoped for but better late than never! Please find the full project description of the forthcoming The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform in the link at the end of this post.

I reckon that the basic idea behind the VoD platform has been clear for a while. What has changed during my trip to Berlin is the thought of creating a curated platform, meaning that for two or three months, The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD will focus on a particular theme, for instance architecture, or experimental film, or short films. Whatever comes to mind, and whatever fits to the film submissions I’m receiving. The focus on curation allows me to breathe because what I do not want is chasing films all day long only in order to get the platform running. This goes against the slow work – good quality ethics I’m pursuing 🙂

In the end, very much depends on the films I’m receiving and how many films I’m receiving. I would therefore like to renew the Call for Films, in case you haven’t seen it yet.

You can find the full project description here. Please read this if you’re interested in taking part in this VoD platform, and get in touch if you have questions or even films!

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.

 

Call for Films!

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema is looking for slow, contemplative films for its forthcoming video-on-demand platform!

The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform is an extension of the website of the same name. It seeks to promote hand-picked little to entirely unknown slow films, whose directors struggle to find adequate distribution for their work. At the same time, through the purchase of viewing access and/or DVDs, the platform seeks to support the directors’ new works financially.

I’m looking for films which place emphasis on the art of slow looking; films which allow the viewer to take his/her time with a subject; films which observe life in detail; films which show the everyday in ordinary simplicity and rendering it extraordinary; films which allow the subject matter to breathe, to develop; films very much in the vain of what I’ve been writing about for the last three years. I’m looking for the new, yet unknown generation of slow-film directors from around the world.

If you have a short or feature film, or even a poetic documentary that you think may qualify in the context of Slow/Contemplative Cinema, please get in touch. Also, if you know someone who has a suitable film, please ask him/her to get in touch (theartsofslowcinema@gmail.com).

And please spread this message widely.

Please note that films which have already secured distribution will not be considered for this project.

Many thanks for all the films that have been sent to me already and I’m looking forward to seeing many more!

Edit: This is a call without a deadline. Whenever you feel like you have a film ready, please submit it and I’ll take a look at it!

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.