Technology has transformed the film industry considerably. With digital cable and various online video on demand services such as Itunes and Amazon, there are now more ways than ever to view films. This has cultivated a huge market for independent film, and it has changed the mainstream film industry. In an era where film festivals continue to have increasing importance on the direction the industry takes, it was only a matter of time before film festivals more completely integrated themselves with the internet. The first to do this is NuHo Online Film Festival. NuHo Film Festival runs from, from Feb. 7, 2014-Feb. 28, 2014. Spike Lee is NuHo’s keynote speaker.
The founders of NuHo are entertainment industry veterans. CEO Keith Mitchell, an University of Michigan Alumnus is a screenwriter and a producer. Chris Kanik, the managing partner, has a BA in economics from Cornell University and is a comic. Keith Mitchell has written the scripts for sports films such as Eddie (starring Whoopi Goldberg) and Mr. 3000 (starring Bernie Mac). These two men bring their a combination of talent and experience to NuHo Film Festival. Chris Kanik recently had this to say about the films that are available at NuHo this year. ” Both Dirty, the documentary on Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Coldwater, a psychological thriller by critically acclaimed director Dave Parker, are unique to NuHo. Aside from those titles, we have a program of very high quality films that have been selected to other notable film festivals like Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and Cannes.” From its inception NuHo has attracted major filmmakers and talent.
NuHo Film Festival is a hybrid between a film festival and online distribution. NuHo recently launched in the fall of 2013. Unlike festivals, NuHo Film Festival shares revenue with filmmakers. So not only does NuHo seek to gain major exposure for filmmakers, they are able to earn income from it in the process. NuHo’s approach is quite innovative in incorporating technology and online distribution with the film festival approach. It will be interesting to see the effects that it has on film festivals and on the film industry itself. Audiences will be able to listen to discussion panels, interact with filmmakers, and meet industry people. Chris Kanik explains what NuHo uniquely offers audiences:
“We offer a unique experience for anyone who has ever wanted to attend a great film festival like Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW or Cannes but has never had the opportunity. NuHo provides viewers the opportunity to interact with filmmakers, watch great Q&A panels, industry panels and watch great films from wherever they are.
And, unlike the films on Netflix, Hulu or any other service – the films on our slate have not been distributed yet. They have not seen inside a theatre except for special screenings and other film festivals. We have made the exclusivity of a destination film festival non-exclusive by allowing the entire world screen our films. Our hope is that our filmmakers will gain exposure and get a traditional distribution deal from this.”
Online audiences will love a platform which allows the public greater access into the film industry, and at the same time allows views to see quality films. NuHo’s incorporation of technology and platform makes the film festival process a whole lot less location dependent. Filmmakers no longer have to wait until they secure traditional distribution to earn revenue from their films. This is important as making a film is a huge investment, so any opportunity to earn that money back is a huge plus for filmmakers.