By Sahil Patel
In September, Vimeo announced plans to exclusively offer feature-length films from the Toronto International Film Festival. To make it happen, Vimeo promised to advance filmmakers $10,000 in exchange for having exclusive rights to distribute their films on Vimeo via the site’s Vimeo On Demand service. The way the deal worked, filmmakers would directly distribute their films to viewers, grabbing 90% of each sale. Once Vimeo had recouped its $10,000 investment, the filmmakers were free to find other places to distribute including Netflix or Amazon.
Today, the company is announcing the 13 films that have agreed to participate in this program. The feature films cover a range of topics, from a comedy set in the ex-pat area of Beijing (“This Is Sanlitun”) to “how day-to-day life can make us lose sight of the big picture” (“The Animal Project”). A film from two-time Sundance winner Alexandre Rockwell (“Little Feet”) is also part of the collection. Here is the full list:
- “Asphalt Watches,” directed by Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver
- “Cinemanovels,” directed by Terry Miles
- “Empire of Dirt,” directed by Peter Stebbings
- “Faroeste Caboclo” (Brazilian Western), directed by René Sampaio
- “Gente en Sitios” (People in places), directed by Juan Cavestany
- “Ladder to Damascus,” directed by Mohamad Malas
- “Little Feet,” directed by Alexandre Rockwelll
- “Palestine Stereo,” directed by Rashid Masharawi
- “Standing Aside Watching,” directed by Yorgos Servetas
- “The Animal Project,” directed by Ingrid Veninger
- “This Is Sanlitun,” directed by Robert I. Douglas
- “Une Jeune Fille” (A Journey), directed by Catherine Martin
- “Wild Duck,” directed by Yannis Sakaridis
“Vimeo is the quality open platform for creators to distribute directly to their audiences,” said Vimeo CEO, Kerry Trainor, in a statement. “The breadth of subjects and number of countries represented by these accomplished filmmakers shows just how powerful the direct distribution movement is becoming worldwide.”
Per Vimeo’s deal with the filmmakers, each film will be available between now and May 2014, beginning with Rockwell’s “Little Feet,” which is currently available for pre-order and will launch on March 21. Viewers will be able to watch the films by purchasing them directly through Vimeo on Demand, or thanks to new in-player transaction support, wherever the Vimeo trailer for “Little Feet” is available online. Once purchased, viewers can watch anywhere the Vimeo platform is available.
As a reminder, the Vimeo On Demand service, which currently offers a catalog of over 5,000 films, gives independent filmmakers a lot of control over how they want to monetize their work. VOD users can set things like price, viewing format (stream or download), and which geographies the film can be made available in.