For years, the festival circuit has been an essential consideration for filmmakers looking to breakout and get their films picked up for distribution. For over a decade, Hollyshorts has been the home for short form content, before short form video was on trend, and has screen titles from Hollywood big-wigs like Jessica Biel, Demi Moore, Paul Haggis, Josh Brolin and Kirsten Dunst. It’s been a place for indie and short filmmakers to screen their projects, find distribution and now, starting today, generate revenue. Hollyshorts has announced a new streaming destination called BITPIX, where Hollyshorts historic library of short form projects can be viewed at a premium, helping filmmakers make money on their projects. Hollyshorts will take a split of the revenue.
“Our goal for the festival from day one was to create opportunities for [filmmakers] to advance their careers forward, meet managers/agents and connect with other like-minded storytellers and creatives,” said Hollyshorts founder Theo Dumont. “We came to the realization that [Hollyshorts is] the destination that’s helping discover the next generation of high profile filmmakers and that we can help empower them even more with our own channel.”
BitPix has been in beta for the last few months with over 300 short-form projects but will make its official debut in tandem with the upcoming Hollyshorts Film Festival, kicking off on Aug. 11th through Aug. 20. This year’s festival will showcase over 400 titles in the two week window. As part of the rollout for BITPIX, festival goers or online pass holders will have access to screen fresh titles, and in some cases, have an all access pass to the live event, panels and parties, as well. For an annual subscription of $299.99, members can stream and watch all Hollyshorts videos across genres like thriller, comedy, action/adventure, and animation.
“We are going to keep it in the family where we can premiere content from our alumni and team up with them on fresh new shorts and short shows,” added Dumont. To that end, Hollyshorts production arm, Hollyshorts Studios, has funded and produced its first original pilot “Infini” from Lionsgate’s Freelancers’ L. Philippe Casseus. “Infini,” which stars a who’s who of Hollywood and digital stars like Raquel Pomplun (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), Jaylen Moore (History Channel’s “Six”) and Malcolm Barrett (NBC’s “Timeless”), will debut on opening night of Hollyshorts Film Festival next week and stream exclusively on BITPIX.
Subscription services are a dime a dozen these days, but BITPIX with its established presence via Hollyshorts, and library of celeb-driven projects, the business model for a product like this could fall in the vein of Sundance Channel, which has also been working on its own streaming site. Indie creators have also been the cross-section of talent most in need of unique monetization strategies and with a fractured market like Hollywood, a platform of this kind poses better odds for breaking out.
And Hollyshorts is able to test out the model by using Zype, a plug n’play solution for rights owners or creators looking to build hybrid streaming business relatively overnight. While the company has better odds of making a business model like this work than a company starting from scratch, the high price point and niche content have an equally strong chance of making or breaking it.