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New Technology For Indie Cinema Highlights 4th Annual Downtown Film Festival L.A.

By: Greg Ptacek | July 20, 2012

Organizers of the just concluded 4th annual Downtown Film Festival L.A., July 6-13, are celebrating the successful presentation during the 8-day event of a variety of new technologies for the financing, marketing, distribution and exhibition of independent films.

"Located as we are in the Film Capital of the World, we feel obliged to showcase new technologies that filmmakers around the world can use to find audiences for their movies," said Henry Priest. "We take this mission seriously, so we were very excited about the variety of products and services we could spotlight this year."

Among these new technologies showcased during the festival:

Tugg - Tugg, Inc. ("Tugg") is a collective action web-platform that enables individuals to choose the films that play in their local theaters. Through Tugg, individuals are empowered to select a film, screening time, and nearby theater and then spread the word to their immediate and online community. Previously, Tug was used with consumers, however, DFFLA worked closely with Tugg's owners to create an application for film festivals in which filmmakers shared in the box office revenue. The first Tugg screening at a film festival was the presentation of the new feature film "Heathens and Thieves" (, which screened during DFFLA on Wed., July 11 at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live to a sold-out house. More:

Film Break - During the festival, attendees to the "New Ventures In Filmmaking" seminar learned about FilmBreak, which is building a new online funding and distribution platform for filmmakers - a "Kickstarter meets Angie's List" solution for the film industry. Organizers plan to offer a fully-integrated service that effectively solves the three primary filmmaking challenges - Financing, Promotion and Distribution - that commonly prevent filmmakers from achieving their creative and professional goals. FilmBreak launched in November 2011 and is free to filmmakers. More:

Flix-on-Stix - If you know the ubiquitous Red Box machines outside 7-11s, Flix-on-Stix takes that movie vending concept to the next level. Movies - including independent films from film festivals - as well as games, electronic books and other content will be digitally delivered through Flix-on-Stix kiosks, coming soon to your neighborhood. Just plug in your memory stick or thumb drive, choose the option to rent or buy, and you've got entertainment. Because there's only digital content being dispensed, there will never be late fees. During the festival, attendees could download a selection of independent films from the beta versions of the Flix-on-Stix kiosks located at the festival's Cinema Lounge and at the Downtown Independent Theater. More:

MuVChat - The festival's closing night coincided with Friday The 13th, so festival organizers took advantage of the date by screening George Romero's classic horror zombie film, "Night of the Living Dead" - but with a twist. The screening was presented with a new audience-interactive technology from MuVChat nicknamed "Hecklevision." Using their smart phones, audience members could text messages that appeared on the screen - for everyone to see. While the app has been used to date mostly for comic effect (read: snarky comments), the application can be used in more serious presentations, such as a director providing commentary about his film to an audience as the film rolls. More:

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