From Here to Awesome is presenting a new method of movie distribution that relies upon online viewer votes to decide which movies will be distributed. The festival has no submission fees, the filmmakers retain all rights to their film and filmmakers make money directly. This film festival is bypassing a lot of the industry gatekeepers to help distribute films that audiences want to see by using a simple online social platform.
I think that it is a really amazing way for independent filmmakers to get instant feedback from their audiences as well as to talk about some of the advances in the field that are creating higher production levels on lower budgets.
Filmmaker Fritz Donnelly, creator of the movie "To the Hills 2," describes the current state of the film making industry and points out many of the problems inherent in the system on From Here to Awesome's Festival Blog. The Q&A session focuses on the possible technological utopia of film making and distribution of the future, and the hope that it brings.
This festival seems to have been a great success, considering that by July 26th, the festival's 22 selected showcase films will be available online on Amazon, Vudu, Netflix, IndieFlix.com, Hereticfilms.com, Hulu, Joost, Cacchi, and Vuze. Recent theatrical screenings have also taken place in San Francisco, Boston, and London, as well as over 25 guerrilla drive-in screening events.
I can see that the future of independent and documentary film distribution will have the tendancy to become more democratized as festivals like From Here to Awesome create more of an online marketplace, and the costs of quality production start to come down. The prices of cameras and editing software are reaching a point where they are accessable to more and more people with a story to tell.