It just sounds simple. When presenting online, it becomes a challenge

A few weeks ago I participated in a fascinating online presentation by sound artist Meira Asher. Although it is not the topic of this post, I warmly recommend you find out more about this multi-talented woman, a human rights activist and a researcher in the fields of Social Documentary and the Amplification of the Human Body. During her presentation, which was done on Zoom, Asher shared videos with the audience. For that, she pasted each time a link in the chat and said “see you in 5 minutes” or “see you in 2 minutes” — whatever the length of the…

The healthy path to decision-making

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Questions and Answers session after a film screening

The instructional part of introducing our platform for virtual film screenings and Q&A to clients is always divided to two: The technical part and the conceptual part. The technical part is usually the easiest. What is not clarified in a demo, will be better understood with documentation and practice. After some time, everyone will get the hang of it. The conceptual part is more tricky. Not only because there is no ‘right’ vs. ‘wrong’, but because there are not even Best Practices. It really depends on the personalities involved, the goal of the Q&A, the number of attendees and many…

An Analysis

I made a small research before writing this article: Searched for “post coronavirus world”. There were many results of course, but what fascinated me most was the dates: From April to July 2020, people were already talking and writing about Post-Coronavirus days.

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On July it stopped. — Is it because the idea was discussed enough? Or because of the dismay which followed the second and more powerful wave? Both could be possible and complementary.

The Film Festival World

In those months, we made many phone calls and had discussions with film festival directors and producers. We were trying to talk to them…

Does security have to be inconvenient?

Copyright protection or films
Copyright protection or films
GoldPhone /Wikipedia

You’re a filmmaker or a film distributor. You want to protect your film. That’s obvious. At the same time, you want to expose your creation to as many people as possible. At least most artists want that.
So far so good.

But there’s a catch: The more you protect your film (online), the worse the user experience will get.

The latter is not so obvious and must be explained. Then, we’ll offer some solutions to mitigate the challenge.

Why can’t we have the cake and eat it?

Imagine an airport (in the days this article is written, airport is definitely something most of us can only dream about-:)). In…

Insights from the tech guy

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On early March 2020, we started our platform for screening films and meeting filmmakers. Note that I wrote started and not launched. Launching is usually done after a long preparation and is well planned, while we had to react swiftly to an unexpected event (COVID-19). In addition, since we started, we don’t stop introducing new features, improving existing ones and learning from mistake while we run. I never worked so fast.

It took my amazing team only two weeks to come up with a basic, yet good enough solution: we created branded pages for screenings, added a registration process, followed…

It’s all about balancing and coordinating time frames

After close to 100 online film screenings in record time of 4 months, which included developing and pushing new features in parallel, I can testify that the pandemic has served us as a large playing field. We summarised every single screening, trying to extract insights, refine and improve. I decided to attend every screening and personally provide support to end-users. It was (and still is…) a tedious task which consumed whole evenings, but no UX meeting can be compared to listening to the audience and taking care of actual support requests. I heard questions I never imagined people might pose…

A Case Study

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After receiving good responses on the article about the creation of hybrid film festivals, we decided to take it to the next level: enhance interactivity to the extreme. And as always, the best way is to simply do it. Well, “simply do it” is an underestimation of the task. Simple it is not. But the wonderful team around me likes challenges. Well, at least they pretend they like them as I do. I admire them not only for that, but for the fact that they help me realize those dreams. Just like they did when we decided…

An accidental revolution

The film industry went into a standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not only the imposed lockdowns all over the world, but the social distancing regulations which killed any chance for a normal production (no kissing!). Add to it the fact that theatres and film festivals were shut down and you get desperate filmmakers working as cashiers at your local supermarkets or ready to wipe car windows in traffic lights.

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An imaginary typical romantic scene, from a film never shot

Changing Mindset

The pandemic will be over, sooner or later. Terminal as it may seems to many people, the world had overcome much worse pandemics. We did learn…

In recent months I’ve been speaking to many film festival directors and producers. Rather than trying to sell them anything, I was listening to them most of the time. We were mainly talking about the online world and the tension or opportunities (depending on who I talked to) it brings to film festivals.

I heard and sensed reluctance, fear, hesitation, repulsion, anxiety, refusal, denial, sadness, pessimism.
Apologies for being so banal, but it was a perfect embodiment of Who Moved my Cheese fable.
I have, however, also spoken with optimistic and enthusiastic film festival directors and producers. …

Thoughts and concepts

When more and more film festivals turn to online screenings — either as a replacement or as an addition to in-person (physical) screenings, it’s important to distinguish, or rather define, what do the notions virtual cinema and VOD mean in relation to film festivals.

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The most crucial word, before delving into details and nuances, is TIME. Virtual cinema, at least as we interpret it, takes place at an exact time and date. VOD, on the other hand, is available over a period of time, usually a few days. Trivial, you might say? — Not at all. A virtual cinema wishes…

Yoram Schaffer

Digital film distributor and founder of Movie Discovery VOD platform, QuickRights and Movies Everywhere . A former documentary filmmaker.

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