Theater-on-demand platform Gathr launches distribution fund

The platform will advance up to US$20,000 for 25 crowd-funded films, in return for exclusive launches on its service and traditional theatrical rights.
April 16, 2014

Updated: 2 p.m. EST A new annual distribution fund by digital “theater-on-demand” platform Gathr will advance up to US$20,000 for 25 crowdfunded films in return for an exclusive, three-year term on traditional theatrical rights.

The fund promises to help filmmakers using crowdfunding to get their work shown in more theaters, while retaining ancillary rights for their work.

Gathr bills itself as a service uniting movie lovers with the films they want to see. The online platform allows users to reserve tickets for films — generally smaller, independent projects that have difficulty getting shown in theaters — which are then screened at a nearby venue. A minimum number of tickets need to be sold in order for a screening to occur, and if the time expires before quotas are filled, the screening doesn’t happen and no one is charged.

The service averages about 150 attendees per screening, and helped launch previously little-known films such as 2013 documentary Girl Rising, which went on to gross US$1.7 million. Recent screenings have included 2014 Academy Award nominee The Square and the documentary Kids for Cash.

The distribution fund requires completed films to have raised at least US$50,000 through crowdfunding and accumulated at least 1,000 backers through a reputed crowdfunding website to be eligible for the advance.

Vimeo has a similar offer in place, offering filmmakers a minimum of $10,000 in marketing services for their crowdsourced projects in exchange for an exclusive digital premiere window for distribution on Vimeo On Demand. But Gathr says what sets their company’s program apart is that they only seek theatrical rights, not digital.

“Arrangements like Vimeo’s are fantastic and recognize the hard work that filmmakers have put into galvanizing a community around their film,” said Richard Matson, head of distribution and acquisitions at Gathr. “Gathr is only taking theatrical rights for the advance. Filmmakers can then leverage the benefits of their theatrical release for greater gains on ancillary platforms,” he told StreamDaily via email.

from realscreen with files from Melita Kuburas

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