At a time when independent documentary films are experiencing a creative boom, yet theatrical distribution channels have gone bust, the beta launch today of SnagFilms helps both independent filmmakers and iconic production companies – and the audiences that want to see their movies.
SnagFilms was created to address the bottleneck in distribution for quality documentaries that has left many great films unable to reach their potential audience or to provide a viable financial return. It also offers established media companies with deep libraries a way of getting “long-tail” documentaries out of the vaults and before a worldwide, on-demand audience.
Founded by Ted Leonsis, AOL Vice Chairman Emeritus and producer of award-winning documentary films; backed by Leonsis, AOL co-founder and Revolution LLC Chairman Steve Case, and venture capitalist Miles Gilburne; and led by industry veterans, SnagFilms brings the best nonfiction films to a global web audience, promotes viral web distribution through virtual movie theater widgets, and encourages users to engage with the films’ issues and supporter communities. At launch, more than 250 films are available for immediate streamed playback, requiring no software downloads, sign-ups or waiting, and an additional 200 films, already under contract, will be added by mid-August.
The new service features award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution, including PBS, National Geographic, United Nations, Sundance Preserve, IndiePix, Peter Jennings Productions, Arts Alliance America, ITVS, Koch Lorber Films, and many others. Many of the most prominent documentary filmmakers are participating not only by having their films distributed via SnagFilms, but by engaging with their audience through blogs and offering special “bonus” material, as well as suggesting nonprofit organizations that viewers motivated by these films can link to and support via charitable contributions, volunteering or spreading the word.
Viewers who go to the SnagFilms website can find, view, “snag”, share, and support one of the hundreds of films available for free, advertising-supported viewing.
Content providers share equally with SnagFilms in the in-stream advertising revenues on the website and wherever on the web the film is played via a SnagFilms virtual movie theater widget. Additionally, SnagFilms provides links to sites chosen by the filmmaker or distributor, or enabled by a SnagFilms partner, where the viewer can purchase many of the films in DVD or download-to-own formats.
Some selected Titles in SnagFilms Library:
- Africa Unite, Directed and Produced by Stephanie Black
- Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore, Directed by Frank Popper, Audience Award, Silverdocs (2006)
- Class Act, Directed by Randall Miller
- Darkon, Directed by Luke Meyer, Audience Award, SXSW (2006)
- Dig!, Directed by Ondi Timoner, Sundance Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize (2004), Bend Film Festival, Jury Prize, Best Director (2004)
- Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars, Directed by Matt Hames, produced by The Redford Center at Sundance Preserve, narrated by Robert Redford
- The Future of Food, Directed by Deborah Koons
- Heavy Metal in Baghdad, Directed by Suroosh Alvi and Eddy Moretti, shown at SXSW Film Festival (2008), Toronto Film Festival (2007), Berlin Film Festival (2008)