Fandor Experimenting With 'Theatrical-Digital' Premiers (Exclusive)

6:00 AM PST 06/06/2011 by Paul Bond

Website that streams independent, classic and foreign films will offer some titles online the day they hit theaters.

Streaming-movie site Fandor has teamed with a couple of small distributors to open some of their independent movies in limited release the same day they’re available on the Internet.

First up from distributor Kino Lorber is the 1967 film David Holzman’s Diary, scheduled for re-release at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on June 15, the day Fandor makes it available for streaming.

Directed by Jim McBride (The Big Easy, Great Balls of Fire!), the movie spoofs documentary filmmaking. Despite being selected in 1991 for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, the movie hasn’t been available on DVD.

Kino Lorber, though, intends to release David Holzman’s Diary on DVD in August, and the limited re-release and the Fandor treatment is designed to help market the product.

“And we’re able to leverage the press about the film,” said Fandor founder and director of acquisitions Jonathan Marlow.

Next up is Sleep Furiously from distributor Microcinema, which is getting a theatrical release in New York tentatively scheduled July 29, the same day it will be available for streaming at Fandor for 24 hours.

After the daylong window, Fandor will replace it with A Sketchbook for the Library Van, a 50-minute documentary that served as inspiration for Sleep Furiously, which is a feature-length documentary about a dying Welsh farming community. Both movies were directed by Gideon Koppel.

Fandor gets streaming rights to Sleep Furiously back after it ends its three-month limited theatrical run. At theaters showing the film, literature promoting Fandor will be distributed.

“The coordinated theatrical-digital premiere is an excellent way to generate conversation and excitement, which is difficult to do for an independent film,” said Joel Bachar, president and founder of Microcinema.

Marlow said the theatrical-digital premier strategy is the first effort to market Fandor to the masses.

Fandor, launched in March, is a $10-per-month subscription video service for independent, classic and foreign films. The site boasts 3,000 titles and is adding as many as 100 more each week. Marlow won’t disclose the number of paying subscribers.

The site also rents streaming movies on-demand for $3 apiece. In the case of David Holzman’s Diary, it's a free rental that also gets users a one-month free subscription.

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