Morgan Spurlock Praises New Tribeca Shortlist SVOD for "Direct Delivery" to Consumers

Morgan Spurlock - H 2014
AP Images

Morgan Spurlock - H 2014

Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises tapped Spurlock and fellow filmmaker Jason Blum to launch their $4.99 a-month streaming service for film buffs.

Morgan Spurlock says Tribeca Shortlist, the SVOD service for film buffs to be launched Thursday by Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises, could raise the quality bar for indie film in the way that Netflix and Hulu transformed TV fare.

"Because they've ... been a real champion of film and filmmakers for so long, not only are they [Tribeca] a trusted brand, but they have also combined with other filmmakers to create a really fantastic partnership," he told The Hollywood Reporter. Spurlock said Tribeca Shortlist and other emerging SVOD services provide much needed new distribution platforms for indie filmmakers.

"Any time you can create something that becomes a direct delivery to consumers, it's exciting," he insisted. Spurlock said cinema chains haven't built enough new screens to keep pace with audience demand for indie fare. "So we're all fighting for these limited number of screens, and what SVOD does is give the opportunity for more movies to get distributed, and more movies to be distributed directly to fans," he added.

Lionsgate and Tribeca have harnessed the curating talents of Spurlock, fellow director Jason Blum and actors John Leguizamo and Matthew Modine, among others, to help launch a SVOD service for film buffs. Tribeca Shortlist on Thursday started offering a package of around 150 movies for an introductory $4.99 a-month subscription. "Shortlisters" will help select the movie slate for the eventual $5.99-a-month service.

Spurlock, whose shortlist includes This is Spinal Tap, said the Tribeca Film Festival as a "trusted brand" clears the first hurdle of being able to see quality movies on Tribeca Shortlist. "You add to that the value of trusted voices in the world of cinema, and that's yet another layer," said Spurlock.

The ad-free Tribeca Shortlist service can be accessed via the web or downloaded to the iPad initially, with more digital platforms to follow. Tribeca Shortlist president Jeff Bronikowski told THR that the star curators will help handpick "quality" titles from the movie vaults of Lionsgate, Tribeca, indie studios and major studios.

"We reached out with Lionsgate and Tribeca to secure bigger names that want to talk about movies they love. It's refreshing that they aren't on a press junket," said Bronikowski. Each shortlister will provide exclusive video commentary and recollections on each movie they pick.

The star curators, including Next Top Model's Yaya DeCosta and The Biggest Loser star Bob Harper, will also aim to help Tribeca Shortlist distinguish itself from more mainstream movie streamers like Netflix and Hulu. "The services out there have amassed giant catalogs. For many people, that's great," said Bronikowski.