What an exquisite roller-coaster we’ve been on the past few months! Just two years ago I called action and we started the production of “A Perfect Ending” starring the sublimely beautiful Barbara Niven and the uber-stunning Jessica Clark. These actresses literally melded into their roles! I cannot think of any other actresses on the planet that could have done more justice to the characters of Rebecca and Paris. Nor can I think of a better supporting cast than Morgan Fairchild, John Heard, Mary Wells, Imelda Corcoran and Kerry Knuppe. I believe the stellar cast, incredible cinematography (Tal Lazar) and poignantly haunting score (Stephen Ridley and Bob Fowler) all converged together to make a pretty damn good movie!
How do we know this? Because in the old days of the indie/niche marketing you had to struggle to play in two or three cities theatrically, hope for great reviews and word of mouth, wait for six months to a year before a DVD release and not really sure how you’re film was going. The process took a good long while. But today? Today a small arthouse film is distributed internationally on digital platforms known as VOD (Video on Demand). And as the film was activated in all these different countries (roughly around the same time), we began to get barraged by emails from every spot on the globe. It was overwhelming and wonderfully shocking!
The response to the film is what every filmmaker dreams for. Many viewers from all over the world have now watched “A Perfect Ending” multiple times. It’s set records that have amazed and humbled me.
It’s also given us an opportunity to push “A Perfect Ending” into crossover territory. (Gemany is doing a theatrical release in 24 cities!) Because the film is released on VOD platforms that are easily accessed by many viewers, people that would never have seen the film are now able to. I’ve gotten so many Facebook remarks and emails from straight women and men who have really enjoyed the film as a true alternative to studio features. My last “Letter of the Week” was from a 71 year old straight Brit by the name of George who not only loved the film but then shared it with his five children. His passion and support for the film have made him an honorary lesbian!
Many other indie filmmakers and I have the same discussion with a new twist everytime there is a change in the way the internet is utilized. International VOD was an antidote to piracy. But what happens now? Where does indie-cinema go? Are we returning to our roots? A tribal following of like-minded souls bonded by “likes” and back links? Are all indie films going to be the result of crowd-sourcing? Or are platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo a fad that won’t be remembered in a couple of months or years to be replaced by a new-fangled concept that will also be replaced in a few months or years.
We are in a brave new world, one we’re all grappling with, whether filmmakers, musicians, artists, or real-estate brokers. How do we use the internet to make a success of our product and how do we filmmakers best serve our constituents so we can continue to make high quality films on lower and lower budgets?
I guess we can try to solve that as I’m finishing my latest novel, “Descending Thirds” being published this summer.(that’s an art medium that at least I have some control over!) But I have learned something really extraordinary through the process of releasing “A Perfect Ending.” This VOD world wide release (which is then followed by the DVD release several weeks later) has created a whole new world, a network of viewers made up of all kinds of fascinating people who relate to your films in different ways because they live in China, Russia or Israel.
Yes, it’s sad for me that only a handful of viewers will see “A Perfect Ending” in the darkened womb of a magical theater enveloped by lush sound and larger than life characters. I never thought I’d see the day where I would think ANY experience would supersede seeing a film in a theater, the way this artform was intended. But, I gotta say, there is a true payoff in knowing we have touched a much larger scale of humanity. And that is a tradeoff I can live with.
Nicole Conn is a Writer/Director/Mother who resides with her (wonderful if precocious) children in Los Angeles. Her penchant for adult and dramatic story telling is evident in latest feature film, Elena Undone touted as “sexy and smart and smoldering.” This classic romance with a twist, also hosts the Longest Kiss in Cinema History, a claim veteran lesbian writer Nicole Conn’s (Claire of the Moon, little man) is thrilled to be held by two women. “A Perfect Ending,” her newest feature which she wrote and directed, is based on a story idea from her life and film partner, Marina Rice Bader. Bader and Conn are partners of Soul Kiss Films (Empowering Women One Film at a Time). Check out the Elena Undone site and Buy it now at Wolfe Video.