From its launch in January during International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2018, streaming platform IFFR Unleashed has worked hard to establish itself as a valuable player in the VOD landscape for independent films. At the half-year mark of its existence, the extensive impact of IFFR Unleashed comes to the fore.
Melissa van der Schoor, digital content manager of IFFR Unleashed: “A particularly pleasant experience has been the way in which filmmakers are embracing our platform. They share our ambition to make their previous films easily available online, resulting in a steadily increasing film library. At the same time, they are eager to help in the promotion of their films through recorded video messages and the like, thereby underlining our aspiration to be a streaming platform where the filmmakers take centre stage.”
98.8% of all films available on IFFR Unleashed have been viewed, meaning that almost all films on the platform found an audience. In seven months, viewers from 39 different countries accessed IFFR films online. The total view count has surpassed 7,500.
IFFR’s festival director Bero Beyer adds: “It is heartening to see that our new distribution model is gaining traction. The fact that nearly all films have found an audience despite limited marketing shows that the content speaks for itself. We rely on our unique curatorial capacity and the strong connection between filmmakers and IFFR. This has proven fruitful so far. Our online streaming is a valuable and important addition to the contemporary distribution landscape and lends a year-round presence to both IFFR and filmmakers by championing their films year-round.”
Austrian filmmaker Lukas Valenta Rinner has two of his films on IFFR Unleashed: Parabellum (2015) and Los decentes (2016). “It’s great to see that my films are watched by a worldwide audience throughout the year”, he comments. “After all, that’s the goal. It opens up my previous work to a whole lot more people long after the films have ended their distribution life cycle in cinemas.”
From its inception, IFFR Unleashed has envisioned to be a flexible and accommodating distribution partner by putting control back into the hands of filmmakers and rightsholders in terms of the territories and period in which the film is distributed. In this way, IFFR Unleashed has partnered up with sales agents like FiGa Films, The Match Factory, Films du Losange, New Europe Film Sales and Fortissimo Films to showcase many films from their collection.
In January 2019, IFFR Unleashed will celebrate its one-year anniversary. The platform aims to have 400 films online by then.
Another goal is to introduce the subscription model to worldwide audiences. Films on IFFR Unleashed can be watched on a pay-per-view (TVOD) or subscription (SVOD) basis. As of now, the subscription model is only available in the Benelux, whereas the pay-per-view model is available worldwide (with the exception of the USA). Given the global spread of current viewers, IFFR Unleashed plans to roll out the subscription model to worldwide audiences by its one-year anniversary in January 2019.
IFFR Unleashed has also examined the user-friendliness of its website through user-group research. Following this six-month evaluation, an improved and streamlined website was launched in the last week of August.
IFFR Unleashed is IFFR’s very own online streaming platform and was launched in January 2018, during the 47th edition of IFFR. Films that have screened at previous festival editions and are often unavailable elsewhere are presented in a curated online format. By watching quality films, viewers directly support the kind of daring and unique filmmaking they love, because 50% of all revenue goes to the filmmakers or rightsholders.