Here’s a brief update on how things stand with the upcoming The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD platform.

Work is going on at three fronts at the moment. First of all, I’ve been trying to find a decent payment provider, whose HQ is in Europe (for legal reasons) and who doesn’t take extortionate commissions on transactions. There are some who only accept credit cards which wouldn’t be useful. Others operate only in certain countries, or on certain continents. At the moment, we’re looking at a Dutch and a Danish company. They both sound good, though the latter only deals with payments from within Europe and they recommended we should speak to a separate provider for non-European payments. Some of you may suggest PayPal, but PayPal’s commissions are pretty high. If we can avoid it, we should. Besides, PayPal is American. We want to avoid this, if at all possible.

Second, the programming is continuing. One important thing I should mention is the subject of geo-blocking, which pops up in the news again and again. Sadly enough, geo-blocking is common practice. This goes for all kinds of online players, including VoD platforms by national state televisions. MUBI, for instance, does a similar thing. Now that I’m in France, the choice of films is pretty lousy compared to the choice I had in the UK. Besides, films only come in French or with French subtitles. If you’re not familiar with the language (say, you have just moved for instance), you cannot watch the films. A monthly subscription would be a waste. When I was in Brussels for two months, all I could see on MUBI were films in Dutch or with Dutch subtitles. Useless to me. I don’t speak a word of Dutch. Geo-blocking is a problem nowadays. With regards to The Art(s) of Slow Cinema VoD, we think that building walls online restricts the access to a form of culture which should have its doors open to everyone. Why should you be able to watch film X only if you’re in a certain country? Everyone should have the right to see it. The Slow Cinema VoD platform will make this possible.

Last but not least, from the first batch of submissions I have chosen 30 films. This is a higher number than I expected at the beginning. Most of them are short films. A third of them are feature-length films, which I’m trying to get more of. It would be nice to showcase two feature films per curated “season” plus a package of short films. But this obviously depends on the submissions I receive. For two films I need to check the legal grounds because the directors are bound by a contract with IFFR Unleashed.

Speaking of which: I have contacted the people behind IFFR Unleashed about their project. Every year, some films from IFFR are selected for VoD streaming via iTunes and Google Play. I wasn’t aware of this. It’s a good idea in any case, though I do believe that some films, especially those slow films I have in mind, would benefit from a more focused platform than the vast mainstream-driven platforms by Apple and Google. I’m currently waiting for a response and hope that they are at least willing to speak to me about it.

This is it for now. As per usual, I’d like to renew the Call for Films which you can find here. Just keep them coming. And keep making them too! 🙂

Edit: You can now donate to our crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe.