Film Festivals are canceling but Online Fests are thriving

Who would have thought that this whole dang virus thing would screw up every live event on the planet? I didn’t anticipate this kind of things months ago when I entered my film into Film Festivals via the FilmFreeway website.

And now, I’m getting email notices. The fests I entered are either postponing or canceling until next year. There’s almost no alternative. Except my own Festival.

Yep, I created a film festival 6 years ago. It’s an online Festival that offers the winners the option to have their movie streamed online and on Roku, Fire TV, and Android.

A little more history…I started building Roku channels years ago. In order to get content that was not the usual public domain fair, I operated two Facebook Video/Photo contests and I also contacted some film buddies and I offered them a free deal to get their films streamed to my audience. The formula worked, although none of us made any money. That’s okay, because the exposure was great — and no one makes money on short films anyway.

If you think you can recoup your cost of producing a short film — then you’re dreaming…and may God bless the dreamer.

Next, I asked filmmakers if they wanted their film compiled into a feature film or a 30-minute featurette for streaming purposes. The result was my “Zombie Pix” feature film, distributed by VODO to 15 thousand VODO viewers online. Secondly the 30 minute compilation film project was and is still being streamed on my channels, it’s an all-genre video called “Film Fest Best” — and it is one of the most popular videos that I stream. In the end, these two compilation videos gave filmmakers free exposure, and I have some good content for my streaming TV audience.

In 2015, after successfully running (2) video/photo contests on Facebook, I decided to give my Festival a more tangible presence. I built a website, http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com and then I developed an Amazon Fire TV channel. Both worked very nicely. And the audience has grown ever since.
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Now, I have over 375,000 subscribers on my Fire TV channel, called “Movies Plus.” And, I have built several new Roku channels, in which the total subscribers are over 1 million. That’s great reach. And it’s free for filmmakers who would like to stream their film on my channels.

There’s even a success story. A filmmaker named Alex who took the initiative to leverage my Fire TV channel. He streamed his “Down River” feature film for 6 months. Then he took the stats from the streaming experience (about 70,000 views) and he presented this to a venture capitalist. It impressed the money-man so much that he agreed to finance Alex’s next film. Now Alex has his movie, “The Directive” on Hulu. There’s a newspaper article that tells the whole story — read it via my Festival page on FilmFreeway.

Okay, so to wrap things up a little, now I have many channels. The most popular are TMN (The Movie Network) and “Movies Plus TV.” And I have my Film Festival that is online and supported by my Roku and Fire TV channels. I also have an Android App, but that is still in the “launching” phase, so I don’t brag about my Android subscribers just yet. You may add the channels and TV-Apps via www.moviesplus.org

If you’re a filmmaker looking for free film distribution…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free exposure for your movie, TV or web series…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free publicity and promotion for your movie or TV Pilot or series…You can get in on this, free.

To get started, you may email me directly, BUT I suggest using the free service film freeway. My Festival is only $5 to $8 to enter. That’s cheap! The submission fees are less than 9 dollars. And in return you get access to all the resources I listed above. Free online streaming for your movie, TV show, Pilot, web series and more.

(Please note that the current Festival doesn’t have a category for Features, therefore if you’d like to have your feature streamed, simply contact me directly on Facebook or through the links on my moviesplus website.)

Also, TRAILERS AND TEASERS are FREE TO ENTER, and you may get yours immediately streamed on Android by visiting my Youtube channel, again the link is on the Movies Plus website.

To enter the Festival for FREE or for as low as $5, please visit https://filmfreeway.com/Metro-Film-and-TV-Awards

Cheers and good Streaming,
Dean Lachiusa
Curator, the Metro Film Festival.
http://www.MetroFilmFestival.com

Down River and In the River

Recently I posted two new videos on the Movies Plus Fire TV channel.  Purely by coincidence, the titles are “Down River” a feature film about soldiers behind enemy lines, and “In the River,” a music video that generates support for the American Indians who suffer from the oppression brought on by the scheduled construction of an Oil Pipeline on Indian land threatening their water-table and the Missouri River.

Aalex-downriver second part of the coincidence is the fact that the producers of these videos have similar names.  Alex Raye Pimentel is responsible for the Future of Film production “Down River.”

And Raye Zaragoza is the beautiful talent behind “The River” music video.

And guess what?  I think it’s fair to say they also have something in common when it comes to their content.  Because both of them have produced wonderul content  that is relevant to what’s happening to nearly everyone everywhere.

Their production quality is excellent, and the response that they are getting is outstanding.

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Raye and Raye are getting great response on their websites and social media.  Meanwhile, on Movies Plus things will only get better…

  • In September of 2016, the first video to load on my Fire TV channel is the “welcome to Movies Plus” introduction.  This video had over 50,000 views last month.september-stats-4-one-video
  • A few weeks later (from October 1 to October 16) Movies Plus had 175,000 hits in the U.K.  And U.S. statistics look similar.
  • At the time of this writing (October 26th) Amazon reported that  65,295 people have subscribed to Movies Plus.

So, as you can see we’re growing.  So…….if you know of a filmmaker who would like to have their movie broadcast to our audience of indie-lovers on Amazon Fire TV, then I hope that you tell them about Movies Plus.  It’s free to for a filmmaker to use, and it’s free for anyone to watch.

Cheers, Dean Lachiusa

This little piggy stole my bandwidth

I love movies and television, and I enjoy watching when and where I want.  But lately I’ve been thinking: Does this in some way reflect negatively on me?  I mean, I’m not a bad person. But am I greedy or selfish for playing movies and TV shows on my Roku and Laptop PC, rather than on my big screen TV?

Maybe AT&T thinks so.  Because the other day I received a mailer entitled “Updates to Internet Usage Allowances.”  It says that AT&T will be increasing the U-verse Internet data allowances for many customers.  Okay, I’ve expected this because as consumer demands increase, so will the bandwidth delivered.  And we’ve all heard the rumors that companies like Comcast and Verizon are building bigger and better Internet delivery systems in order to meet customer demands.  But then the mailer states “…there’s a $10 charge for each 50GB of data you use over the allowance amount.”

This worries me.  Because I don’t consider myself a data-pig.  I do watch a good deal of video on my PC and my Roku, but I don’t download large movies, and I don’t require full HD when I stream.  And therein lies “the catch.”

When I stream on Hulu or a site like Crackle, I cannot control the exact quality of the content I watch.  In Hulu, I am allowed to select their settings “gear” and choose a low or medium setting – but I have no idea how much bandwidth this uses.  I’d like to select SD or Widescreen SD because I know this would use much less “Internet Data” than true HD.  And in most cases the resolution is just fine for me.   Why?

Television resolution is Relative.  In most cases you cannot see the difference between 720P or Full-HD or Ultra HD.)

I’d have to line up two TV’s next to each other and broadcast the same video in order to appreciate the difference in the details.  You think you need Full-HD or the 4k Ultra HD.  The TV manufactures have been pushing bigger and bigger TV sets on us, and insisting that the Big Screen TV or “10-foot experience” can only be appreciated with a 1920 x 1080 quality video.  And of course to support your Internet TV, you should expect to use large amounts of Internet bandwidth to get the true HD experience – if you can tell the difference that is.  And that’s going to get expensive.

So who is going to pay to deliver HDTV quality video to me?  Is it AT&T’s responsibility to deliver Internet-bandwidth that will support the demands of my PC and Roku while not charging for these upgraded services?

In other words: I’ve been talking with Netflix, Roku and other Connected TV uses for months now about a conflict of interest which is:

How and why would Comcast, AT&T and others want to make TV and Movie programming available to you over the Internet when they already deliver it to you via their Cable/Fiber-Optic/SAT to your TV?

Somethings gotta give, and I’m afraid the folks out there who thought that they could enjoy Full-HD via their Internet connection on a PC and especially on TV’s like the Roku 4K Ultra HDTV or Samsung Smart TV are in for a price hike.

Roku 4 requires a 15mbps connection, but they don’t talk about how much data you will use to enjoy Full-HD on your TV.  And like I say, if you watch a television program on your PC via Hulu or another service you might be able to select a low or medium resolution, but you won’t know how much data you are using.  For the AT&T customer, 50GB’s goes very fast and I don’t want to spend 10 bucks just to watch Sharknado.

What can we do?  I for one try to encourage people to set their connected TV (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV) to the SD setting.  Not all Set Top Boxes have this feature, so I bought the low end Roku 1.  It has component (RCA) plugs.  I use these plugs instead of the HD port , and I setup my television in the Standard Definition (4×3) mode.  I also went into my Roku’s display setting and selected SD (4×3.)  For programs like Star Trek, I get a 4×3 display.  And somehow, my set up still delivers a widescreen picture when a film is formatted to support it.  It requires much less data for SD than HD.

If you muRoku4st have HD, then Roku’s most expensive model 4 is $129 and it promises to up-rez 720HD videos to a full HD 1920×1080 experience.  But I cannot recommend this as a way to save Internet data use, because for one, the unit requires a very strong Internet connection of 15mbps, and that tells me it’s demanding a large amount of bandwidth (data.)

Have I been able to insure that my Roku settings are really saving me money?  Not yet, AT&T won’t allow me to monitor my data usage until May 23rd!  Haa!  There’s always a catch.

-Dean