Filmmakers Thank Movie Piracy for Popularity

ink-torrent

A newly released movie is pirated and spread around on torrent websites. Surely the producers must be furious? Not so much this time. While the typical Hollywood studio frowns on movies being shared on BitTorrent, it's a different story for independent filmmakers. Producer-writer-director Jamin Winans and fellow producer Kiowa Winans are happy and grateful that their movie Ink is being embraced by pirate sites.

It seems that within days of being ripped, the little movie no one's heard of has enjoyed a sudden boom in profile. Case in point, IMDB indicates that the film rose 81,093% on their MovieMeter this week alone. That's a pretty staggering upstream no matter how you look at it.

Here is an email the Winans sent to their company's newsletter:

Dear Fans and Friends,

Over the weekend something pretty extraordinary happened. Ink got ripped off. Someone bit torrented the movie (we knew this would happen) and they posted it on every pirate site out there. What we didn’t expect was that within 24 hours Ink would blow up. Ink became the number 1 most downloaded movie on several sites having been downloaded somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 times as far as we can tell. Knowing there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, we’ve embraced the piracy and are just happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure.

As a result, Ink is now ranked #16 on IMDb’s movie meter and is currently one of the top 20 most popular movies in the world.

This all started as a result of the completely underground buzz that you’ve each helped us create. We’ve had no distributor, no real advertising and yet the word of mouth that you’ve generated has made the film blow up as soon as it became available worldwide. So many of you came to see the movie multiple times, bringing friends and family and many of you have bought the DVD and Blu-ray from us. All of this built up and built up and suddenly it exploded.

We don’t know exactly where this will all lead, but the exposure is unquestionably a positive thing.

Ink hits Netflix, Blockbuster, iTunes and many more tomorrow! Remember to get your signed copies, t-shirts and posters at the Ink Store.

Thank you so much for the constant love and support.

Jamin and Kiowa
Double Edge Films

The download total has risen to 400,000 as of this writing, by the way.

Ink is a dark fantasy movie about an 8-year-old girl being kidnapped by a lost soul into the turbulent dream world for a sinister purpose, leaving her comatose in the real world. Thanks to the exposure, it's quickly gaining a lot of fans, securing it as the new cult favorite, by the rightful definition of the term.

I don't think this proves that piracy is good for the movie industry, of course. It merely highlights the effectiveness of a modern grassroots option for independent artists to publicize and distribute their work without the help of a multimillion-dollar launch campaign.

It all comes down to the filmmakers' attitude, though. Someone whose only goal is to have their movie seen would be all too happy for this to happen to them, while someone who's trying to satiate the entertainment business probably wouldn't. If you want the perfect contrast between the reactions of filmmakers working independently and those working for Hollywood, look no further than writer Rhett Reese on Twitter earlier today.

zombieland-twitter

"Zombieland currently the most pirated movie on bit torrent. Over one million downloads and counting."
"Beyond depressing. This greatly affects the likelihood of a Zombieland 2."

The folks behind Ink are certainly taking it in great stride, even though this can end up being very bad for them. Kiowa is currently on Reddit answering any questions people might have about the film or this particular unexpected release model. Here's her reply to a question about :

We are shocked by this whole thing. We made our movie in Denver, CO with a very small budget and have done all of the distribution ourselves, fighting to bring it to 15 cities for theatrical screenings. We figured it would be pirated eventually, but didn't expect it to happen so soon or for it to take off the way it has.

We are indie filmmakers, have zero studio funding and are in debt as a result of making the film. Having the film downloaded over 400,000 times is astronomical exposure for our movie, however I do wish there was some way to collect money from that. We view this as a huge and free marketing campaign for our film, but in order to move on to new films (we plan on staying totally independent) we need to prove that there is a financial model that works. If 400,000 people download and only 100 to 500 come to our site and donate a few dollars, that is not a financial model that will work. It's a whole new era and I think everyone is trying to figure out what it all means. Thank you for the question. -Kiowa

If you're curious about the film after all this and thinking of torrenting it, I'm obviously not going to say anything to stop you, but I would like to point out that you don't need to if you already have a Netflix account, since Ink is now available on Instant Watch.

If you do torrent, consider heading over to their official site and donating a few bucks. It's only fair. Pay however much you think the film is worth. Then if you really like it, the movie is also available to buy from Amazon on DVD or Blu-ray.

Nov
11
2009
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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