Lean Startup New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas Launches Prototype to Show Films Made by People and Organizations Challenging the Status Quo

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DuVal Ethnographic Research Center is using Lean Startup principles to develop a startup called New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas. The team reached minimal viable product (MVP) status by signing contracts with film content providers, broadcasting films to paying customers and entering the iterative build-measure-learn process that is the centerpiece of Lean Startup entrepreneurial projects.

New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas

Sad but true we can't all go to Caserta Italy to experience the live international film festival. New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas is intent to solve the travel problem for film festival audiences."

DuVal Ethnographic has adopted Lean Startup principles to develop a business startup called New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas. The startup project has achieved (MVP) minimal viable product status with an online prototype of the New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas website. In Lean Startup language MVP means 1) a prototype is up and running 2) customers are interacting with it 3) customers are paying for it 4) customers are lining up to take advantage of the value proposition.

DuVal says, "Lean Startup principles are something new for me. I've worked in enterprise software groups and seen too many market failures that didn't need to happen. The Lean Startup build - measure - learn iterative process is faster and fun and there isn't a corporate structure in the way of innovation. I like learning from customer interactions, implementing tests and making changes every day. What's really new for me though is the concept of the pivot. In the past I've tended to stick to a vision for too long when I should have changed direction. It's a new tool and set of knowledge I've been missing that is giving New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas a real chance for success."

New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas was originally conceived in a collaboration between DuVal Ethnographic Research Center and CNON.tv, a Canadian online broadcasting network. The two companies found they had similar goals to discover and promote creative people, organizations and projects. CNON.tv had the online broadcast network with bandwidth to spare; DuVal Ethnographic was looking for a way to share films by and about people challenging the status quo. It seemed a match made in heaven.

The first online broadcast from the collaborators featured a film entitled '1988 The Remake' by legendary independent filmmaker Rick Schmidt. It had an audience of 13 and an income of $35.00. What could be construed as failure is seen in a different light after hearing from Rick. He wrote, "I felt the excitement of a premiere moment, so the 'virtual event' part worked great. I think your concept has taken the internet movie viewing experience to a new level. I'm proud to have been a part of the launch and am looking forward to next show."

Not long after the New Intelligentsia launch Cynthia DuVal was invited to give a pitch about New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas at The Big Idea Lab in Bellingham, Washington. They offered feedback from a panel of investors with the winner for the night earning an office and further help with the startup. She went for it. DuVal said, "Giving the pitch was a great experience. I made some mistakes but that's OK. The Big Idea Lab investors gave me great advice about how to improve my pitch and apply Lean Startup principles to New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas. With their help and my motivation, I'm confident New Intelligentsia will continue to develop." She didn't win the contest but she got the desk, internet connection and startup community she needed.

New Intelligentsia Online Cinemas is currently building programs and showing several films in a group of online cinemas, each broadcasting niche film content. The cinemas are the Edgy Indy, New Intelligentsia, Sustainable Futures, Intimalente and the Bellingham Beacon Cinemas.

The Edgy Indy cinema is showing four early avant garde films by Rick Schmidt. Entertaining films from Eric Saperston's Live in Wonder Series, films from Paul Bishop's Extraordinary Ambassador's Series and a talking head film by Joe Brewer from his Sustainable Futures Series are playing in the New Intelligentsia Cinema. Seven documentary films from the 2012 Sustainable Design and Development Conference are going up in the Bellingham Beacon Cinema this week. And, twelve international films from the Intimate Lens Ethnographic Film Festival Caserta 2012 are now playing on CNON.tv.

Due to design challenges, accessing the Intimate Lens films requires a bit of hunting and pecking that mainstream audiences aren't used to. As DuVal says, "These brilliant films by visual ethnographers around the world are well worth the trouble to find and watch. They deserve to be seen and online audiences deserve to see them. Sad but true we can't all go to Caserta, Italy to experience the live festival. DuVal Ethnographic and our New Intelligentsia Online Cinema collaborators, are on our way to solving the travel problem for film festivals and movie lovers."

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Cynthia DuVal

Patt Leger
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