Dallas Startup Creating an Alternative to the MPAA for Independent Films

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Dallas filmmaker Anthony Brownrigg is starting up FilmRev. A company with plans to bring independent film into the twenty first century, and leave Hollywood behind.

In todays day and age, does independent film still need Hollywood?

Anthony Brownrigg doesn't think so.

Summer 2012 Brownrigg, along with partners Emerick Jade, Burton Bailey, and Magil Booth are preparing an entirely new method of marketing, and distributing independent films. And doing so without Hollywood support, and without the MPAA.

"I think the MPAA is a great organization for the companies that own it," states Brownrigg. "But many independent filmmakers consider the organization a limiting, antiquated system that is far from transparent, and often ignores what audiences want to see."

FilmRev is a company that plans to bring social media, crowd-funding, and on-demand distribution all under one roof. With the audiences helping drive what movies they want to see get made, use crowd-funding from places like IndieGoGo to get them financed, and even help the filmmakers know what they want and dont want before the films are even made in the hopes of solidifying an audience.

On top of everything else. The company plans on introducing MDK, the Movie Development Kit. An entirely new market, that will sell not only the raw footage of a movie, but the actual edit timeline as well. Allowing those that purchase the kit an opportunity to recut a movie to their own liking and get it on the REV channel on demand network for the chance of profits on their handiwork.

"Piracy is always a big concern," says Brownrigg "But SOPA isn't the solution, folks are going to pirate films anyway. Instead lets give them the opportunity to use their editing skills that are so prevalent on YouTube to re-cut a directors film altogether, make it a comedy, make it a dramatic short. And if their version gets money on the on-demand network then they get a piece of that as well as the original filmmaker."

The REV Channel will do something different. Instead of hosting just a title for on demand viewing, it will host a category. Under that category the theatrical cut, the directors cut, and other cuts from MDK purchasers, Mike's Cut, Susans comedy cut, and so on.

The FilmRev site is also constructing a casting network. Much like reality TV shows that utilize voting to help discover new talent. It will make available to any filmmaker that brings their project into FilmRev the ability to use that network to host open calls, and let the public vote on who they like or dont like in a certain role. The idea being that independents dont have the large budgets that studios do for advertising, but by engaging the public in this way it also markets the film at the same time.

"Any filmmaker would love to say they have an audience waiting to see their film, instead of making a film with the hopes it finds an audience."

Any filmmaker can get their film project on the FilmRev site for free. FilmRev will make its money through advertising, and percentage points when the film is released on the REV channel, and also through sales of the films MDK. But not every film is required to produce an MDK, it like the crowd-casting is an option to help the filmmaker garner a pre-release audience.

But the big controversy is surrounding FilmRev's attempt to form a new ratings system to compete with the MPAA. The concept has been talked about before, and even tried but Brownrigg feels FilmRev is the perfect place to start down that avenue. The rating's system will be truly independent, and the 'raters' will all be known due to the fact that they will campaign for the position on the FilmRev public site, and voted into one of twenty positions available by the public. Each rater will hold their position for one year only, at which point their 'slot' opens up to new individuals.

"With an all digital flow-through, really it's only a matter of hosting the film privately on a secure server for the raters, they can live wherever, and still get the opportunity to log on and watch the film, answer some questions and help establish an age rating that below the agreed age would recommend parental supervision" says Brownrigg.

FilmRev is starting with three "Pilot" films. "Freeborn", a werewolf drama. "Archaic Redemption", a post apocalyptic zombie film based around the online game City of Lost Angels. And a remake of S.F. Brownriggs (Anthony's father), "Don't Look in the Basement" cult horror film. The films are of varying budgets, and all set for public funding through IndieGoGo in order to test out some of FilmRev's elements and the MDK.

FilmRev will not officially open its doors until mid summer 2012. But right now in the spirit of public opinion has opened up a forum on the FilmRev site, in order to gain public opinion on the ratings system, and get feedback on what filmmakers would like to have available to them on the site itself, as well as feedback on the individual films before they're made.

"If someone wants to spend ten bucks a ticket to see a movie or twenty bucks for a DVD, then why not spend the twenty bucks on helping get one that you want to see get made, get a cool gift, and a free DVD. Or spend the cost of two video games, and cut your own version and actually make some money. I hope some folks get to launch careers out of this."

There's also plans for FilmRev to enter into the theatrical market, but those plans are currently still under wraps.


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Anthony Brownrigg

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