Central New York Company Bringing Movie Business Back to Area

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Izkara, a new Ithaca-based company, is carving a niche out of the online movie streaming business and in the process is helping out another local film-related organization.

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There is a lot of great content out there that is being ignored by traditional distributors who only acquire the easy-to-promote-and-sell movies, and leave other great films without a name cast to fend for themselves.

While it’s been nearly a century since the Wharton brothers left Ithaca for the west coast, two young Ithaca men are working to carve a niche out of the current online movie streaming business and shift the focus back east. In the process, they have also teamed up with a local organization that is preserving the area’s silent film era in an effort to help out both endeavors.

Ithaca College graduate and Utica-native Matt Watkajtys along with Tompkins-Cortland Community College graduate Jeff Hodges established Izkara to provide an outlet for great movies that have been ignored by traditional distributors; movies that lack big name talent or state-of-the-art special effects, yet offer compelling stories and great acting.

According to Matt, the Izkara founder and CEO, “There is a lot of great content out there that is being ignored by traditional distributors who only acquire the easy-to-promote-and-sell movies, and leave other great films without a name cast to fend for themselves.”
Izkara is changing that dynamic and others, like filmmaker compensation. “Filmmakers need to be fairly compensated so they can continue to entertain us. They have families to feed and bills to pay. Unfortunately, current streaming options put the filmmaker last in line for compensation” says Matt.

Izkara offers a simple filmmaker payment plan that pays them the very first time, and every time, their film is viewed on the Izkara website. Thus, viewers are directly helping the person who made the film. More movie viewings directly translate into more revenue for the filmmaker, who receives nearly half of all film earnings.

Izkara is just getting off the ground. “We worked really hard to find an initial lineup of movies we felt met the Izkara standard. It was a challenge, though, as distributors didn’t trust a no-name company with their films. We are trying to gain support from the viewing public that appreciates good movies and a sustainable industry, to help open doors so we can provide them with more great movies.”

To do so, Izkara is currently raising funds from a crowd-sourced campaign on IndieGoGo. Rather than offer the typical pledge trinkets to their funders, they wanted something more sustainable and chose to team up with non-profits such as the Ithaca Motion Picture Project. “People are not just supporting Izkara, but also IMPP and their efforts to sustain an important part of film history” says Matt.

IMPP is dedicated to celebrating and preserving Central New York’s silent movie history, and transforming the former Wharton movie studio in Stewart Park, Ithaca, NY, into a motion picture museum. “IMPP is excited to partner with Izkara, a movie-related, Ithaca-based venture like our own“, says IMPP co-founder Diana Riesman. "Whether you are talking about early 20th century silent movies or movies being made now – a hundred years later – at the heart of the matter is a passion for great storytelling on film and that's what connects both organizations."

With that level of passion and vision from both groups, perhaps the movie industry will indeed return to Ithaca.

Izkara Contacts:
Matt Watkajtys CEO/founder

IMPP Contacts:
Diana Riesman/Founder
About Izkara

Izkara is a new online film streaming and distribution company that acquires only the best possible content, assuring audiences that Izkara films are worth the time and money. The Izkara catalog is built with some of the best films that have not received traditional distribution; great films that had been ignored and orphaned, lacking big name talent and left to fend for themselves.

This includes many films with enthusiastic followings in minor release which have remained in relative obscurity. Additionally, Izkara provides fair and simple payment to filmmakers to support what they call “sustainable movie practices”, ensuring the next crop of great movies.

Presently they are crowd-funding on IndieGoGo.

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