We were lucky enough to chat with the indie filmmaker Mario Di Leonardo, who is celebrating the release of his new film 'LONERS', available to stream through Amazon Prime Video right now. Here is the full interview, all about streaming:
SMR - Was it easy for you to get your film ‘Loners’ onto Amazon Prime Video?
MDL - The funny thing is that here in the Netherlands there is no Amazon. They never established themselves here. Of course it is possible for Dutch people to order stuff on Amazon, but they have do that on the American, British or German site. Anyway, the whole Amazon Prime thing for LONERS is managed via Filmhub, who also manage all the other platforms. At the time of writing the only VOD platform I use directly is Vimeo.
SMR - What do you think about illegal streaming?
MDL - When it comes to illegal streaming I see it as rather pathetic. There are actually people who rather go to the hassle of illegal downloading, searching hours and hours for subtitles and take the risk of having their computers infected with viruses, just because they prefer to steal. This is what I consider pathetic. Especially at this time there are so many legal options for affordable prices that make the whole illegal ways of getting content obsolete. However, it is damaging, like all theft is damaging to any business. It is more damaging for independent filmmakers than for the big Hollywood studios since they only interested in the money they make in the first couple of weeks.
SMR - Your film ‘Loners’ is available to watch with a free Amazon Prime trial. Do you receive any payment/benefit when someone takes a free trial and watches your film?
MDL - I guess it is the same as with clients who have the first month for free over at Netflix. Their calculation is based on the entire income and then divided across all the movies that has been watched, depending on the watch time. So there is no damage to the income of an individual movie because free trial customers watched them.
SMR - What do you think of the proposed Disney streaming service (considering that Disney might take subscribers from Amazon and Netflix and are less likely to support independent filmmakers)?
MDL - Like everybody I like Disney, but I don't like Disney enough to shed a single tear if they take all their content to their own streaming service. I never felt that I missed out when I didn't watch any Disney movie and it is very rare that I like the singing. There are of course exceptions like Mary Poppins or Frozen. In most cases I want to lay on the ground in fetus position when the singing starts. In most cases I just take a bathroom break. Don't get me wrong, I like musicals here and there, but that forced singing because of the singing is just twisting my nuts.
I know that Disney owns also a big chunk of other franchises, but they will do great without me watching either. I feel that there are so many great Netflix originals that I will not be able to get through my list before I have reached the right age for retirement.
SMR - What is your advice for independent filmmakers who want to get their film(s) on good streaming platforms?
MDL - Of course it is nice to get this question asked, but I really don't feel that I am in the position to give a lot of advice here. I'm not much further at this point in time than any other first time filmmaker is, who just finished his first movie and gets his toes wet. It's all trial and error. The most important piece of advice I can give is this: be careful with any service that wants money from you, makes promises that you get all the revenue and then bills you for their services on the long run.
As I said earlier, I used Filmhub to get LONERS on Amazon Prime and when you make use of the Filmfreeway benefit you keep 100% of the revenue in the first year and after that you keep 75%. That's it. An important side note: I don't work long enough with Filmhub in order to really review them. I had some very good conversations with their fast responding team, but it will take a longer time for me to be able to recommend them for the full 100%.
There we are - a great interview with a passionate filmmaker. Once again, his film 'LONERS' is on Amazon Prime Video right now, check it out!