One year ago this week, I called “Year of the Fish” my favorite film of 2007 without a distributor. It's a rotoscoped fairy tale (animated by drawing over images of live actors) about a Chinese immigrant who's forced to work in a massage parlor, until a fortune-teller casts a spell. It had just won both the audience and judges' awards for best feature at the Asheville Film Festival.
So I was surprised last week when “Fish” swam back into view. It's part of the launch of Gigantic Digital, a site that lets anyone in the United States with a broadband connection see first-run features in markets where they won't get theatrical distribution. Releases will come out on www.gigantic digital.com on the same day as limited theatrical openings in major markets.
Features will come from Gigantic Releasing's slate of acquisitions, as well as partnerships with independent filmmakers. “Fish” is available now, as is “The Doorman” (Wayne Price's comic tale of a New York gatekeeper).
Independent films have become somewhat of an endangered species; the economic climate and a shrinking market for alternative product mean that films below Hollywood's radar are getting harder to make or distribute. If this endeavor succeeds, it could be a boon to both writer-directors and audiences.
You can use the site on PCs and Macs; a film costs $2.99 for unlimited 3-day access, and there's free content from Gigantic's library of narrative and documentary short films.