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documentaries and the web

A good friend of mine is a documentary film maker; more than that. His latest film, about violinist Malcolm Goldstein is a challenging and brilliant work of art in itself, much more than a typical portrait documentary.

The market for a film like that is small – a few festivals, hundreds, maybe a few thousand people will see it in a theatre. TV will never pick up something like this, not even arty cable. Certainly no commercial movie houses.

A movie like this — based so much on sound, and on the scale of the image — ought to be seen in theatre, where the full work of art can be appreciated and experienced as it should be. Big screen, big sound, silence, darkness.

That’s true enough.

Still, as a filmmaker, you are stuck in the constraints of festivals and distributors for your distribution; yet the film is made, and there are people – like me – who would like to see it, but cannot.

This is a ramble, and it’s obvious where I am going with it. But I just watched this beautiful documentary yesterday, on Vimeo – a free service – and what can I say? OK, it’s not the big screen, but it is beautiful, moving, fascinating. If you’re a film maker, put your stuff online, like this [best to watch it full screen]:

POSSESSED from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.


  1. matt matt 2008-03-14

    great film. and great method of distribution.

    eventually all niche films will be distributed like this. unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for filmmakers to catch on.

  2. Hugh Hugh 2008-03-15

    except for a tiny number of docs, all documentaries are niche. ditto art films, experimental films, short films.

  3. ewa stern ewa stern 2008-04-03

    thank you 4 vimeo

    a great documentary

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