Indie filmmaker hub OpenFilm goes live with user-generated clips

Openfilm announced the public launch of its next-generation video sharing website. The site showcases a fast-growing collection of high quality short films and animations displayed in high resolution. Openfilm provides a venue for users to watch premium video content, as well as for filmmakers to exhibit their works, and to enjoy a full-featured, social networking forum between viewers and creators.

“Openfilm is focused on ‘user-generated films’ – original high quality videos and animation with high production values and artistic merit, from shorts and web series to feature-length films,” commented Timothy Pastushkin, Co-Founder and CEO of Openfilm. “There is an ever-growing number of professional quality films created by independent filmmakers, whose production values are closing the quality gap between Web video and Hollywood.”

Content Selection

Openfilm features many of the Internet’s highly popular viral videos in high resolution, from award-winning animated shorts (such as Papiroflexia and Sebastian’s Voodoo by Joaquin Baldwin) to live action videos of different genres and length. Videos submitted to Openfilm are pre-screened by the Openfilm staff to ensure they meet the site’s high standards of production quality. The site currently offers over 700 original short films of all genres on more than 180 channels featuring independent filmmakers, production studios, film festivals and film schools including Vancouver Film School, Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival and others. Openfilm offers a 50/50 advertising revenue sharing program to all content providers. The website’s limited amount of selected content will enable the best producers’ works to finally stand out.

User Experience

Openfilm achieves the best user experience by presenting all videos in a large, high-definition player, capable of displaying videos in 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios, at resolutions from 640×360 pixels up to full HD at 1280×720 pixels, and bitrates from 700 kbps to 1500 kbps. The site’s classification of content as either “video” or “animation” as well as ability to browse the content by genres from Action to Video Art makes it very easy for viewers to locate what they seek.

Openfilm’s in-house production staff, which also produces original web shows that appear on the site, processes all approved submissions to ensure high quality playback. Attention is also given to details that are often ignored on other video sharing sites: thumbnail control, transcribing full credits from the videos, generating subtitles and translation dubs in English and Spanish, inclusion of production photos and multiple thumbnails, and more.

Independent Filmmakers Joining Openfilm

The site’s community of independent filmmakers is growing very rapidly with some of the most prominent names in the world of web video joining the ranks. Comedy groups such as Liv Films and The Minor Prophets have chosen the site so that visitors are able to view their content in its original resolution. The same is true for young filmmakers Fetus Films, Inc. who appreciate the exposure and rich presentation style Openfilm offers their ambitious works, and cinematographers and visual effects wizards such as Patrick Boivin and Dastoli Digital whose artful creations The Grief and Southwestern Orange County vs. the Flying Saucers respectively require a video player like Openfilm’s to be fully appreciated.

A representative of Dastoli Digital underlines this point, when talking about other popular video sharing sites: “…everything is so terribly compressed with blurry artifacts that you can’t actually see the artistry that goes into a given shot. I spend time on shots to make sure they hold up on a large display, so resolution and quality are very important to me. What is great about Openfilm is that they offer a high resolution and great quality.”

Animators from around the globe are also providing content of all styles and lengths – from quirky, stop-motion shorts like Poor Daisy by Werbs to 3D epics like Raven by Daredevil Films. Serious indie feature filmmakers are also joining in. Executive producer Darlene Lieblich and director Ken Tipton have chosen Openfilm as an online platform for the high quality version of their feature film Heart of the Beholder which is being presented in sequential pieces as part of a marketing campaign for the film’s DVD release. “…Even if you do make an award-winning independent movie like Heart of the Beholder, the marketplace is shut out to you unless you have studio contacts. Thankfully, offers an unrestricted venue to the world where filmmakers can have their passion projects seen,” says Lieblich.

Content Partnerships with Film Festivals and Film Schools

“An expanding group of key content partners has helped Openfilm achieve an impressive initial array of high quality videos on the website,” commented Justin Heber, Openfilm’s VP of Business Development. “Not only are we in close contact today with many emerging filmmakers, but we are also focusing much of our attention on the organizations that serve them, particularly film festivals and film schools.”

Several film festivals and film schools have already joined forces with Openfilm. Among them is Vancouver Film School, consistently named among the most distinguished film schools in the world, Miami International University of Art & Design, Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival, South Beach International Animation Festival, and Montreal-based Young Cuts Film Festival.

Michael Ryan, Director of the Young Cuts Film Festival, stated, “We found a great fit and a great opportunity in working with Openfilm – their focus on creating an exciting venue for young, independent filmmakers to exhibit their works marries up perfectly with our own endeavors, and the social networking dimension of adds significantly to the quality of interaction between filmmakers and viewers.”

Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival’s Executive Director Yanik Ruiz-Ramon commented: “Openfilm helps us in our quest to provide ever more exposure for Philadelphia’s filmmakers. And they are doing it in high quality Flash video. This, for us, is the most important part. We’re very impressed with the quality of their content (both video quality and the actual product).”

Noreen Legault, Director of the South Beach International Film Festival, added: “We’re very excited about our cooperation with Openfilm. We look forward to establishing a new on-line dimension to our festival, all the way from streamlined submissions over the Internet to holding a series of virtual on-line mini-fests, in addition to our traditional screenings.”

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