The Paley Center for Media, formerly called The Museum of Television & Radio, and SnagFilms announced today a first-of-its-kind collaboration between a leading cultural media institution and an Internet start-up to help documentary producers break down the barriers to reach fresh audiences for their films. Through a shared passion for expanding access to documentaries, the Paley Center, an important convener of the documentary film community, and SnagFilms, a groundbreaking Internet documentary distribution platform, are working together to help filmmakers discover alternative opportunities for getting their creative works in front of an expanded audience around the world, while in the process, helping them generate new financial resources.
Today only a small fraction of the documentary films produced receive theatrical distribution. Thousands are submitted to festivals but only a relative handful actually pop-up on the cultural radar. The resulting gridlock means many films are invisible to documentary enthusiasts. Both organizations contend that they are committed to promoting new pipelines for documentary makers and documentary lovers.
The Paley Center for Media, which hosts numerous live documentary events throughout the year including the annual PaleyDocFest in New York, is increasingly “the place” where all participants in the documentary field—established filmmakers, up-and-coming artists, fans and distributors— come together to build the community through screenings, seminars, workshops, and receptions. Likewise, the SnagFilms platform, conceived by founder and Chairman Ted Leonsis, with venture funding from Leonsis, AOL cofounder Steve Case, and Miles Gilburne, provides new fans and revenue for established and emerging documentarians alike; facilitates the sharing of films via virtual theater widgets across the Internet; and connects viewers to the charities and communities associated with each documentary. The Paley Center for Media and SnagFilms are working together to raise awareness of important new distribution outlets for documentarians whose films may not have traditional theatrical distribution, or who have personal film libraries that are not currently available to the public.
The Paley Center for Media, with locations in New York and Los Angeles, leads the discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public. Drawing upon its curatorial expertise, an international collection, and close relationships with the leaders of the media community, the Paley Center examines the intersections between media and society. The general public can access the collection and participate in programs that explore and celebrate the creativity, the innovations, the personalities, and the leaders who are shaping media. For more info visit www.paleycenter.org.
SnagFilms features free ad-supported viewing of hundreds of award-winning titles from some of the greatest names in documentary film production and distribution, including PBS, National Geographic, Sundance Preserve, IndiePix, Peter Jennings Productions, Arts Alliance America, ITVS, Koch Lorber Films, Cactus Three, and many others. Many of the most prominent documentary filmmakers are participating not only by having their films distributed via SnagFilms, but by engaging with their audience through blogs and offering special bonus material, as well as suggesting nonprofit organizations that viewers motivated by these films can link to and support via charitable contributions, volunteering or spreading the word. The company was founded by digital entrepreneur, documentary film producer, sports entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, and is also backed by AOL co-founder and Revolution Chairman Steve Case.