Steal This Film

pirate.jpgAn interesting and inspiring movie has just been released about The Pirate Bay – the biggest Bittorrent filesharing website in the world. Millions of internet users download music, books and most prominently films via the site. Its not only a technical revolution in the distribution of media, but as the film argues, a cultural and social innovation in the way we access media.

Without any financial support the production team went to Sweden to meet the people behind the Piratebay. Without much prior experience in filmmaking they managed to produce a convincing documentary, which will be released and promoted via thepiratebay.org and StealThisFilm.com. They describe…

WE WANTED TO MAKE A FILM THAT WOULD EXPLORE THIS HUGE POPULAR MOVEMENT IN A WAY THAT EXCITED US, ENGAGED US, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, FOCUSSED ON WHAT WE KNOW TO BE THE POSITIVE AND OPTIMISTIC VISION MANY FILESHARERS AND ARTISTS (THEY ARE OFTEN ONE) HAVE FOR THE FUTURE OF CREATIVITY.

In this sense it is also a story for and about OpenBusiness approaches. From production to marketing and distribution the internet coupled with low cost availability of high quality production equipment made this project not only possible, but also financially feasible.

The footage was simply stored on a 250 GB external hard-drive which now costs less than £80. The once-prohibitively expensive HD video cameras were borrowed and editing software, of course, downloaded. All in all the movie surely cost less than £2000 and had been downloaded by over two thousand internet users in its first day of release. While the movie makes some use of copyrighted material to illustrate its points most of it is either news footage from TV or original footage.

But what is the business model behind this? Its still quite crude, but it provides a preview of the way moviemaking could develop.

Smartly the film’s creators have set up a website where they announce this is the first part of series to spur interest in the coming parts. To pre-finance those they ask for donations and sell T-Shirts. The movie’s topic is also its business model, where the lines between professional and amateur media production distribution blur.

What counts now more than ever is smarter and more creative use of the media environment to reach an audience. And most importantly digital media has truly leveled the playing field: it’s not access to millions of pounds to even start thinking about engaging into the trials and tribulations of movie production. A thousand or two thousand pounds will do to get started.

Remember Tarnation? Its just a year or two ago when this movie made international headlines, because it won a film price and was produced with a budget of 218US $ using iMovie. This was seen then as truly revolutionary.

Well, that was then and for distribution the movie still had to use professional networks to be seen an to get into cinemas. Now a couple of friends could also go with somebody like the Piratebay for marketing and distribution. This is film production completely outside the traditional industry. Its not too far off to see the Piratebay acting like a professional film company.

6 Responses to “Steal This Film”

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  1. [...] MORE UPDATES: Stealthisfilm.com, a documentary film about the Swedish Pirate Party.  Downloadable for free of course. [...]

  2. [...] OpenBusiness – Steal This Film An interesting and inspiring movie has just been released about The Pirate Bay – the biggest Bittorrent filesharing website in the world. Millions of internet users download music, books and most prominently films via the site. Its not only a technical revolution in the distribution of media, but as the film argues, a cultural and social innovation in the way we access media. [...]

  3. [...] «Steal this Film» é uma produção amadora e de baixo orçamento, embora razoavelmente bem conseguida, sobretudo por nos mostrar quem são e o que pensam os responsáveis pela existência (e sobrevivência) do peer to peer. [...]

  4. Playpen says:

    Steal This Film…

    I finally got around to discovering, downloading and watching the documentary, Steal This Film, about the MPAA’s attempts to shut down the Swedish BitTorrent tracker site, The Pirate Bay. Of course it’s available for free download at http:/…

  5. [...] OpenBusiness.cc has a blog entry about a film about “piracy” and its politics in Sweden, including a bit about the Swedish Pirate Party. Appropriately enough, you can download it for free. [...]

  6. [...] Steal This Film is interesting for two reasons: first it shows an insight into the ideas and thoughts of file sharers, from a variety of different backgrounds; from the average kid on the street to the people behind ‘The Pirate Bay’ and closely related initiatives. Secondly, the documentary was made on a shoestring budget (Openbusiness has written more about this here) and was created by people who felt that ‘old media’ was not doing justice to their views on file sharing, or as they state on their site: [...]

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