The new Australian horror movie The Tunnel is being released simultaneously on DVD, TV and BitTorrent — and no, the torrent release isn’t done by nefarious pirates. It’s a cooperation of the filmmakers, P2P distribution platform VODO.net and BitTorrent Inc., which is distributing the film through an app on its client. Check out the trailer for the movie below:
Why did the filmmakers Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi decide to go this route? Here’s a snippet from their website that speaks volumes:
“We have an entire generation who are being labelled criminals for using that tool. But perhaps rather than wasting millions of dollars fighting a losing battle against Internet piracy, we should try and find a way to embrace the possibilities that this new world brings…”
The duo didn’t just want to give the movie away and receive nothing in return. Instead, they came up with an interesting take on grassroots fund-raising for filmmakers: File sharers were encouraged to buy single frames of the movie to make up for any potential losses. The idea seems to work: Harvey and Tedeschi have already sold more than 37,000 frames for $1 each. All in all, there are 135,000 frames for sale.
This isn’t the first time BitTorrent has been embraced by filmmakers. The Yes Men released their feature documentary The Yes Men Save the World via VODO last year, and the platform has also been featuring the sci-fi series Pioneer One, which is available exclusively via P2P. However, it’s notable that file sharing isn’t the only way for horror fans to get The Tunnel. Aside from BitTorrent, the movie has also debuted on Showtime Australia (s cbs) as well as on DVD through Paramount Home Video (s via). In essence, adding BitTorrent to these traditional means of distribution means they’re taking cross-platform distribution to the max.