I was absolutely stunned this morning to find out that Jamin Winans and Kiowa Winans INK was illegally downloaded via bit torrent sites like Pirate Bay (INK was the #1 downloaded film ahead of major Hollywood releases) over 100,000 times.
We just had Jamin and Kiowa on our Film Courage radio show this past week. Their interview has shattered all records for our show from most listens, most downloads, and most page views. All of this in it's first week online. I believe it is a MUST listen. It is an in-depth case study on the money it took to make INK, their decision to retain the rights to their film and self-distribute and even highlights their deals with Blockbuster and Netflix.
Here is the interview: Jamin Winans and Kiowa Winans on Film Courage
So now, just two days away from wide-release on NOVEMBER 10th, 2009, on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster (they even have Region 0 DVD's where it can be seen anywhere in the world) the pirates come thieving.
This news has been sinking in all day. On one side it absolutely infuriates me and on the other I am completely overjoyed. I was on the phone with Jamin about 2 or 3 weeks ago and we talked about piracy and bit torrents. We know there is nothing we can do about it. To combat piracy, Jamin and Kiowa have done all they can to make INK available through all major outlets as fast as they humanly could. There is no major studio behind this release. As a matter of fact, if you listen to our interview with Jamin and Kiowa, you will hear them say that up until November 10th all DVD orders are being handled by them right from their house. This is their dedication to get their film out to their fans as soon as they can. I can tell you this, Jamin never imagined that his film would be so popular as to be the #1 illegally downloaded movie anywhere. He was obviously concerned about it being pirated but this is absolutely insane.
I am not a part of any bit torrent sites, so I am not familiar. How common is it for an Independently financed, independently made, and independently distributed film like INK to be in such demand through piracy??? Can you share with me any other specific examples? Is INK in unique territory? Is it just the INK phenomenon?
In our phone conversation, I was telling Jamin that I believe INK is going to be huge when it hits DVD. I never suspected this and I know that Jamin and Kiowa have to both be floored, both positively and negatively.
100,000 legal downloads is enough to instantly take Jamin and Kiowa out of debt. They would be able to pay back their investors which is something they are adamant about. This would immediately send them into the black. For those of you who are not aware, Jamin and Kiowa spent at least a year in pre-production, 80 days in production, almost two years in post-production, and almost a year semi-theatrically distributing the film across the country.
They have now received the ultimate validation on their work. Screw all the distributors and gatekeepers who said no to 'INK.' As a matter of fact Kiowa just wrote a great blog about this very thing on their DoubleEdgeFilms.blogspot site. It is one of the best film blogs out there. If you go back to the first blog and read through, you can be right in the passenger seat with them from the beginning of their the distribution journey.
I just want to urge all of you to see INK, but do it right way. I want to see Jamin and Kiowa Winans continue to make films. Let's support them in a way that enables them to do just that. Buy the film from their site http://www.doubleedgefilms.com/ where they offer an amazing package of an autographed DVD/Blu Ray, T-shirt and Poster for $34.99, or you can get INK from Amazon, Blockbuster, Netflix, or iTunes.
There has been tremendous discussion on piracy happening at the INK Facebook Fan Page
(The least some of you who illegally downloaded the film can do is 'Become a Fan')
So what do you think, is Piracy a good thing? Is it going to help Jamin and Kiowa more that they have received all of this 'free advertising?' Is this the best thing that could have happened to them? How does it make you feel?