Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, Jan. 8th
When film producer Ted Hope (“21 Grams,” "The Ice Storm") resigned his position as the head of the San Francisco Film Society after just a year in the Executive Director role the indie film world collectively wondered what he'd get up to next.
Hope quickly ruled out returning to film producing as his career in a sobering personal blog post.
Today Hope's fate has been revealed: he's taking on the role of CEO of the SF based streaming video-on-demand service Fandor.
You can be forgiven for not knowing what Fandor is, after all, Netflix has been synonymous with movie streaming services for the better part of a decade now. Yet as Netflix drifts away from film in favor of television a oppotuniity has emerged for other services to fill in the gap.
So what kind of films can you find at Fandor? Well how about a few personal indie favorites? "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty" (2012) and "Bellflower" (2011) are both available on the service. So are sci-fi cult classics like "The Day of the Triffids" (1962) and John Carpenter's "Dark Star" (1974). Of those four only "Bellflower" can be streamed on Netflix, which doesn't return any results for the poetic, experimental "Oversimplification".
The Fandor site is organized both by genre and by film festival, so if playing catch-up with the Indieratti is a goal the service can help with that.
In the press release announcing Hope's tenure the new CEO affirms his intention to "reboot" the film ecosystem.
"Our entire film culture remains structured around antiquated concepts of cinema, audience, and engagement," said Hope, "Fandor is part of a great systems reboot of this ecosystem, one that is as equally rewarding for the artist and the audience."
In an interview with Anne Thompson at Indiewire Hope explains the financial part of the filmmaker's rewards. Half the subscription revenue on curated titles goes to those who hold the rights on the films:
"It's done on a pro rata basis," says Hope, "based on the minutes viewed. If you have a short and it's ten minutes and 100 people watch ten minutes, that's 1000 minutes calculated overall viewing time. The more subscribers we have and the more work is viewed, the more people benefit. It's a sensible logic, it's how it should work."
Hope's tone after the resignation from SFFS had at times seemed downright pessimistic. This latest turn adds some always needed–forgive the play on words–hope back to the part of the indie world where the storied producer is an influence and inspiration.
It probably won't hurt Fandor's bottom line amongst Hope's most dedicated followers, either.