Us Now, the first release from the VODO project (www.vodo.net),
looks at how 'user' participation could transform the way that
countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks
whose self-organising structures promise to change the fabric of
government forever. Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a
football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone
is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members
share their homes with strangers.
'Distribution of information has changed completely,' says filmmaker
Ivo Gormley. 'To fight that change seems completely futile. VODO is a
new way of making this type of distribution work for everyone. I like
the idea that P2P is actually a bit more like what happened in the old
days; telling stories around fires rather than some sort of
US Now is released via VODO under a Creative Commons Sharealike
Attribution Non-Commerical License.
VODO is founded by Jamie King, one of the figures behind STEAL THIS
FILM (www.stealthisfilm.com). VODO brings filmmakers together with the
distribution power of the filesharing community. It aims to offer
fresh, quality films on a free-to-share basis, promoted and
distributed through a 'coalition' of filesharing partners that
includes big names like The Pirate Bay, Mininova, Miro,
TorrentFreak,Isohunt, Plube, OneDDL Vuze and and Frostwire, amongst
'Together, the filesharing community has a distribution capacity that
rivals and even exceeds that of the mainstream media,' says Jamie
King. 'VODO aims to leverage that power for the benefit of filmmakers
and other creators. By sharing films freely through the most popular
and fastest growing filesharing sites, we're building audiences in the
hundreds of thousands for artists. That has material value for these
filmmakers, through raised profile, donations and marketing. It's a
win-win situation and it's the future of distributing media after
Followers of release groups like aXXo will be familiar with the model.
But VODO is a release group with a twist. Not only are artists
voluntarily sharing: downloaders can choose to make voluntary
donations to creators. VODO lets creators manage their own donation
links, with all donations going directly to the filmmaker. Regular
supporters of the VODO project will receive access to all the films
being considered for release.
VODO aims to release at least one film per month during the rest of
2009 and 2010. Forthcoming titles include the premiere of 'In
Guantanamo', a documentary by first-time director David Miller that
provides unprecedented access to the Guantanmo prison camps - but King
says that fiction titles, animation and shorts will also be on the
distribution list. 'During 2010 VODO will build out a series of
revenue opportunities for its creators, with the free-to-share model
at their core,' he explains.
ABOUT THE TEAM
VODO collaborators include Nils Hellberg of Piratbyran (Sweden,
Design) and Rama Cosentino of BurnStation (Argentina, programming),
with programming support by Dan O' Huiginn (UK). Members of the
advisory board include Ashwin Navin, ex-CEO of Bittorrent Inc., and
Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay. VODO, which has been in development
since 2008, has been produced with the support of the Arts Council UK,
Emerald Fund and the Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation.
VODO's not hiring right now, but it is looking for voluntary
collaborators to help out as it grows and takes shape. Just send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.