Most movie studios take a dim view of p2p file-sharing and go to outrageous lengths to combat the free distribution of their products on sites like BitTorrent. Considering piracy’s growing global reach and the near-impossibility of stopping the spread of movies, music and other media once it hits the internet, many web critics (and, unsurprisingly, pirates) have called for content producers and distributors to rethink how they do business.
At least one big movie studio is paying attention to the cries for change.
Despite the apparent conflict of interest, this was the plan all along according to Distracted Media, the company behind the film: an actual free movie in an age where free movies typically involve criminal activity.
“The internet was meant to be a tool to connect us,” reads an entry at the film’s official site. “It was meant to break down and liberate. Now we have an entire generation who are being labeled 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 end result of Distracted Media’s 135K Project which allowed people the option to purchase frames from the film in order to cover its release on torrents, “The Tunnel” is a fictional story set within actual abandoned passageways beneath Sydney, Australia.
Considering the film’s faux-documentary style (as evinced in the trailer), it wouldn’t be completely unfair to draw comparisons to similarly shot success stories, like “The Blair Witch Project,” “Cloverfield” and Paranormal Activity.”
While “The Tunnel” won’t have the chance to shock theatergoers into spilling their popcorn, a straight-to-DVD release courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment Australia and Transmission Films – combined with a complimentary online version – marks a tactic that might be employed more and more, especially for low-budget, independent movies.