[Press Release by Gil Scrine Films]
In recognizing the power of film to create social change, Gil Scrine, owner of boutique distribution company Gil Scrine Films, has established a new not-for-profit public company, Cinema Ventures Ltd., to develop film distribution strategies based on philanthropy.
A veteran distributor of theatrical documentaries, Mr Scrine calls the first of these strategies ‘Community Targeted Distribution’ (CTD). “The idea for CTD has grown out of years of struggling to present issue-based documentaries in cinemas under a commercial paradigm,” said Mr Scrine.
“CTD works by allowing ‘host groups’ in regional centres to run film screenings for their own benefit. Each ‘host’ is drawn from existing groups already formed around issues explored in the films,” he said. Under the CTD scheme, a ‘host group’ can keep 100% of the box office to further their work.
“Experience has shown that this idea works, especially when filmmakers present their work in person to cinema audiences. The missing piece was always the costs of getting a film and the filmmaker on the road,” said Mr. Scrine. “Cinema Ventures raises these costs from philanthropy and uses the money to realize the highest aims of the filmmakers, investors and contributors.”
The first film to be piloted in the scheme is Steve Thomas’s refugee-themed documentary HOPE. Documentary Australia Foundation has granted DGR charity status for Cinema Ventures’ pilot tour of HOPE, allowing all donations to be tax deductible.
Cinema Ventures is scheduling a tour of community screenings for HOPE, the first set for Phillip Island in Victoria on 12 November to be hosted by local group, Rural Australians for Refugees. Screenings are also planned in November for Ballarat, Whyalla and Rosebud with others to follow.
HOPE’s director, Steve Thomas says, “I’m really grateful for this opportunity. Screening to cinema audiences and having face to face interaction with an audience is satisfying as a filmmaker but more than that, I get to see the film creating real change and I’m being supported to do it.”
Mr Scrine added, “The CTD scheme offers benefits not only to the host groups, but to the film industry as well. The shared experience of watching a film in a cinema often leads to activism and change, but for filmmakers, this can be a real learning experience. With enough donors and Steve’s enthusiasm, his film will travel far and wide, not only making progress for the plight of refugees in this country but allowing Steve to gain experience from audiences across Australia.
Strategic direction for Cinema Ventures Ltd. will come from the new Board of Directors: Andrew Pike OAM (educational film distributor of Ronin Films, producer and director), Pat Fiske (film producer, director, sound recordist, educator) and Carolyn Johnson (Film producer and educator with a merchant banking background)
To make a donation to Cinema Ventures Ltd. for the CTD tour of HOPE, please visit the Documentary Australia website and go to ‘make a grant’: www.documentaryaustralia.com.au
For more information on Cinema Ventures visit: www.gilscrinefilms.com.au