The plan reflects the varied ways films can reach audiences, highlighted in a Screen Australia report last month. Beyond the Box Office found that of Australian feature films released from 2007 to 2009, only 9 per cent of viewings were in cinemas while 61 per cent were on DVD or Blu-ray.
It noted the migration towards online viewings, at just 4 per cent, but that was growing fast. The number of people downloading or streaming video online had doubled in just three years. "There is growing capability and interest in viewing long-form video online," the report says.
Under a DVD distribution deal with Transmission Films and Paramount, The Tunnel will be released in Australia and New Zealand. A "few thousand" DVD sales is enough for the film to break even, says Tedeschi, 34. It is also being spruiked at the Cannes Film Festival to attract international distributors.
"It's been a hard sell because most sales agents who have looked at the film and really like it can't see a way to sell it to their clients, with this 'free online release' sort of hampering their strategy," Tedeschi says. "For them it's hampering; to us it's not."
The Tunnel will be launched on Wednesday at Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction, in a Popcorn Taxi screening followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers and Andrew Denton.
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