Think of the Cannes Film Festival and you probably imagine Hollywood stars disembarking from boats and floating down the red carpet.
The reality is a little less glamorous; far from premieres and beach parties, it’s a glorified sales market, where independent film companies tout their slates to mid-level executives at distributors.
Which makes it a good place to see which way the wind is blowing in the movie Company. And this year, there was a hint of crypto in the breeze off the Mediterranean.
There have been some flashy and high-profile appearances from leaders in the crypto community; Binance CEO CZ introduced himself to a first before serve slices at a local pizzeria to score Bitcoin Pizza Day (a few days earlier), while metaverse The Sandbox platform and Bitcoin OG Charlie Shrem the two hosted beach parties; the latter to launch a crypto-powered film funding platform.
But as with the festival itself, the real action took place away from the crowds, in conference rooms and hallways.
Canes Nextthe business innovation component of the festival, held an “NFT Showcase and Business Brunch”, promising to showcase “what opportunities NFTs can offer creators, producers, financiers and studios”.
To The future of cinema event organized by Decrypt and Web3 filming platforms FF3 and Decentralized imagespanelists from across the crypto and film industries took the stage to discuss how Web3 would change film financing, production and distribution.
For FF3’s Phil McKenzie, it’s still very early days for Web3 cinema. “There are a few companies that are fundraising, that have defined their mission,” he said. “Now it’s about injecting money into productions and actually seeing the emergence of what they create. At the moment, there are still only a handful of successful projects.
One of the most high-profile projects to raise money through crypto is director Miguel Faus’ feature film “Calladita”, who is one of his supporters NFT CAD Names collection. “The Web3 revolution is definitely coming to cinema,” said Faus Decrypt. “No other art form is as centralized as cinema, and therefore no other art form is as subject to a decentralization revolution as cinema. It’s unstoppable.
For James Mackie of the crypto crowdfunding platform MovieCoin, Web3’s greatest impact will be to create new paths in the film industry. “A budding film producer doesn’t need to have anything, any experience, and we can do that,” he said. “The crowd will vote for the film they would like to see made.”
A more diverse cinema
Along the same lines, Faus argued that Web3 will allow filmmakers whose stories are currently “untold” to “rally a community behind them”, using crypto and NFTs, ultimately leading to “more diversified”.
This includes opening the door to more diverse voices; something director and producer Josephine Landertinger Forero pioneered with her Web3 movement Femalefilmmakers.xyz and her NFT Female Filmmakers: Female Gaze collection.
“These are female artists who did a piece about women working in the film industry, or their vision of what the female gaze is, what it means to them,” she explained. “And with the sales of those NFTs, we’re funding a short film that has to have a 100% female crew and cast.”
The long-term vision, she said, is for the community to become a self-sustaining film fund for fledgling filmmakers. “NFTs and crypto go straight to the community and cut out the middleman,” she added. “It’s the way to get our stories told.”
“Web3 can systematize the ability for surprising voices and creators to be in places you least expect,” agreed DC Cassidy, founder of film studio Web3. NextHollywood.
He added that by building communities around Web3 tools like NFTs, filmmakers can get “direct buy-in from their community to get feedback from them.” He cited the example of Mila Kunis’ NFT anime series “Stoner Cats,” where “token holders will be able to directly decide what happens with story-level choices.”
Web3 communities could also impact the inner workings of production, said Decentralized Pictures’ Mike Musante. “You can go out and at any time, poll a community with two versions of a scene, A/B test it, set up a bounty, and say, ‘We’re going to pay you x thousand dollars of our crypto, and you give your opinion on the two different scenes.'”
keep it simple, stupid
Yet to gain wider acceptance in the film industry, Web3 pioneers need to frame the technology in more easily understood terms, Cassidy said. “I’m already starting to call NFTs ‘access passes’,” he said, reaching into the language of video games. “I think that’s a way of speaking that the major studios we’ve spoken to, the talent we’ve spoken to, can better understand.”
Mihai Crasneanu, CEO of streaming platform Web3 Beemagreed that language is a barrier to Web3 adoption.
“Back when the Internet started, people talked about TCPIP, SMTP, HTML, in the same sentence as ‘You should be on the Internet,'” he said.
Now, “We have to come up with names like NFT and Web3 because something is new, but nobody cares. It’s about watching a movie, supporting your creator, and engaging in an easy to do for everyone. If people want to use their Facebook accounts and credit card and Apple Pay, let them. And it’s up to us to work on beautiful interfaces to make the transition easier.
Bringing awareness of Web3 technologies to the film industry will take grassroots effort; something that Warrior Love Productions is pioneering with Mintworthy. The initiative, in conjunction with the NEAR Foundation, will award filmmakers $10,000 grants to make short films that “inspire disruptive innovation and social change.”
Winners will be required to complete a Web3 training course which involves creating NFTs to support the film. “We also offer Web3 training, curriculum, mentoring,” said founder Melissa Jun Rowley. “We are very supportive of artists in many different facets, whether visual artists, musicians, filmmakers; we’re here to help facilitate ownership of that and help those funding models be better realized.
Ultimately, said Camila Russo, whose book The infinite machine is being adapted into a feature film funded in part by NFTs, the march of Web3 in the film industry is unstoppable.
“Web3 is here,” she said. “And I think it’s going to start spreading across all industries; of course, the cinema will not be excluded. And it’s already happening. To me, it doesn’t matter that the traditional film industry is ready.
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