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B-Side Film Festival Website Folds

B-Side

B-Side, the film festival listings website and film distribution company, is folding on March 1 after being in business for a decade. Filmmaker Magazine has the scoop.

This is particularly crappy news for several reasons. One, yes, obviously the unemployment for its employees. Two, B-Side’s festival listings were a fantastic product. Three, the loss of yet another distribution opportunity for indie filmmakers.

Sadly, according to Filmmaker’s interview with B-Side CEO and founder Chris Hyams, it seems like it was the distribution arm of the company that ultimately killed the whole thing. The venture capital firm, Valhalla Partners, that was backing B-Side was unahppy with the amount of revenue the distributed films was bringing in, so they cut off all funding. Then, B-Side was unable to find another investor.

One of the things that surprised me personally reading B-Side’s obit is that the company didn’t charge for their festival listings. I had always assumed they did, following in the financial model of Withoutabox. Hyams told Filmmaker that B-Side was going to start charging festivals, but that revenue stream hadn’t kicked in yet.

So, I guess the entirety of B-Side’s income was to come from their distribution because they certainly didn’t run any ads on their website. They did have a nice movie downloading service. I downloaded some films from them to watch on my iPod. Although that was a few years ago.

B-Side’s closing does effect the Underground Film Journal in a way as their festival listings were easy to copy over to this website. Several underground fests used their listing service. And it’s exactly this sort of situation of why I decided to cut and paste entire underground film festival lineups to the Underground Film Journal to begin with.

There’s B-Side with a lot going on, a lot of different businesses happening and you think the company is successful. Then, poof! They’re gone. And I’m assuming the festival lineups they’ve had archived will vanish with them.

It’s important to me that all films get catalogued and listed somewhere of, at the very least, where they screened. There are many great films that vanish into the ether after their festival runs. But I think people should know they existed somewhere somehow.

Websites being vaporized off of the Internet makes me very sad, personally, especially since I’ve worked for several that went into the great beyond. So, my condolences to the great folks at B-Side who made a terrific website.

B-Side will be sorely missed.


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