Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday, The Weekend in Movies and a couple of press releases...

Well, it's Black Friday... the biggest shopping day of the year. The only thing that I'm wondering is, what are people buying? Like, we've had the year of the HDTV, we've had the year of the gaming console, people are always buying surround sounds systems, computers, camera's... but what's going to be big this year? Personally, I think gaming is going to be big again... the early adopters all own consoles and so do most casual gamers. However, now the late adopters and the masses are getting into them, as the consoles have really taken ownership of the "media center" space and, believe it or not, I think that's good news for the DVD and home entertainment industry. The studios and distributors just have to figure out how to get their content in there. Netflix appears to be blazing the trail, at this point, but watch out for companies like Sony to change the game. In any case, I'm not buying anything today... I'm waiting. Now, taking a quick look at what's in the theaters, it's a fairly weak weekend. "Old Dogs" and "Ninja Assassin" are the two big releases and, sorry... I'm never going to see "Old Dogs" and "Ninja Assassin", the Wachowski Bros produced ("Matrix") and James McTeigue directed ("V for Vendetta") 80's throwback doesn't look theater worthy... but I could be wrong. If you check it out, let me know what you think. I'm teetering on this one. For you artsy folks, "The Road" is getting a limited theatrical release this weekend and I really want to check it out. It's based on the 2006 novel, of the same name, by Cormac McCarthy, the guy who wrote "No Country for Old Men". It's about a father and son in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic wastelands...

Other than those ramblings, I just want to pass on a couple of press releases that I found in my inbox, both for indie horror's that we've been following. The first one is on "The Creek", an indie horror that we covered a while ago... and the second is on "The Vampires of Bloody Island", an as-of-yet to be released indie horror out of the UK. Both bits of news are interesting, for different reasons. Now, this post is going to be long, as I'm going to cut-and-paste both releases, but if you're planning a press release or are interested in how people do them, you should give them a read...

Here's the press release from "The Creek", I like the way that Erik's using free content to promote his new release... From a marketing perspective, I think this is pretty smart... check it out:

ANNUBIS PRODUCTIONS RELEASES A FREE DOWNLOAD OF THEIR AWARD-WINNING FEATURE FILM THE CREEK FOR IPHONE – THIS IS A LIMITED TIME OFFER FROM ANNUBIS PRODUCTIONS.

Lebanon, PA - As of November 24, 2009 Erik Soulliard’s award-winning feature film The Creek will be released as a free download for the iPhone for a limited time. The Creek has quickly become a cult favorite in the world of independent horror and it is now available to everyone for free. This is a complete version of the feature film. Preceding the film is the trailer for 12 Bells (www.12bellsmovie.com), Annubis Productions next project which is currently in pre-production.

This download is available through The Creek’s download page which can be reached via their website at www.thecreekmovie.com. There is no fee and no signup required. Annubis Productions has also added free iPhone ringtones that can be downloaded as well. Each ringtone features one of the many highly popular lines from the movie.

Erik Soulliard wrote and directed his feature film debut The Creek in 2006. In 2008, the film was released to all major DVD outlets through Ryko Distribution & Indie-Pictures. The Creek received Best Horror Feature at the Illinois International Film Festival 2007 and was and Official Selection at: Full Moon Film Festival, Milwaukee County Massacre Horror Convention, Atlanta Horrorfest, Spooky Movie Film Festival, Wildwood By the Sea Film Festival, Ava Gardner Film Festival. Erik runs his production company, Annubis Productions, through which he has helmed a music video, worked on a video project for the New York chapter of SMPTE, compressed web videos for McGraw-Hill and is currently working on the feature horror film 12 Bells and a documentary film for the Lebanon Mental Health Association.

Summary - On the fifth anniversary of the death of their friend Billy, six friends are forced back together by his ghost. Billy's death was officially considered an accident but old suspicions and conflicts return. When people start dying they all must ask themselves if it's his ghost, one of them, or because they returned to The Creek?


Now, here's the press release on "The Vampires of Bloody Island". I also like what they're doing here. They're making this press release very personal, which, in theory, should let the reader into their world, making the reader take virtual ownership of the project...

When we last wrote, Pamela and I were just handing over a rather delayed test copy of "The Vampires of Bloody Island" to the British Board of Film Certification for their very expensive rubber stamping, without which we can't sell a film in the UK. They returned the favour by giving us an invoice for the sort of money that could buy a small family car! OUCH!!!

In jubilant spirits, we went off for a pint to celebrate the fact that we are now, on paper anyway, Movie Industry Moguls. (Only one pint though! We're not the sort of Moguls who can afford a proper night out!)

The BBFC said they'd take about a week. By now we've learnt that everyone takes twice as long as they say to get anything done, .but a friend emailed us mentioning he was mates with a film examiner at the BBFC! Result! We had a man on the inside! Pressure would be gently applied!

Failing that, another friend was ready to whip up a crowd of 100 vampires to picket the BBFC demanding they pull their fingers out! And she would have done it too. It really would have been great publicity and we were very, very tempted. But we hardly wanted to piss off the one organisation we needed on our side right now!

We also received an email from Brendan Foley, the director of 'The Riddle' (a Vinnie Jones, Derek Jacobi film I was in a couple of years ago) suggesting we prepare several versions of the DVD cover with all possible BBFC ratings, so that when the mad panic comes we could just grab the right one and go! A handy tip! I made up different artworks with the 15 and 18 ratings and pinned copies up on my wall with glowing pride.

However, we could hardly sit back and relax. The UK is merely one country in this massive world, and due to that damned computer crash we had we were still quite some way behind on the USA & Canadian version.

The American DVD is being made in California by a company owned by Amazon. This has a few handy perks for us as Amazon really "look after their own", a great help in promoting and selling the DVD across the Atlantic!

However, on a technical note, they need the film and all the DVD extras in the American NTSC format. As yet, everything we have exists only in European PAL.
We'd always assumed that converting from PAL to NTSC would be a fairly straitforward job, but apparently it's a very slow, long winded process! All 198,500 frames of the film have to be passed through the edit suit a number of times to have the picture size, frame rate and colour intensity changed! All because of the antiquated way in which USA and European video conventions operate. Blimey! This is NOT the fun part of film making!

Because of the computer crash, we're skating uncomfortably close to the edge of our schedual in terms of a USA Christmas release. We're crossing our fingers and fangs that we don't drop too far behind schedual, but we've been advised to prepare a B-Plan to push the USA release back to January! What, and miss Christmas? We really hope it doesn't come to that!

Meanwhile, the media in both the UK and USA have been getting wind of "The Vampires of Bloody Island" and we've been getting a stream of requests for photos, details and interviews. I'm sure you've noticed there's a lot of vampire film stuff going on right now, with TWILIGHT, NEW MOON, TRUEBLOOD and THIRST all being gossiped about, so the press are quite interested in what we've got and in what way we're different.

However, the press really need to know a release date, and with the delays in both the UK and USA releases I'm still not in a possition to come up with that! Grrr Irritating!!

I sent out a press release saying the DVD would be 'out soon'. A phrase I've actually been saying for over a year and I'm as fed up hearing falling from my lips as everyone else is!

The press release was quite well received and at last count has been pasted, posted, rewritten and rehashed on over 40 horror and film websites around the world.
Ooh! No pressure on us then!!! (Google the film or Wibbell and see what you find! we're deffinitely hitting the mark!)

For the last week, while London has been buffeted by heavy rain and storms, we've been boarded up at home updating the press section on the website and dealing with the tech specs for America. Then, yesterday lunchtime, a soggy and windblown postman turned up with an equally soggy envelope, stamped with the mark of the BBFC!
Pamela and I took a corner each...
We tore open the envelope...

WHOOPEE! The British Board of Film Certification have passed The Vampires of Bloody Island with no cuts!! We're rated 15 and must include the warning "Contains strong language, sex references and sexualised nudity".

Fan-bloody-tastic!!! I immediately phoned the factory in High Wycombe who are making the UK DVD and instructed them to urgently go ahead with full manufacture and packaging of the UK "The Vampires of Bloody Island" DVD! Yay! DVDs in time for Christmas? It certainly looks that way!

Let's hope we can also make a similar phone call to California very soon!

Next time we write we should be standing in a warehouse full of "The Vampires of Bloody Island" DVDs. Do excuse us, we might be giggling a lot!

Put the Champagne on ice people! We'll write again soon!

Allin Kempthorne and Pamela Kempthorne: Producers, stars and cheque-writers of "The Vampires of Bloody Island" Oh, PS. Please please please do tell your friends about the journey we're on and "The Vampires of Bloody Island". Forwarding them a copy of this would be a good start, and tell them to join the mailing list at http://www.wibbell.co.uk/ or our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vampires-of-Bloody-Island/109759167900

We'll make sure that everyone on this list gets the DVD for a special price, and we've got a few other special offers in mind too!

Press resources are at www.wibbell.co.uk/vampire_press.html

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