This week I had the opportunity to be part of a Tribeca Talks® panel discussion held during the 12th Annual Tribeca Film Festival® in New York City.  This series of panels brings together leaders from the film industry to offer insight into various aspects of the business.  Our discussion centered on "film distribution today" and the rapid increase in platforms that distributors like Comcast are using to bring independent film to new audiences.  

Independent film is an important genre for Comcast – one where we have helped move the needle due to our reach and scope.  With 22 million video subscribers in 39 states plus Washington, D.C., we are bringing Xfinity TV customers a unique opportunity to view films they might not otherwise have access to without living in New York and Los Angeles, the traditional meccas of indie film. We’ve been doing this since 2006, when we pioneered the same-day-as theatrical release offering with IFC Films on Xfinity On Demand.  Since then, our partnerships with indie film houses have only grown – Tribeca, Magnolia, Radius, Lionsgate, and the Independent Film and Television Alliance, which curates special content for Xfinity On Demand.  The ways in which we highlight and bring these films to our customers continue to grow as well.

Right now, for example, four of the major titles featured at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival are available on Xfinity On Demand.  The English Teacher, Greetings from Tim Buckley, What Richard Did and Fresh Meat were all accessible to customers a day before the Festival formally kicked off.  In addition, we’ve made a library of former Festival titles available so viewers can build and enjoy an in-home Tribeca Film Festival experience.  Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of the Tribeca Film Festival, helped us curate some recommendations here. Most of these Tribeca titles will be available through mid-May. 

We’re serious about helping to elevate the indie film platform and stimulate the environment so that more filmmakers and providers get into the space.   And we’re demonstrating that not just by aggregating and offering great indie content, but also by promoting indie films far and wide. Our Indie Film Microsite and Indie Film Club are designed to be independent film destinations, featuring the latest news, extras, behind-the-scenes footage, outtakes, movie picks and interviews with actors and directors.  We’ve also made independent film a category in our annual XFINITY On Demand Awards.  This year’s top-viewed indie film was ATM from Gold Circle Films.

Bringing indie film to wider audiences is a win-win for indie film houses, distributors and viewers, and Comcast is focused on building more opportunities to bring this creative content to our customers.