France’s cinema industry guild L’ARP has joined forces with European sales agents Fandango, Goldcrest, Urban Distribution and WIDE and more than 30 members of Europa Distribution.

The TIDE Experiment, one of three industry consortia to win European Commission (EC) funding earlier this week to support trials of simultaneous multiplatform releases, has revealed details of its project.

“The key objective in 2013 is to release four films in five European territories using day-and-date models, while using integrated traversal marketing tools,” the group said in a statement.

TIDE, which stands for Transversal International Distribution in Europe, is coordinated by the powerful French writers, directors and producers guild L’ARP.

Paris-based VOD aggregator Under the Milky Way will guarantee distribution of the four selected titles on platforms such as iTunes and Sony.

Madrid-based digital-focused company The Film Agency will take care of marketing strategies and the Independent Pan-European Digital Association (IPEDA) will monitor the results.

Sales agents

As previously announced, sales agents involved in the project include Italy’s Fandango, the UK’s Goldcrest and French Urban Distribution, and WIDE Management alongside 30 members of the independent distributors body Europa Distribution, which has pledged domestic distribution for the four selected titles alongside simultaneous digital releases.

The four films will be announced in the coming weeks and launch meetings will be held in December. Each film will have its own “release team”, composed of a sales agent, the involved distributors and the TIDE core team.

Legislation hurdles

All four releases will have to navigate the plethora of different media chronology legislation across Europe.

France and Germany have strict media chronology laws. The UK has none but day-and-date releases remain a rarity as many large cinema chains are reluctant to experiment with the format.

L’ARP has been calling for a softening of France’s strict media chronology laws for some time. Under current French legislation, a film can only be released via VOD four months after its theatrical release and 36 months after on SVOD services.

Speaking about TIDE, Oscar-winning L’ARP president Michel Hazanavicius told French film trade L’Ecran Total last week: “We’d like to mess around with the media chronology a bit.

“We have a feeling that this experiment could have some interesting results. Given the profound changes which are taking place within the landscape, we need to think in another way.”  

French experimentation

A handful of French distributors have already started experimenting with one-off internet preview screenings ahead of a film’s theatrical release, which is permitted under French law.

Eye on Films, the global network aimed at promoting first films set up by WIDE, is planning two internet preview screenings in the coming weeks in partnership with video-sharing site Dailymotion.

Marcos Prado’s Artificial Paradise, capturing youth culture in Brazil, will be given a one-off screening on Dailymotion on October 29 in France, in partnership with Damned Distribution.

Canadian Anne Edmond’s Nuit#1 will be available on the site for 12 hours on Nov 5 in France and Belgium, in agreement with distributors Fondivina and Coopérative Nouveau Cinema.

Both previews will take place two days prior to the theatrical release.

Other projects

As previously announced, the second winner of the EC tender was Artificial Eye’s EDAD involving Poland’s Gutek Films, France’s Rezo Films, Germany’s The Match Factory, Spain’s Golem and the Benelux’s Cinéart.

Artificial Eye has already started experimenting in the UK, organising a day-and-date release for Leo Carax’s Holy Motors on Sep 28.

The third project, Speed Bunch, is run by Wild Bunch and incorporates its subsidiaries Wild Bunch Distribution, Wild Side, Filmonline, Elle Driver, Wild Bunch Germany, Italy’s BIM and Spain’s Vertigo.

“We will keep within the law of each territory but the idea is that we will release the same film in the territories where we have subsidiaries using different release strategies and then compare notes,” says Wild Bunch co-chief Vincent Maraval.

“France and Germany have strict media chronology laws but Spain and Italy doesn’t - it will be interesting to see the results.

“What is clear is that there has to be a re-think of the current media chronology especially for smaller films which don’t get a wide release and never make it to the provinces.”