The creation and nurturing of direct relationships with audiences is critical to the digital future, delegates to the Power To The Pixel conference were told yesterday. The event, which was held as part ofThe Times BFI London Film Festival, was streamed live on ScreenDaily yesterday.

Audiences are becoming fragmented as they consume content across different platforms, according to speakers on day one of the summit.

Slava Rubin, co-founder of IndieGoGo proposed that film-makers engage with audiences through multimedia; through blogs, email campaigns and websites and in turn film-makers will benefit from their direct involvement in the promotion of the film.

The real problem is that the current economics of film do not easily fit into this new era of online distribution.

'The old revenue models are breaking down', warned Slava Rubin, co-founder IndieGoGo. 'No-one wants to pay to consume content.'

Rubin spoke of the business model which sees audiences finance the film, a subject that was touched on by Adam Erlebacher of PlaceVine.

Erlebacher also discussed the benefits of building brand relationships via technology platforms and cited the example of the collaboration between Somers Town director Shane Meadows and Eurostar.

He said the aim of the newly launched PlaceVine was to link film-makers with brands that could provide support and financing.

'Traditional distribution is starting to crumble because of the internet', warned M dot Strange, whose animated feature We Are The Strange premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.

He said there was nothing to stop film-makers from becoming their own distributor and creating their own demographic.

He spoke about teaching and empowering audiences, about gaining their faith, which he did through demystifying animation via explanatory videos on his website.

Timo Vuorensola, a Finnish film director, advocated the benefits of involving the community. He took up the theme of audience contribution to film-making and said there were gains to be made, not just in terms of finance but also in terms of creative input and participation.

He recommended that film-makers start to promote their films well in advance of principal photography and he spoke of the financial benefits of cutting out the distributor.

Film-maker Jamie King spoke about peer-to-peer distribution as the best form of business model. 'If a film is free, there is no barrier to consuming it.'

He mentioned the benefits of embracing the pirates and using what they do to work in favour of the film-maker. King, who worked directly with BitTorrent, said 'they can help your work to be seen.' King also echoed what many speakers had said in terms of distribution; 'we are all distributors now.'

'Traditional film-making is holding us back,' according to Lance Weiler, award-winning writer/director. He encouraged film-makers to embrace social media and the 'instant push button publishing'.

'Audiences want to engage more and film-makers need to open up the data' Weiler continued. This opening up of data would see film-makers give audiences additional information beyond the film itself, such as the gps location for certain frames.

In that way audiences could go to the spot where the film was shot, upload photos and discuss the film with others and in turn this would increase the life span of the film. He also spoke of the opportunities that day and date releases offered for certain types of films.

In this time of change and uncertainty, Arin Crumley,co-director of Four Eyed Monsters, said it wasn't for the licensors, the distributors or the exhibitors to solve the problems. He called on the creatives to work together to come up with the solutions and new business models.

'If the creatives band together, we stand a really good chance.'