Operation is part of European Commission-funded media chronology experiment.

The TIDE Experiment, a consortium of European sales agents and distributors experimenting with media chronology, is planning day-and-date releases for music documentary Viramundo: A Journey with Gilberto Gil across ten countries this summer.

The film, sold internationally by Urban Distribution International, is the first of four titles the TIDE Experiment group plans to release simultaneously in theatres and on VoD over the coming months.

TIDE unites French cinema industry guild L’ARP, European sales agents Fandango, Goldcrest and Urban Distribution International and Wide Management, VoD aggregator Under the Milky Way and more than 30 members of distributor lobby group Europa Distribution.

Simultaneous release

Under the initiative running April to July, Viramundo will be released simultaneously - or quasi simultaneously in countries with strict chronology laws -  in Belgium (Brunbro), France (Urban Distribution), Ireland (Soda Pictures), Italy (Nomad Films), Lithuania (Kaunas), Luxemburg (Brunbro), Netherlands/Brunbro, Poland (Gutek), Portugal (Alambique) and the UK (Soda Pictures). 

Despite being common practice in the US, day-and-date releases remain relatively rare in Europe where moves to experiment with traditional release strategies have prompted protests from exhibitors who say simultaneous releases will hit the theatrical box office.

“This pan-European release and the three other upcoming TIDE Experiment releases will contribute to the development of new models for the exposure of European independent in the digital era,” said Michel Hazanavicius, L’ARP president and Oscar-winning director of The Artist.

L’ARP’s managing director Florence Gastaud added: “The high participation rate, from Portugal to Lithuania, to France and the UK, shows just how eager European cinema professionals are for new opportunities.”

iTunes distribution

VoD aggregator Under the Milky Way will guarantee distribution of all four selected titles on platforms such as iTunes and Sony. Sarah Calderón of Madrid-based digital-focused company The Film Agency is overseeing a pan-European, transversal marketing strategy.

“All the distributors involved approved the marketing tools in Berlin,” said Calderón.

“We’ve also set-up a single community management strategy, complementary graphic design tools and a few shared-impact events. We still have a couple of positioning nuances among territories, but we are all together on the same communication track.”

Three projects

The TIDE Experiment is one of three selected projects to have won backing from the European Commission after a Call for Proposals for initiatives experimenting with media chronology and cinema release strategies. 

The other two consortiums include 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.

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.