At IDFA, Distrify and the Scottish Documentary Institute have announced today a new ‘film gifting’ scheme called Pay-It-Forward.

The new initiative kicks off with the online release of Maja Borg’s Future My Love (website here), about futurist Jacque Fresco’s new economic and social model.

This scheme is a continuation of the online distributor’s ‘portable fundraiser’ project – a collaboration with Scottish Documentary Institute with backing from Nesta.

People will be able to pay a small fee to send a link to a friend or stranger to watch a film for free.

Distrify noted: “Viewers may buy for one or more people, or even an open invitation for viewers around the world to see the film if the ‘giver’ feels it is a film that should be shared and seen by many.”

Peter Gerard, CEO of Distrify, said: “This is the first time the Pay-it-Forward concept has been used for film distribution. We are excited about all the possibilities for filmmakers to increase awareness and reach for their films. Often film-fans want to share their love of a film by asking others to watch it, and thanks to the new Pay-it-Forward function, they can give the film to anyone, even people they don’t know. This kind of distribution will be particularly useful for documentary films related to a campaign or issue where the fans want to spread the film’s message as widely as possible. Through genuine generosity, anyone can sponsor another viewer’s chance to watch a film.”

Ben Kempas, Producer of Marketing and Distribution at the Scottish Documentary Institute, added, “Our film Future My Love features ideas for a world without money. But it has been produced under the current economic system. So how can you release it and still take a step towards the film’s ideals? That’s why we decided to create our own gift economy. Believing in giving feels much better than simply begging others to buy something.

“We first used the joint ‘Portable Fundraiser’ development with Distrify on our hugely successful documentary I Am Breathing with a sliding-scale interface enabling community screenings and top-up donations right in the player. We’re very excited to enter a more experimental phase now, trying to distribute a film through the power of gifting it to others – friends and strangers alike.”