The perfect skyline.

DESERT RUNNERS shows a beautiful glimpse of the passion and fight of four ultramarathoners as they compete over hundreds of miles through the most inhospitable deserts on the planet. Luckily, you can watch this doc from the safety of your air-conditioned living room. 

In July, the creators are partnering with Athlete Ally, a great nonprofit that works to support equality in the sports community. Customers who buy DESERT RUNNERS in the next few days have the option to pay more when they buy the film — every dollar over $9.99 goes directly to the cause.

True acting craft: Zach Galifianakis and Ted Danson do Mistaken For Strangers for the stage. 

(Turns out the movie itself is hilarious too.) 

Both “This American Life” Live Specials in One Fell Swoop

In 2012, Ira Glass took his much-loved radio show “This American Life” to the stage with a production called “The Invisible Made Visible,” and distributed the video edition directly to their fans on their own website powered by VHX. They’ve just released their second stage adaptation, “This American Life: Live at BAM" in the same DIY fashion. Today, they’re taking it to the next level, and releasing a bundle of both specials together in one $10 package. 

A little behind-the-scenes on the new special: “Live at BAM” is the live action interpretation of some of the more recent, pinnacles of the radio show including an opera about being trapped in the closet (no, not That One), a musical about undercover cops infiltrating high schools “21 Jump Street”-style, and a stand-up performance about a suicidal mouse, and a musical appearance by Magnetic Fields musical mastermind Stephin Merritt, to name a few, all presented variety-show style on stage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in June.

Director Seth Lind said, “The Saturday after we released it, I was walking around Philadelphia watching it on my phone and checking how many people were downloading. It felt like some hopeful future about how video can be distributed, but it’s now.” VHX’s platform allowed Glass, Lind, and their team to do some very thoughtful things with this release:

Leverage their fanbase:
“We never really considered going with a distributor. We’re lucky to be able to communicate directly with our audience every week, so it’s easy to let them know about the videos,” said Lind. Putting the special on their own website, and getting the word out themselves via social media and radio meant fans could discover and share it easily.

Keep the price down:
Selling the special themselves via VHX, TAL didn’t have to contend with any excessive fees on transactions, so their audience can own the whole show (in streaming or downloadable form) for an accessible five bucks.

Get it to the people ASAP:
Producer and editor Ben Cohen said, “We shot about 28 hours of footage over two performances, and we had less than two weeks to cut, color correct, and mix audio before delivering to VHX for download. It was like making a feature length film on a normal weekly radio production timeline. We shared more Google docs than the NSA would probably ever care to read.” Because they took the reins with internet distribution, the timeline was theirs to control according to the release strategy they felt was the best fit for their audience. The experience made it from the stage at BAM into the hands (well, inboxes) of the fans in two weeks, while the momentum and buzz from the live event was still fresh.

Check it out at live.thisamericanlife.org, get it along with “The Invisible Made Visible” in one fell swoop, and see what one of our favorite radio shows looks like.

Help Scout + VHX Lovefest

We use (and love) Help Scout to handle our customer support. They came by our office in Dumbo a couple weeks ago and shot this video of Steve, Michael and Jamie explaining how wonderful we think they are. Replete with glamorshots of our neon signage.

VHX Powers CLOSED CURTAIN for Free in Iran

In 2010, filmmaker Jafar Panahi was convicted of “propaganda against the state” by the Iranian government and banned from filmmaking and other artistic pursuits for 20 years. He defied the ban. The product of his defiance: His new feature, Closed Curtain.

Considering the great risk Pahani is taking to make and share this work, Variance Films tapped us to help ensure that the world can really see it. As of this week, in concert with its North American limited theatrical release, it’s available for pre-order (expected in January 2015), and freely downloadable now for anyone with an Internet connection in Iran.

This past September, Drafthouse Films had a similar goal — with similar political sensitivities — in distributing The Act of Killing. In Indonesia, the government approves all theatrically screened films, so the distributors used VHX to get this chilling and inventive documentary to the people of Indonesia. 26,800 watched it.

With the right tools and technology, we can help empower artists to make distribution strategies that heighten the impact of their work. Reaching people worldwide — or reaching audiences that may not normally have access to their work — is easier now than it has ever been thanks to Internet distribution. It’s inspiring to see films like Closed Curtain taking advantage in a thoughtful way.

Check out the Closed Curtain website to share a personal message of support for Jafar and for other artists around the world who are denied the freedom of expression, and shout it out on Twitter with #celebratenotcensor.


VHX WEBSITE THEMES IN ACTION: “BRIDGETOWN”

Want to sell video from your own website but you don’t have a website yet? We’ve got you covered (for free). Our website theme editor has a pile of super-customizable themes, all designed specifically for selling premium video. Look! Here’s one. It’s a theme called BRIDGETOWN. And here’s how a couple publishers have made it their own:
Highway has a rotating carousel of big film stills to grab your attention. Also a shout-out to their premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in the coveted “Panorama” category. And check out those social links up top - so easy for people to click Like. 

The Belief in the Other Man’s Wallet keeps it simple at first glance with some beautiful film art, and a chance to play the trailer or buy the film right away. Scroll down for more details, like a description of the doc and each esteemed participant interviewed for the project.

VHX WEBSITE THEMES IN ACTION: “BRIDGETOWN”

Want to sell video from your own website but you don’t have a website yet? We’ve got you covered (for free). Our website theme editor has a pile of super-customizable themes, all designed specifically for selling premium video. Look! Here’s one. It’s a theme called BRIDGETOWN. And here’s how a couple publishers have made it their own:

Highway has a rotating carousel of big film stills to grab your attention. Also a shout-out to their premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in the coveted “Panorama” category. And check out those social links up top - so easy for people to click Like. 

The Belief in the Other Man’s Wallet keeps it simple at first glance with some beautiful film art, and a chance to play the trailer or buy the film right away. Scroll down for more details, like a description of the doc and each esteemed participant interviewed for the project.

Now on Pre-Order: First to Fall

Among the clips and films screening (and streaming!) at Kickstarter’s fourth annual Film Fest tonight, is a documentary feature called First to Fall, freshly available for pre-order at FirstToFall.vhx.tv.  

Cinematographer Rachel Beth Anderson is no stranger to filming conflict zones including Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, South Sudan, and Nepal. Her directorial debut was born of her seven-month journey spanning the Libyan war, and follows two young men as they leave peaceful Canada and join the Libyan anti-Gaddafi rebellion in 2011. Hats off to the First to Fall team for rocking VHX to make a rad website, offer special bonus features, and champion accessibility by making it available in at least six different languages.

Recap: Catch a clip via the Film Fest 2014 starting tonight, or pre-order the whole doc here.

We’re working with our friends at Kickstarter to make Film Fest 2014 an experience you can enjoy from wherever you are, all summer long. This year’s Film Fest features excerpts from animations, short films, documentaries, and more, all funded on Kickstarter. If you can’t make it to a screening in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, or London, you can still watch the entire program online, with streaming powered by VHX. 


New Feature: One-click Watch in Gmail

Gmail users rejoice! You can access your VHX purchases with just one click.
When you buy your favorite film on a VHX-powered website, a confirmation will arrive in your Gmail inbox with a handy dandy “Watch Now” button. Click it to launch the movie right away!

New Feature: One-click Watch in Gmail

Gmail users rejoice! You can access your VHX purchases with just one click.

When you buy your favorite film on a VHX-powered website, a confirmation will arrive in your Gmail inbox with a handy dandy “Watch Now” button. Click it to launch the movie right away!