We’ve been long-time fans of Films We Like, perhaps Canada’s coolest indie-film distributor, fan-girling not only their superbly curated catalog but also their flare in marketing their films. So when they gave us the green light on releasing Films We Like films through Hoovie, we were stoked.
They’ve now brought 50 titles our way (not all of which have gone live on Hoovie yet), many based on the personal recommendation of Mike Boyuk, Films We Like’s head of distribution — including this super out there, super amazing comedy-slash-thriller.
Quarantined and restless, we caught up with Mike to ask him a few questions about the indie-distribution game and why Hoovie matters more than ever.
Hoovie: How would you define a Films We Like film? What’s your selection criteria?
Mike: Our formula has not changed since day one. The film has to be a film… we like.
You guys have been in the distribution game for 17 years and have seen a lot. Can you speak about the impact that COVID is having on the indie film industry and if there are any glimmers of hope in the shadows?
The impact of Covid-19 has had a tremendous impact on distribution. Particularly cinematic distribution.
All the cinemas are currently closed across the country and the future doesn’t look too hopeful at the moment with news that this pandemic, once under control, could return again.
Once we are allowed to gather at public spaces such as cinemas, sporting events or concerts, it’s unclear if we will feel safe in such an environment. Sitting next to each-other in a small space. So it’s very much a “wait and see” sort of thing to see if cinema and other events will rebound and look the way they have traditionally looked in the past. Or if this will be the new normal.
The glimmer of hope is that we are currently partnering with traditional cinemas and experimenting with virtual cinema releases with some titles which were destined for theatrical presentation. Our hope is that people will embrace the streaming of new films at home in support of their local cinema.
Perhaps you could give us a snapshot of what the indie film industry looked like for filmmakers and distributors before COVID.
Before the Covid, films would play theatrically, then go to TVOD, VOD, Airline, TV, etc… We’ve lost the first and what most people think of as the most important window: the traditional theatrical window.
Theatrical was an important way to raise awareness of film to the general public. Whether it be through publicity, ads or word of mouth. This window served as a signal for broadcasters and people who choose what plays on VOD platforms as to what films they should program based on awareness and reviews.
Theatrical has been in decline for years now, so now it’s up to distributors to change their thinking on how to engage audiences who are at home. It’s a chance to rethink an old model in dire need of change.
What does Hoovie mean to you and why does it matter?
Hoovie celebrates film and engages its audience. It’s the perfect platform during pandemic times and beyond. As a distributor, you really want to find films that appeal to a particular audience as they are your greatest cheerleaders.
Hoovie has this together like no other!
Even though we can’t meet in public spaces, Hoovie is creating a virtual space which reflects the way we used to watch film in traditional cinemas. Watching together, communicating with each-other and sharing.
Thank you for the kind words, Mike! It means a lot to us.