Have you ever wished that an indie movie was coming to town, only to find out that it was not scheduled to be screened in Buffalo? With the advent of various crowdsourcing opportunities, in the future you yourself might be able to screen a movie in Buffalo that was never scheduled to come here. Actually, the future is here thanks to a new platform called Gathr. In a nutshell, Gathr collects film lovers together who are interested in seeing a particular film in order to create demand, and Gathr takes care of the rest.
“We call the number of people that need to pre-reserve a ticket for the screening to happen the tipping threshold”, said Richard Matson, Distribution Consultant at Gathr Films in Los Angeles. “That number is dependent on the costs of the theater, the costs of delivering the movie to the theater and the cost of credit card fees. It is different for every theater, but on average, somewhere around 50 people are needed. Once a screening tips, we average 174 people per screening. We have found that, no matter what the tipping threshold is, if 9 people pre-reserve a ticket, there is a 90% chance that the screening will tip.”
Now if you’re wondering why I’m featuring this film initiative on Buffalo Rising, it’s two-fold. First, a Buffalo expat by the name of Clotilde Dedecker works at Gathr, and her mom (also named Clotilde Dedecker) is a mover and shaker in Buffalo who thought that readers might be in-tune with the concept. Second, this effort could result in the screenings of a lot of movies that might never make it here otherwise.
It’s not a hard lift to utilize the capabilities of Gathr, and ultimately there are many benefits for film buffs. “In terms of ideal venues, the beautiful thing about Gathr is that it works in any type of theatrical venue from small art house theater to a major chain like Regal,” said Clotilde regarding her experience at Gathr. “Any place with a big screen!
“You begin the process by visiting gathr.us and selecting a film for which you would like to host a screening. If you don’t want to host your own screening, you can see if there are any films playing near you by typing in your zip code. If you want to host, you simply click on the Gathr It! button and fill in the information for your desired screening (date, time and venue). You will then receive a confirmation email with a url for your specific screening. Once your screening is up on the website anyone can go and reserve a seat. Once enough seats are reserved the screening will get a green light (ie. the reservation quota has been met) and be good to go.”
It wasn’t until I went to the Gathr website that I realized that there was already a Gathr drive underway at the Amherst Theater (University District). A film by the name of Decoding Annie Parker was in Gathr mode (see here). For $10 you can reserve a ticket, and when the pre sale ticket quota is met the movie screening will be held.
The crowdsourcing effort is nothing new, but the new experience-specific versions bring new capabilities to our fingertips. This is not just about raising money for a cause or product – rather it is a dedicated platform that brings together movie lovers, movies and venues in order to provide hard to get films for communities that want to see them. Gathr does the hard part. It’s up to us to do the rest.