Case Studies/El Cosmonauta
To crash a car in a movie you don't need 10.000 $, or a crash, or a car. — Bruno Teixidor
El Cosmonauta (The Cosmonaut) is a science fiction feature film produced by Riot Cinema Collective. The movie tells the story of Stan Arsenievich, a Soviet cosmonaut who, in 1975, gets lost trying to become the first Soviet citizen to land on the Moon. However, seven months after the accident, a ghastly voice claiming to be Stan starts to broadcast radio transmissions claiming to have returned to Earth and found it completely empty. Riot Cinema Collective, the production company, is a small and recently created collective of filmmakers, videoartists and media professionals in general with base in Madrid, Spain. Founded by Audiovisual Communication students Nicolás Alcalá, Carola Rodríguez and Bruno Teixidor, Riot Cinema was born with the intention to be a springboard for artists and film workers aspiring to enter in the competitive grounds of filmmaking, but through ways apart from the spanish motion picture stablishment. This way, Riot Cinema has become a work platform for students of Film and Media studies, filmmakers interested in avant-garde movements, graphical designers, web-based realizators and so on. "El Cosmonauta" is the first feature film of the collective.
Inspired by productions such A Swarm of Angels and Artemis Eternal, The Cosmonaut is the first Spanish feature film that makes use of the Crowdfunding financing method. There are two ways to getting involved in The Cosmonaut’s production:
- First, as a regular “producer". From an initial quantity of 2 euros, you can be listed as a “producer” of the film credits, receiving a welcome pack, and a ticket for the drawing of one of the cosmonauts’ suits that will be used in the film. Further investments could be used to buy merchandising items in the film’s online store.
- And secondly, as a movie “investor”. From an initial investment of 1000 euros, you can “buy” a percentage of the film, including a percentage in the profits’ cut.
As a film project based on social networks and synergy between the audience and the creators, the web media is very focused in creating a community. The producers, regardless of their investment, automatically enter in the “Program K”, a social group in which they can interact between each other, follow the film’s development and take advantage of the “Program K” members’ privileges.
Five months after the launch of the website, the production has surpassed the number of 1000 producers and 10 investors.
The film, when finished, will be released on the Internet available for download and in HD, completely for free. Also, besides the full movie on HD, all raw footage shooted during the movie's filming will be uploaded too. As the film is licensed under a Share- Alike Creative Commons license, the users will be able to download, lend, recut or use the film footage in any way they wish. This way, the audience will be not only allowed to create new versions of the film and other derivative works, but encouraged. Not only that, the producers will organize a contest to prize the best recuts of the film. This is not the first time the producers use Creative Commons licenses with their works; all their short films are licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA (See: 1212, En el viaje hacia Dios, or Dream of a house), but this is the first time that they use a CC-BY-SA license.
The motivations behind the decision of the film producers to liberate the contents of the film in such way emerge from pragmatical and ideological standpoints. In a skin-deep level, such a decision gives the project something very valuable, specially in a competitive world like the motion picture industry: a diferentiation, something that makes the project special and unique. Without being crowdfunded or released through Internet completely for free under Creative Commons license, the film would be just another independent production, possibly behind the present level of funding, or even without the prospects of getting someone's interest. This way, the film is distinctly different from all the other projects in development at the same time; and that's a powerful asset.
Secondly, and more important, from a ideological point of view, with "El Cosmonauta" the producers wish to make a stand. Nowadays, the motion picture industry is facing a radical change of the way it releases and it values its products, and that change has been caused mainly by the cheap and easy way of transmitting data, ideas and information brought by the Internet and its tools. The first reaction of film producers across the world has been a panicked one, trying to shield their profits and criminalizing the consumer, which in last instance is the one who rules the consumerism flow. The producers in Riot Cinema think that trying to fight against the consumer is a futile fight. The internet, the age of the mechanical reproduction (as Walter Benjamin put it) has seized the value of media. Film producers should look for new ways to make a film viable, accept the change, use the tools given by Internet to make a profit. That's the main reason behind Rot Cinema's decision: Creative Commons is one of the most important tools given by this new age. No better way to embrace the change.