MediaKind is to work with Microsoft, Evergent, Slalom and VisualOn to develop an interactive, direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform which will enable the Chattanooga Film Festival to take place in front of a digital audience, while maintaining the event’s intimacy, culture, and intent.
The partnership aims to support the festival’s community of independent content creators and sponsors who have been hard hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Film enthusiasts from across the USA will be eligible to purchase a badge to attend the digital instalment of the event from their own homes, with access to 50 independently made short feature films, and a number of feature-length films, streamed live and on-demand. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to engage with digital ticketholders across interactive panel sessions, Q&As and live events, and gain insights into audience reactions.
Chris Dortch II, executive director and lead programmer, Chattanooga Film Festival, said: “Every year, independent filmmakers spend hundreds of thousands of hours shooting and editing video which eventually forms the bedrock of the incredible big-screen works we see today. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we host this event, thanks to the exciting partnership with MediaKind, Microsoft Azure, Evergent, Slalom and VisualOn, the Chattanooga Film Festival will continue to bear the hallmarks that define festival importance for the creative film community. Now our industry can continue to share its work, champion new names and deliver exceptional cinematic offerings to audiences.”
The media delivery collaboration will see the four-day Chattanooga Film Festival run on a cloud-based solution that can scale to accommodate any defined number of attendees. The online video streaming platform will restrict access to Safari on macOS and Microsoft Edge browsers. By tailoring the digital event in this way, filmmakers can retain greater creative control over their content, maintain the value of premium rights and preserve the opportunity for future distribution deals.
Lisa Aussieker, VP marketing and communications, MediaKind, said: “While the methods we use to watch film are evolving, content creators and owners need equally diverse options to deliver their art. Working with our innovative partners, we are proud to offer a bespoke solution, enabling filmmakers to experience the critical feedback, insights and acclaim their work merits – the essential attributes of film festivals that could be easily lost through less tailored streaming solutions. By developing this new interactive platform with a cloud-ready, full-stack offering, we can enable meaningful live event experiences where creators and fans can connect, interact, and celebrate the success of their inspiring art and creative communities.”
Tad Brockway, corporate vice president, Microsoft Azure Storage, Media and Edge at Microsoft, said: “We are proud to provide Microsoft Azure as the cloud platform to help partners like MediaKind, and the Chattanooga Film Festival, innovate, connect and bring the digital version of the festival to life. We are focused on listening to our customers, and partners, and working with them to build technology to unlock new capabilities.”
MediaKind’s MediaFirst TV Platform forms the heart of the technology deployment. The media-optimised, cloud-based platform will stream the festival’s feature and short films. The MediaKind offering also includes MediaKind Encoding On-Demand and MediaKind Packaging. The rich turnkey solution will be enabled through contributions from Evergent and Microsoft – who were among the first partners to join the MediaKind Universe Alliance in September 2019 – as well as Slalom and VisualOn.
The 2020 Chattanooga Film Festival experience will run from May 22 to May 25.