Paramount Pictures Partner With BitTorrent Release Movie

In a little over two months time, the long-awaited horror movie The Tunnel will receive its world premiere. Rather than a traditional theatrical release, the movie - which is set in abandoned real-life tunnels under Sydney, Australia - will make its debut online for free with BitTorrent. Simultaneously it will be released on physical DVD, to be distributed by Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures.

Tunnel DVDDistracted Media’s Enzo Tedeschi and Julian Harvey first hit the BitTorrent conciousness in mid 2010 when trying to raise funding for their latest project by selling frames of their upcoming horror movie.

The Tunnel is a story based in the real-life networks of tunnels under Sydney, Australia. Created many decades ago, the tunnels were originally intended to house a rail network but construction was discontinued and they later became U.S. General Macarthur’s headquarters during the Second World War.

Although the tunnels were later abandoned, a film crew decided to go down there, and so the story begins. From the trailers available, it looks pretty eerie.

In a little over 2 months, The Tunnel will be released worldwide and, true to the plan from the beginning, that premiere won’t take place in bricks-and-mortar, admission-charging theaters but on BitTorrent – for free.

Simultaneously, The Tunnel will also be released on DVD which will include two hours of exclusive footage including an alternate ending and a behind the scenes documentary. Distracted Media have just secured a physical distribution deal for that product but considering the movie’s key BitTorrent model, one of the companies now partnering them will certainly raise an eyebrow or two.

Transmission Films and Paramount Home Entertainment Australia, who work together on film acquisitions, have just confirmed they will be backing what they describe as “the film that captured the imaginations of internet users globally.”

TorrentFreak caught up with producer and editor Enzo Tedeschi and asked about this interesting partnership, particularly since Paramount – like most Hollywood studios – have shown much hostility to BitTorrent over the years, particularly in the recent and ongoing AFACT v iiNet case in Australia.

“Our experience with Transmission Films and Paramount has been positive, and we’re impressed with how forward-thinking they’ve been on considering our specific project,” Enzo explained.

“From day one we’ve maintained that The Tunnel is not supporting or condoning piracy, but instead trying to incorporate a legitimate use of peer-to-peer in our distribution strategy internationally.”

While some might be suspicious of Paramount given their track record, the Internet community in particular constantly calls for change and for the studios to embrace – not fight – new ideas and distribution models. Being associated with The Tunnel project certainly seems like a step in the right direction.

“So much of the debate at the moment is caught up around what has been happening in the past, but that’s not what The Tunnel is about,” co-producer Julian Harvey told us. “We’re trying to look ahead. We have a film and we’re trying to find an audience.”

The Tunnel will do just that, May 19th on a BitTorrent tracker near you.

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