There is little conventional about the funding, creation and distribution model chosen by the makers of The Tunnel. Currently in production, this movie is being funded by the public who are buying frames of the finished movie for a dollar each. Once completed, it will be distributed for free using BitTorrent.
In order to drum up publicity for the forthcoming release, creators Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi (who together form Australia-based Distracted Media) have been trying to get their movie listed on the Internet Movie Database. It has proven to be an impossible task.
Last week Enzo contacted TorrentFreak and explained the process he had been going through with IMDb for some time now and his frustrations at getting absolutely nowhere with the Amazon-owned site. Despite being submitted five times, in various correspondence with IMDb the site continually denied The Tunnel a listing.
In June, IMDb told the team that if a movie is not set up with a production company with a history of theatrically released movies, getting it listed at the early stages of development would not be possible. However, The Tunnel has backing from Zapruder’s Other Films which already have IMDb listings.
Undeterred by this setback, the creators decided to have another attempt at a listing once filming proper was underway, but all that resulted in was a further rejection in August.
Thanks for your new title addition to IMDb. Our title managers have recently examined the information which you supplied and it appears this title will not qualify for inclusion until it is in an advanced stage of production or completed, sorry.
The rejections continued, even though the team providing several trade magazine listings, news articles and other supporting material to show the film is legitimate. Then in September, and despite the Australian Director’s Guild recognising the movie’s online marketing campaign with an ADG Award nomination, IMDb rejected The Tunnel again saying that they can find no evidence to suggest the movie exists.
Enzo told TorrentFreak that he believes that it’s the movie’s distribution model which has caused this reaction from IMDb. The third rejection letter from IMDb says:
Hello. Please provide distribution info or evidence it will be released in 2010. Thank you.
“Seeing as we announced our distribution plan via torrents, a method that is completely within our control, we can’t see what ‘distribution info’ we could provide,” Enzo told us.
“There is no official deal in place to make that happen, as it isn’t controlled by a ‘distributor’ as such. The only conclusion we can reach is that in the absence of a ‘proper’ distributor, they won’t list us.”
Enzo believes that either IMDb are being difficult due to the chosen distribution path for The Tunnel, or their review process need to be looked at. Several other movies are listed on the database which don’t meet the site’s criteria (he believes The Tunnel does).
“The number of times we have been rejected is absurd, given that we address all major criteria for listing. I’ve helped out on student films over the years that have gone nowhere and have had an easier time getting listed,” he notes.
Of course, IMDb is owned by Amazon, so some might put two and two together and say that a BitTorrent distribution model might not be helpful to their business. Interestingly, it seems that the BitTorrent-based movie Pioneer One is also lacking an IMDb listing.
That said, with an open letter to IMDb now published by The Tunnel team, maybe they can bridge their differences and come to an amicable solution.