Indie Movie Explodes on BitTorrent, Makers Bless Piracy

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Hollywood often complains about the billions of dollars allegedly lost due to piracy. Indie film makers, on the other hand, tend to welcome the free buzz generated when their film is pirated. The makers of Ink belong to this latter group, and are thanking the hundreds and thousands of people who downloaded their movie on BitTorrent.

inkWritten and directed by Jamin Winans, Ink is the story of a brutal mercenary who appears in the dreamscape of a comatose 8 year old called Emma. Like virtually every movie nowadays, the film ended up being ripped and put on BitTorrent just a few days ago.

In this short time span it was downloaded by more than 400,000 people on BitTorrent alone, earning it a spot in TorrentFreak’s chart of top 10 most pirated movies this week.

For most Hollywood bosses this is usually a trigger to start complaining about lost revenue, but the makers of Ink are welcoming their new pirate audience.

In an email to the followers of their newsletter, Jamin and Kiowa Winans say that they have “embraced the piracy” and are “just happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure.” Thanks to the pirated copy their movie jumped to 16th place on IMDb’s movie meter, and according to the makers this increased popularity also boosted DVD and Blu-ray sales.

Who needs a hefty marketing budget to promote a movie (and merchandise) when they have BitTorrent? Sent out a few hours ago, here’s the mailing in full plus a follow up response from Kiowa.

Dear Fans and Friends,

Over the weekend something pretty extraordinary happened. Ink got ripped off. Someone bit torrented the movie (we knew this would happen) and they posted it on every pirate site out there. What we didn’t expect was that within 24 hours Ink would blow up. Ink became the number 1 most downloaded movie on several sites having been downloaded somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 times as far as we can tell. Knowing there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it, we’ve embraced the piracy and are just happy Ink is getting unprecedented exposure.

As a result, Ink is now ranked #16 on IMDb’s movie meter and is currently one of the top 20 most popular movies in the world.

This all started as a result of the completely underground buzz that you’ve each helped us create. We’ve had no distributor, no real advertising and yet the word of mouth that you’ve generated has made the film blow up as soon as it became available worldwide. So many of you came to see the movie multiple times, bringing friends and family and many of you have bought the DVD and Blu-ray from us. All of this built up and built up and suddenly it exploded.

We don’t know exactly where this will all lead, but the exposure is unquestionably a positive thing.

Ink hits Netflix, Blockbuster, iTunes and many more tomorrow! Remember to get your signed copies, t-shirts and posters at the Ink Store.

Thank you so much for the constant love and support.

Jamin and Kiowa
Double Edge Films

And the follow up response we got from Kiowa, in reply to this article.

Dear Ernesto,

To say we are shocked by all this news and are digesting it rapidly is an understatement. We made this film in Denver, CO on a budget of $250,000 and have fought to bring it to 15 cities ourselves over the past ten months. Hollywood has claimed that they don’t know how to market the film or that it doesn’t have an audience, and what BitTorrent has done in the last four days is prove, unequivocally, that Hollywood is wrong.

So is this the best thing that could happen to our little film? Absolutely! There is no way this many people would know about the film otherwise, or that our IMDb MovieMeter would have shot up an astounding 81,000% from a few days of activity over the torrent sites. What Hollywood would calculate as lost dollars, we calculate as fans earned. Due to many suggestions from downloaders over the past few days we have established a Donate button on our Store page for people to contribute what they can. Thank you for posting that info.

We’re not looking to get rich, but would like to pay back our investors and the enormous amount of personal debt we’ve gone into making the film. We’re also not looking to make Hollywood films (Jamin has had several opportunities) and plan on continuing the march of making fiercely independent films. In order to do that we have to count on the power of the people, eyeballs all over the world and torrenters to throw our film a few bucks apiece. It’s the indie film model of the future and we appreciate each and every person who takes the time to watch our film. It appears we’re all rebels here… so let’s wave that flag proud.

Again, we are really floored that all of this is happening and that you’ve opened up the conversation!

All the best,

Kiowa K. Winans


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