Zenith, a cyberpunk thriller licensed Creative Commons

I received a news announcement from VODO.net recently regarding Zenith, one of the new film projects on the website:

A father and son, separated by decades and a cataclysm that has upturned the world, track a grand and elusive conspiracy in this cyberpunk thriller.

In the hellish future of 2044, human beings have become stupefied by the state of permanent happiness they’ve been genetically altered to experience. ‘Dumb’ Jack (Peter Scanavino) offers relief via drugs that bring his customers the welcome phenomenon of pain. But when Jack receives a mysterious videotape of his dead father, he sets out to unmask the dangerous conspiracy that has created this dystopian world.

Of course, it’s not necessarily the most original representation of a dystopian world. But considering how many movies these days are (not) original content – it’s a marvel that people still pay for the content. That’s why I’m very enthusiastic about this project, because it aims to be crowdfunded (VODO makes it easy) with $10,000 USD per episode (≃7000 EUR). Not only is that in itself rather punk and DIY, which keeps the production cost effective, but the result is that it may very well work given the possible global fanbase and the resulting long tail.

Zenith really shows the possibility to produce something at least on a par with professional studio productions. Even the actors are satisfyingly good, which is uncommon even for the usual TV show. And the full production is awaiting 3 more episodes to be fully produced and released.

Another show worth downloading and even directly supporting the production is Pioneer One, also released/distributed through VODO.net. It’s been mentioned before in comments on my blog but I’ve never dedicated a post for it. It is too a very well made – though only recently initiated – video production. Pioneer One is in the form of a TV series and will be releasing their third episode on March 28th.

Should anyone who reads this go on and see either Zenith, Pioneer One (or take part of any other free culture) – I encourage you to donate support as well as talk and write about it. As with any Creative Commons piece of culture or art, it’s the responsibility of the commons to market it. Only the huge studios have enough money (and bad enough strategies) to waste time and effort on marketing and hunting filesharers. The professionality of much freely licensed material shows that the multibillion dollar industries are not a prerequisite for quality films or shows.

Three symbols of the philosophy of accessibility regarding culture in the future.

For Creative Commons and other free culture definitions to take off we must talk about copyright issues, consequences and future ways of distributing culture. One example is how VODO.net takes advantage of the free OpenBittorrent/The Pirate Bay tracker services to keep its distribution costs to a minimum. Another is encouraging content consumers to become content producers, in order to create a global society of cultural sharing, curiosity and acceptance.

In Umeå, Sweden, we have an organisation dedicated to encouraging and promoting free culture: Common Culture of Umeå

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