Chances are that you would have ran a search on your favourite torrent search engine for our company's latest release PATERSON. Or you have an Android black box from the IT Show earlier this year which offered the same on your big screen TV. This is pretty much status quo for most cinephiles in our country Singapore, where we are constantly frustrated by the narrow variety of films to whet our appetites in most local cinemas.
I was once like you, frustrated and equal parts irritated to read about these exciting independent or foreign films on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic or Indiewire or any of the other trades, and discovering that none of the cinemas in Singapore played these films. But with time, not only were most of these films available for free online due to piracy, but they were of a decent quality as well.
After I was privileged to work in the heart of the film industry - Los Angeles, I realized just what a costly benefit it was for me to resort to free pirated copies to get my fix. Friends who went to film school were not getting jobs because large studios decided to cut down on providing opportunities to entry-level peers because we were losing so much business to piracy worldwide. Of course we hear about how much WONDER WOMEN and the new PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN made or the paycheck for the newest Hollywood star and figure - 'well its just one download for myself, it shouldn't make that much of a difference right? Plus they make SO much money.'
I can personally vouch for the loss in jobs right now with my own circle of friends trying to make it in Tinseltown, and I look at the friends I have right here in Singapore who just graduated or are studying in local Singapore film schools or tertiary institutions and many pirate, sometimes even proudly proclaiming to their friends on how to find the latest movies for free. My reaction is one of disappointment - how low we have sunk to fulfill one need - our desire for better movies than the ones we have right now in commercial theaters.
This frustration was what Anticipate Pictures was founded on. We want to start doing right by the artists who we exalt in our conversations with like-minded cinephiles. Can you imagine Wes Anderson or his immensely talented crew of production designers losing money because their films get stolen worldwide by the very audience they aim to entertain? Can you imagine Wong Kar-Wai losing money to all his Asian markets because they refuse to watch his film in the cinema and instead chose to pirate a HDrip of his latest painstakingly chereographed film? Of course we don't hear about these stories, because the people at the top always get paid, but we don't always hear the stories of the struggling art designer, junior editor, or grip or gaffer who was turned down for yet another job because their production company was cutting jobs due to the decreasing production budget.
Make no mistake, piracy has a hand in cutting off jobs to freelancers or even union crew simply because larger production studios chose to mitigate their losses by hiring less from the very beginning of the production process. This is an alarming trend exacerbated by the very thing we should be trying to solve - how to tackle this piracy issue from the point of view of the consumers - by ensuring timeliness (how early we get to see the film) and legal accessibility to the works of art we want to support.
Although PATERSON has been released for quite a while now in other major markets, we wanted to make sure this serendipitous film gets a proper big screen treatment in our tiny country. Anticipate Pictures paid a lot of money for the rights of this film to bring it to our country. Where did this money go? I'm proud to say the money we pay for the rights go directly to the film producers, hence - the very people whom make the films we want to see. In all likelihood, Anticipate Pictures won't make a profit or even come close to breaking even from playing it at this single screen, but we want to service our cinephiles in this country, to start doing things right, by making this latest work of art legally available in at least one cinema locally.
However, if you pirate the film even when we make it legally available, we won't be in business for much longer. And for all of us the cycle will continue - falling back to the same pattern - hoping against hope that some pirate somewhere will rip the film from a master blu-ray somewhere, and enough seeders will send it out to your computer. It might take hours, it might take weeks or even months before this kind of access is available on your preferred torrent site. And at the end of it all, the filmmakers of the film you desire won't even benefit from you watching their films, and their next film even harder to make because of this loss of business. Is piracy really something we want to support?
Anticipate Pictures wants to be the change to this destructive cycle. We want to put our money where our hearts are, and start directly supporting the artists, filmmakers and producers we want to see their newest works from. But we obviously can't do it without our audiences supporting the kind of works they want to see, and we hope you will choose to come to The Arts House to see PATERSON the way it was meant to be seen - on the big screen.
We also know how the theatrical experience has been lackadaisical in recent times. On our part, we intend to persuade our audiences to leave their phones in their pockets, to be respectful and courteous to fellow patrons. In addition, we want to introduce every single session of our movie, because we love it so, and we are happy to share it with you.
In essence, we want to make it the best viewing experience possible at the movies for our movies. But we can't do it without you. Do consider seeing PATERSON on the big screen and to the best of our ability, we will ensure you have a good time at the movies. In turn, you can be assured that the price you paid for your ticket goes towards supporting the very artists whom created the work of art you just witnessed - in a format the director intended.
Happy movie-going everyone!
Founder of Anticipate Pictures
7 June 2017