Cinetopia – open cinema on demand

My friend Karsten Wenzlaff of ikosom told me about Cinetopia, a new online movie distribution platform, initiated by our colleague Max Valentin from Sweden. „Cinetopia as most things is a mashup of ideas from many peoples minds and impressions from around the globe,, Barcelona CC-festival, the Lumiere brothers and Gilles Deleuze to name a few“, Max told me. Besides Cinetopia, Max also operates the hybrid crowd funding/sourcing platform, run by his company Fabel. This combination made me curious, so I asked Max for giving me an interview. And – yeah -he agreed. So here it is: 

KEX Cinetopia

Wolfgang: Max, you are part of „Cinetopia“. Can you explain what’s it all about?

Max: Cinetopia is a movie distribution and ticket system that connects the possibilities of open distribution with a share of profit between movie maker and host when doing cinematic screenings. It is a bit like air b’n’b but for film screenings. In the system there is a bunch of films. You can create screenings with these, at a movie theatre or at home. You set up a minimum of tickets to be sold for the screening to happen. When that is meet, the tickets are sent to the guests and a film file to you. The revenue is immediatly shared between you the host and the one who made the film.

Wolfgang: So filmmakers can upload their films and sell it right away? Or do you check them all and then unlock them?

Max: The filmmaker her self puts the film in the system. For the upcoming festival, all films will be watermarked when they are distributed to the hosts. For the step after the festival we are working on ways to do this process very simple where uploaded films are automatically marked when downloaded.

Wolfgang: Who’s gonna set the pricing? You or the filmmaker himself?

Max: Yes the filmmaker sets the minimum price for a film. Revenues are shared 70/20/10 between host, filmmaker and system. Lowest price is €0 for one ticket. We think there should be a minimum price per ticket not per screening since charging for a whole screening discourages micro screenings. Many micro screenings are worth as much as a few big once.

Wolfgang: As you mentioned, there will be an online film festival in August. Please, tell us more about it.

Max: Due to several reasons we have decided to postpone the festival until November. But as a host for an event you can already start.

  1. There are around 100 films in the system today. As a host you choose one of these films, or several short films, and create an event.
  2. When the event is created, you start selling tickets for the event. When you reach the minimum goal of guests that you have set up for the screening, tickets are sent to your guests and a film file to you.

Last year we did a pilot. The image shows where the screenings where made. Some of the events where coordinated and we had some online hangouts with the directors that people in several screenings joined.


This year is a bit different, many more films and a much improved interface both for hosts of screenings and for the audience. For those who are interested in finding out what kind of films there is we have made an infographic:

Wolfgang: How exactly does it work? What format do I get the file when successfully funded and how long does it work properly?

Max: You get the film in the highest available format, most are HD, but some short films for example are not shot in HD. All films can be played on a Quicktime or VLC player. The film file can be played as many times as you want. When starting the film there are some frames inserted telling who has made the event and that this file was distributed for the event that people are visiting.

Wolfgang: Sounds great. What are the next steps in your project?

Max: One thing is to solve all technical challenges but the next and even bigger step is to build a network of independent cinemas who are interested in exploring how the crowd sourced and interconnected network can build relationships in-between audiences at different locations. By the way, about one hour ago we managed to launch the event creation part of the system. Now a user can browse the exciting films, choose something they find exciting and create an event. The possibility to sell tickets will be opened 60 days before the festival and that would be on september 14th.

Wolfgang: Thank you, Max. We are looking forward to seeing some great movies!

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