Try googling Pedro Almodóvar's last film, "La Piel que Habito" (The skin I live in), released almost a year ago, and you'll get 5 Million hits. Now do the same with Paco León's directorial debut, "Carmina o Revienta": 8,5 Million hits on the search engine. Surprised? Wait until you hear this: the film was released just a week ago.
Everybody is talking about "Carmina o Revienta" in Spain. Not only because the film is fantastic -it won three awards at the prestigious Festival de Málaga-, but especially because it has shaken the whole industry by being the first Spanish film to be released simultaneously in Theaters, in DVD and online.
Paco León is a very well-known comedy actor in Spanish TV, mainly due to his role in the sitcom "Aída". He wanted to try what it felt to be behind the camera, so he went ahead and produced, wrote and directed an 80-minute mockumentary about the life and miracles of his amazing mother, Carmina, and his sister, the actress María León. When he faced the distribution of the film, he knew he wanted to try something different. So he asked his followers on twitter (over half a million) how they would be willing to watch his film, what viewing platforms would they use, how much they would pay for it, etc. He gathered the different responses, gave it a little thought... and went on to challenge the industry as nobody had done before in his country.
"Carmina o Revienta" is the first true multi-platform release in Spain. It came out in Theaters for the usual price (7€), on DVD for a reduced price of 5,95€ and online -through different services- for 1,95€. After it's first weekend, the film was the most viewed in iTunes, the most viewed in the online platform Filmin, the most viewed in Canal+ movie-on-demand service, had sold over 80% of the DVD copies and was the sixth best movie in the ratio 'number of copies/tickets sold' in movie Theaters. An incredible success for a film that cost under 40.000€.
There are many lessons to be learned from this experience, but one of them is extremely interesting: Paco León gave a choice to his audience. Surrounded as we live by screens and multimedia devices, it doesn't sound right that we are forced to go to a Theatre to enjoy a new release. "Carmina o Revienta" simply gave us the alternative to see the film wherever we preferred, without having to wait for months for the DVD or the legal streaming. It also proved that there are creative and non-punitive ways to fight piracy (and make money at the same time). As León says in his last tweet, "My mother has been more effective in fighting piracy than the Governement's Piracy Act".