For some weeks now, the French organisation 99.media, based in Lyon, has been recommending itself as a provider and distributor of short documentaries. The online platform has been in existence since 2015. The organisation is also the initiator of a one-day film festival of the same name, held in a café in Lyon. According to co-founder Jérôme Plan, however, it was only now, after there had been requests from film clubs for film copies, that the idea of offering films that had previously only been streamed online for screening in cinemas was born.
Starting in 2015, 99.media offers free streaming of short documentaries. Filmmakers were invited to register following the principle “we want to tell stories about the ‘unseen'”. The name of the organisation is derived from this programme. It is about the 99% of the world’s population who do not appear in the traditional media, i.e. remain invisible. 99.media started with three topics: Walls, struggle and offside, for which international films were found and selected.
The special thing about 99.media is that the team has the translator expertise to offer all films in multiple languages. There are currently six languages: German, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. More languages will be added in the future. This service is a little extra for filmmakers who give their films to the platform.
With the extension to physical rental (video files) of the films to cinemas, NGOs and other screening locations, filmmakers can now also benefit from small rental fees, as 99.media leaves 50% of the revenue to them.
The amount of film licenses depends on the number of viewers. The range goes from 25 € per short film up to 25 viewers to 100 € for events with more than 75 viewers. It is up to the organisers whether and to which amount they charge admission.
At the moment the film catalogue is still very small: 10 different films are offered individually or as a programme combination of 6 films for free selection. There is also the programme “The Adventure” with four 12-minute films about three young Africans who enter Europe illegally from Côte d’Ivoire, but remain stuck in Greece, the country of arrival.
Even if the amounts for the individual films are not very high, the costs for a full-length programme add up to considerable heights – for example, 6 films with 25 to 50 viewers would cost 300 €, which is about twice as high as the usual minimum distribution guarantee for feature films. Even with 50 viewers, an entrance fee of 6 € would have to be paid in order to cover the film costs alone. However, this is a fundamental problem of every short film rental…
A disadvantage for films that are still in the festival cycle could be that 99.media hosts the films on Vimeo freely accessible. Also the filmmakers have to pay ‘entrance fee’ to be considered for the selection. The registration is 16 €, which is declared as a donation. An international jury, including co-founder Jérôme Plan, decides whether a film is accepted.
99.media is a non-profit organisation according to article 293B of the Code Général des Impôts.
URL 99.media English
URL 99 Festival on Filmfreeway
URL 99.media Vimeokanal