'Hobo With a Shotgun' has already gained a lot of buzz as the midnight movie of the year. Audiences at Sundance and South by Southwest have gone nuts for the lovingly twisted homage to grindhouse cinema (with all the shocking details intact). But the 'Hobo With a Shotgun' story is made even more interesting because of the man behind the camera: Jason Eisener, a Canadian indie filmmaker who plunged his own money into getting the movie made.
Naturally with this much hype behind 'Hobo With a Shotgun,' word will travel fast on the Internet -- but not as fast as illegal torrents of the movie itself. As Eisener pointed out on his personal Tumblr: "Today it hurt to hear that people are illegally downloading 'Hobo With a Shotgun.' I saw one torrent seeding over 7600 downloads. I knew this day would come, I wish I could stop/prevent it from happening, but I can't."
Eisener's next move was a bold one: He went online and spoke directly to the people illegally downloading his movie.
For obvious legal reasons, we can't link to the infamous torrent site (it rhymes with "Mirate May"), but Eiesner went into the comments thread to say:
From there, he received a range of responses -- some reconsidered downloading, some refused to believe it was him. But others debated that previewing the movie this way first will help them determine if it is later worth spending money on a physical copy.
"Please don't steal my movie. I never stole anything from you guys. The writer and the producers and myself, put our pay checks back into this film, so we could make it happen. If your gonna steal it, at least come to my home and try to steal it from here ... Right now 10,000 people are downloading the film. Of course I'm going to find out about it. But there is nothing I can do about it. If you like it I hope you guys at least support it on DVD or Blu/Ray. I gave my pay check back to production so the film could be made. It's hard for indy movies to make back their budget."
Eisener is doing his best to convince everyone that it really is him; he is a nonstop marketing machine for the movie, making himself as accessible as possible in various online avenues. He's even currently answering questions over on Reddit.
But this whole situation re-opens the argument of online piracy. While some may argue that most commercial entertainment is overcharged and controlled by greedy corporations (which it is), is illegally downloading an indie movie really the best way to promote that film to a wider audience?
To editorialize for a moment: Yes, the film will only have a limited release starting on May 6, but Magnolia Pictures has released a full list of On Demand providers currently previewing the movie before that date. Between their online services, the festival promotion, the trailers and the reviews -- how much more info do you need before you decide to give 10 bucks to Eisener and crew's final product?
In case you still weren't sure, here is our review of the film from Sundance. And here's our interview with Eisener and star Rutger Hauer. And here's the trailer (NSFW):
Does an indie movie like 'Hobo With a Shotgun' really benefit from being illegally shared online a month before it hits theaters? Or will this actually result in better promotion for the film?