Back in 1995 I had the good fortune to be a co-founder of the pioneering LGBT website, PlanetOut.com. Bringing to life the vision of founder Tom Rielly, our little team worked day and night for almost a year and launched the initial version of the site in 1996. One of the most exciting components of PlanetOut.com was our Online Cinema, which streamed LGBT short films to viewers around the world (using a RealMedia player the size of a large postage stamp, which displayed films at about 18 frames per second). It was primitive, but it was totally groundbreaking and we were on the cutting edge of technology for the time.
I felt a comparable excitement last week when we officially launched WolfeOnDemand.com: The worldwide LGBT movie-watching platform. The site is an elegant, 21st century showcase of dozens (and soon hundreds) of full-length LGBT feature films and documentaries — a far cry from that funky old RealPlayer.
A still from Joe + Belle
In our first few weeks of soft-launch, before the official launch date, it was amazing to see the viewership roll in, and so heartening to see people watching our movies in places as far flung as South Korea, Singapore and Azerbaijan! And of course folks are also watching our films all across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico and beyond.
Providing global access to LGBT images is such an exciting thing — for filmmakers and for audiences — it’s so vitally important for us to see images of ourselves reflected on screen. The significance of this is enormous in terms of its impact on the personal lives of LGBT people around the world.
Not to get too geeky, but I feel the need to explain the significance of this in a bit more detail. And I’m sure many of AfterEllen.com’s filmmaker readership (and international readers) will appreciate the full importance of this.
WolfeOnDemand.com presents an especially exciting opportunity for filmmakers to begin connecting with audiences (and earning revenue) from countries around the world which traditionally have remained entirely unreached due to a lack of distribution infrastructure. Places where there simply are no distributors who would be able to release these films. As an LGBT distributor Wolfe gets frequent inquiries from potential viewers in these territories — people who are desperate to see LGBT movies and have literally no options other than piracy.
Which brings us to the other very exciting thing about this new platform — viewers can actually earn affiliate commissions on sales when they share movies. You just sign up as an affiliate (which is extremely easy and involves entering your email address, city and country) and when you share the movie player on your Facebook page, blog, email, etc. you earn a 10% commission when someone else buys the film from your link. It’s that simple, and it means you really DON’T have to be watching illegal pirated movies — you can now watch legal, authorized movies which support LGBT filmmakers so they can continue to create the movies we love.
A still from Tomboy
One caveat on the topic of territories: site visitors will notice that some films are available in their country while others are not. Rest assured we are working very hard behind the scenes to obtain rights for as many territories as possible on as many films as possible. This really is only the beginning.
Bringing high quality LGBT feature films to global audiences has been a longtime personal dream of mine and I hope everyone will agree that WolfeOnDemand.com is a considerable achievement on this front.
Please check it out!
Go rent or buy a film (all titles are $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to own — and we accept six different international currencies).
Or share a movie on your Facebook page with one click — and earn an affiliate commission if your friends rent or buy via your link.
Of course I’ve been sharing various links on MY Facebook page. Here are links to a few of my personal favorites (remember: not all films are available in all territories).
I would also recommend these two particularly great gay men’s movies:
There are dozens more to choose from, and new titles being posted every few days.
As the chief architect of the project I would personally be very grateful to hear your feedback and input down below in the comments field (or you can write to help [at] wolfeondemand [dot] com).