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Sci-Fi Entertainment

New Film 'Zenith' Now Available For Free BitTorrent Download 123

Posted by timothy
from the for-people-with-better-connections-than-mine dept.
airfoobar writes "This seems like a good week for libre culture. The first part of an surprisingly well-made cyberpunk thriller called Zenith has just been released as a torrent download through Vodo, and the third episode of Pioneer One is being released on the 28th."
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New Film 'Zenith' Now Available For Free BitTorrent Download

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  • Preview (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:13PM (#35546378)
    • Re:Preview (Score:5, Informative)

      by gedankenhoren (2001086) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:31PM (#35546526)

      Nice equipment and editing, quite poor dialogue/acting, though:

      [pained, confused]: "Why did you take me here?"

      [rapidly and without emotion, as a fast-paced intonation]: "I didn't mean to hurt you, I'm sorry"

      [teenage angst]: "Can you at least look at me like you really mean it?"

      [customer support]: "I'm sorry."

      • by tobiah (308208)

        I think the acting is spot on for what they are trying to portray; people who only know artificial emotions (genetically manipulated or drug-induced). Looks very professional to me. Pacing is a bit slow, but I'll give it a shot.

        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          I think the acting is spot on for what they are trying to portray; people who only know artificial emotions (genetically manipulated or drug-induced).

          Absolutely agreed. For those who just watched the YouTube link: it cuts in about a third of the way through without context, and having watched the whole thing the acting actually seems pretty damn good, so I'd recommend giving it a chance from the start.

      • Re:Preview (Score:5, Insightful)

        by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:45PM (#35546642)

        The equipment is the easy part. The prices for facilities and equipment have been very quickly approaching the marginal cost -- if you can get skilled people to donate time you're in.

        Competent writing, acting, directing and producing are much trickier.

        • This is true. But it doesn't cost a fortune to make a good film; see Fassbinder's Marta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha_(1974_film), or really any of his - they were made on a budget, but the acting was phenomenal). In today's dollars (according to some perhaps shaky assumptions re the equivalence of DM and USD inflation rates between 1974-2009, and these sites: http://www.westegg.com/inflation/infl.cgi [westegg.com] and http://www.measuringworth.com/datasets/exchangeglobal/result.php [measuringworth.com]), Marta cost ~$833076 2009 USD.
          • An even better example is Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071141/), which has arguably better (=more dynamic) acting than my previous Fassbinder example, Marta, and which cost only $267,694 2009 USD, though that may be due to the fact that:

            [t]he prices for facilities and equipment have been very quickly approaching the marginal cost

            I'm interested to see some data re the breakdown between fac./equip. costs and actors/writers/directors/producers/fluffers costs...

            • by hedwards (940851)

              A lot of it depends upon the creativity of the crew in terms of costume and set design. Corman was a master when it came to making sets look really expensive while spending practically nothing on it. And take a look at what Mel Bibby was able to do towards the end of the Red Dwarf series. There was basically no increase in set allowance, but each season the sets looked better and better, and it wasn't just a matter of less to do.

          • You are out of touch with Reality. It says in the site they are looking to collect 10k.

            Let me remind you, El Mariachi was made with 7k.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Let me remind you, El Mariachi was made with 7k.

              El Mariachi was shot for $7k, but after Sony picked up the negative they spent half a million on sound work, editing, opticals, prints and advertising.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            A million may be pocket change for you, but for most people it isn't. Primer was made with $7k, and is damn good.

      • Re:Preview (Score:5, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:46PM (#35546646) Homepage Journal

        Nice equipment and editing, quite poor dialogue/acting, though:

        That formula worked pretty well for George Lucas.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        I thought that was deliberate - especially the lack of sincerity when she looks at him; as another poster pointed out, it would fit well within the society they're trying to portray. There's also the fact that the male lead's acting is good, so I'd be surprised if they got a female lead that poor.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Watch the whole thing and you might get why the dialogue is that way. The film is set in a dystopian future where people are unable to feel anything and incapable of communicating using anything other than polite niceties. These two are slowly awakening from that state.

        • by Jonah Hex (651948)

          Being a bit of a critic when it comes to acting/etc, I'd say the acting in this one is very good especially as they are trying to portray altered emotional states. Even the scenes of him experiencing pain are not over the top but come across as realistic. But mainly I wanted to reply since your the first comment to mention it being a dystopian future, which is what I feel describes it better than cyberpunk.

          HEX

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Poor lighting, acting, and writing always give away an amateur production. Amateurs always think that a good camera, snappy editing, and a copy of After Effects is all they really need to make a great movie or short.

      • Nice equipment and editing, quite poor dialogue/acting, though:

        [pained, confused]: "Why did you take me here?"

        [rapidly and without emotion, as a fast-paced intonation]: "I didn't mean to hurt you, I'm sorry"

        [teenage angst]: "Can you at least look at me like you really mean it?"

        [customer support]: "I'm sorry."

        This review reminds me of a TV Guide review of Star Trek: Voyager back when it was in production. The reviewer had actually made it a point to criticize Tim Russ' "wooden and emotionless" portrayal of the Vulcan security officer Tuvok.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      the youtube link cynically removes the way you support the film

      use
      http://vodo.net/zenith

      c'mon they're already torrenting it, do you - youtube link maker - really have to stripe the way you support the film?

      • by Macrat (638047)

        the youtube link cynically removes the way you support the film

        Most ISP's throttle P2P connections now.

        Watch it now on YouTube or wait for an overnight torrent download?

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Watch it now on YouTube or wait for an overnight torrent download?

          Well I was debating whether to play this particular game, but you've decided me to torrent it and stream it for a few days.

          So, I go to the site, pick up the torrent (actually there are two, aren't there), let it download overnight. And when I get back from the office tomorrow and the wife is at the ballet, I'll sit down and watch.

          Oh, BTW, the wife has been looking forward to the ballet for a week now, and we've been looking forward to our h

    • Thanks for that link - I was quite impressed (and that's a bit hard to do these days). On the strength of that I donated and and am downloading it in it's entirety.

      I hope they make their 40K goal.

      • I'll give a $25 donation if it's good...even if it does require me to use Paypal as a credit card processor, buncha crooks.

        $50, maaaybe if it's a really awesome movie...but not over that so I hope some $25 slots are open when I'm done watching.

    • by sulliwan (810585)
      "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Cinema Purgatorio." Well that's rather ironic.
  • We need to start pushing harder for torrent video streaming. Now would be a good time to, say, put these up on bitlet [bitlet.org].
  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:37PM (#35546586) Homepage
    This film, Pioneer One and The Tunnel [thetunnelmovie.net] are all doing this, and it makes it seem like this is a potentially workable model. I hope the "buy a frame" and selling of merchandise make it financially viable... I'd love to see this become the norm. I was more than happy to buy a few frames for The Tunnel... as the money goes straight to the movie makers, and it still cost me less than a single traditional rental.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      I hope the "buy a frame" and selling of merchandise make it financially viable...

      The problem with "buy a frame" and merch is that the movie doesn't actually have to be good -- it just has to have a script that reads well or a concept that markets merchandise well (viz. Snakes on a Plane). Once the filmmakers have the money they aren't under very much pressure to make a film that's successful, they're already in the black. This is a lot like what happened in the middle of the decade with foreign pre-sales

      • by Anonymous Coward
        What you are saying would be true if they only plan to create one film in their entire career. If their name comes to be associated with mediocrity, the next time they ask people to invest in their productions, their reputation will precede them!
        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          What you are saying would be true if they only plan to create one film in their entire career.

          Nobody plans to make a bad movie -- the real issue is that with such a funding model nobody would ever produce a good movie, or the movies that come out that are good are only good out of dumb luck. You're assuming that skill follows the man; I'm saying it's much sticker to the money.

          The fact that Uwe Boll made bad movies didn't seem to keep foreign copro money away from him, over and over and over. Instead of sm

          • by hedwards (940851)

            And yet, even he was able to make a good film. Postal, was actually pretty good as far as films go, if only for the portion that he dedicates to mocking himself on camera. If he stopped taking his films so seriously and chose ones which were better suited for dark comedy, I think we'd have a different opinion of his talent.

            • by iluvcapra (782887)

              Postal, was actually pretty good as far as films go, if only for the portion that he dedicates to mocking himself on camera.

              Strangely enough, even if we accept arguendo that Postal was a good film, which is quite a stretch, it's done nothing to enhance his career, which would seem to prove my point.

      • The same problem applies when you decide to buy a movie ticket or dvd. You don't know how good the movie is but you've already paid.
  • by colenski (552404) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:47PM (#35546660) Homepage
    Down speed 3 megabit. ETA 1 hr for 720p. This model works. You just need enough people streaming legal content.
    • by crossmr (957846) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:26PM (#35546920) Journal

      This model works.

      Downloads: 146939
      Donations so far: $246

      Sure does.

      • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:35PM (#35547318)

        Downloads: 146939
        Donations so far: $246

        If you're expecting the number of dollars per person to be the same as it is for traditional distribution models, you're doing it wrong. It's econ 101 that when you set the price at zero, you get maximal demand, i.e. many downloads. This is especially true here because you get not only all the pirates who download without paying and claim it's because they wouldn't have paid anyway, but also all of the non-pirates who actually wouldn't have paid but decide that a legit free download is worth the look. All that really matters is how the total profit stacks up against what it would be under a traditional distribution model.

        Also: It was just released, no? Certainly it was just posted to Slashdot. Consider that some people may have downloaded it but haven't gotten around to watching and/or donating yet. We'll see how the numbers look in a day or two when that shakes out.

        • by Professr3 (670356)
          I'm waiting for the other two parts before I decide to donate. I probably will, though - it's one of the best "libre" films I've seen so far, though perhaps I'm a bit biased towards dystopian cyberpunk :D
        • by crossmr (957846)

          Ok
          Downloads: 251627
          Donations so far: $3312

          You're right. They're really raking it in.

          • There are less than twice as many downloads as there were and now they've got more than ten times as much money as they had. It seems to me that I was right about people having downloaded but not donated yet by a factor of more than 500%.

            And if you want to argue that $3300 isn't a lot of money, all I'll say is that I wish I could make that much in two days.

            • by crossmr (957846)

              Yes, and still not even 10% of their goal.

              a quarter million people and not 10% of their goal.
              It wasn't just one person making the money either. How many people worked on that project? To operate all the equipment, edit it, etc.
              According to IMDB I'm seeing over 120 names on the list.
              If 120 people can't make $3300 in 2 days, they're fairly incompetent.
              They could have done better at McDonalds.

              $13.75/day/person wow.. huge.
              an hour and a half at most McDonald's will get you that.

              No, nothing about this remotely wo

              • Their goal is to make $40,000, not to make $40,000 in two days. If they can maintain even half the current rate of donations for a month they'll more than meet their goal, and anything they make after that is gravy.

                0.04% of all people donated.

                Isn't that what I said in the first place? If you make it free then millions of people will download it. That has precisely nothing to do with how many of those people would have paid if you had charged money.

                But the reality is, if these people had worked at a minimum wage job, they'd have more to show for their efforts.

                I don't know about you, but I know which one I would rather have on my resume.

                • by crossmr (957846)

                  It's extremely unlikely that they'll maintain that pace for a month. They're unlikely to even maintain it over the next week.

                  Look at pioneer 1 and how long it's been out.

                  Episode 2 was released December 16. That's over 3 months ago, and they still haven't hit their funding goal for the second episode. Who knows if they made their goal for the first one (couldn't find that data).

                  A resume is nice, food on the table is even better.

                  it's nice you're optimistic, but the fact remains that this model certainly doesn

                  • The problem is that we don't know what would have happened under a traditional model. A large fraction of independent films fail to break even under the traditional model -- they get like five screens in obscure theaters and nobody shows up. The fact that the analogous thing can happen here too doesn't show that a movie with better writing and a real advertising budget would go the same way.

                    Plus, this model is a little bit silly. It would work a lot better if they had it in theaters for money while they wer

                    • by crossmr (957846)

                      The problem is that this model doesn't work.
                      Which is contrary to what the OP claimed.
                      Just because you can get a movie fast, doesn't mean it works. I can get the latest hollywood flick off The Pirate Bay fast, doesn't mean it "works".

                      A real advertising budget would increase the overhead. It would require they spend more money not just on advertising but production to justify it. Unless we're hoping that advertising this is suddenly going to spur a ton of money where they couldn't get out of 250,000 people, i

                    • I can get the latest hollywood flick off The Pirate Bay fast, doesn't mean it "works".

                      Depends what you mean. There is a serious question as to what effect a film being on TPB has on people going to theaters -- it's very difficult to measure. Do people watch movies using TPB instead of going to theaters, or does it being on TPB make more people aware of it so that more people go to theaters? Nobody really knows. The problem is that no two movies are the same, so you can't really have a control group unless you take a large sample of movies and put a random half of them on TPB and the other ha

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Donations so far: $246

        Wow, that means even his mom didn't give much.

  • by Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:53PM (#35546700) Journal

    surprisingly well-made

    Sounds like a synonym for mediocre but hey it's free. I have yet to watch TFE (the fine episode) because my torrent download rate is surprisingly slow. But reading through the comments at the VODO download page, assuming they aren't anonymous astroturfers, I get the feeling that it's actually good enough for broadcast TV. They'd probably be right if by such quality you mean either Paranormal Activity or the Blair Witch Project, a threshold you can easily reach with a well-written script, a good director and a dedicated cast.

    Sadly the better free beer movies I've watched appear to be fan-made movies (or movies produced without explicit permission from materials copyrighted by other people), e.g. The Hunt for Gollum [thehuntforgollum.com].

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Sounds like a synonym for mediocre but hey it's free.

      So what? A mediocre film's a mediocre film whether it cost a hundred million or a hundred pounds to make, and whether it gets a billion or nothing at the box office.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @09:57PM (#35546732) Journal

    Posted by madhouserevival 2011-03-19 05:06:22 Kudos UpDown
    Post reply

    Very smart, high quality production. Where did they find these unknown actors? They are as good as any on TV. As for the story, it's high brow and inventive. Had never heard of Vodo. Now I'm keeping my eyes on it as well as on Cinema Purgatorio.

    Where did they find these unknown actors? Hmm, 7 Billion peeps on the earth. a low budget film, not filmed by any big studios.

    ya, i wonder where they found unknown actors. I doubt it was from the various acting schools, colleges, drama schools that litter the earth.

    After all, there is like only 300 different actors/actresses in this world and anyone else that does something is non union or something, i'm sure.

  • Although I turned it off after 13.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:32PM (#35546974) Homepage

    Downloading.. haven't watched the second yet (didn't know it was out) but the first episode was actually pretty intriguing. It pretty much had no effects, no stunt shots, just actors doing a good job of making us believe that something curious was happening.

    It's nice to see homegrown sci-fi being done, since I have no doubt they'll manage to at least equal or even best what we've been seeing out of the networks lately, minus their over-reliance on special effects to "wow" their audience. Good stories can be told without a big budget. Considering the absolutely terrible job that television has been doing lately at making science fiction, it really reinforces the notion that good stories require good writing, above and beyond anything else that goes into a show; although editing, direction, production, etc., are all important, good writing and good acting are more important, and it happens that if you find some good talent, these can be had at low cost if you're careful about how you run things. Often the best art is made under difficult budget constraints.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Interesting, I haven't even watched the first one, I wanted to see if more would come out before I potentially got hooked (I did download it.) I can't see where to download the second one though, it looks like I have to use some streaming service that probably won't work on my crappy connection? So I guess I won't bother to watch the first one.

    • Considering the absolutely terrible job that television has been doing lately at making science fiction...

      You must have missed SyFy's Sharktopus [imdb.com].

  • But has the same flaw as most of the shows like this, it's a bit slow, But at least they didn't fall back on badly done effect shots.
    Acting is good from the main cast. The others is a bit off (can't put my finger on it).

    Will watch the next episode (if they ever make it...)

    • by Professr3 (670356)
      The pace is on par with A Clockwork Orange. I'm beginning to think it's just an inevitable part of the genre.
  • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @10:42PM (#35547044)

    at how the more slashdotters hit this the faster the downloads go for everyone, rather than the usual? No??...I may need a life...

    • by tobiah (308208)

      Well, now I am. It's a good point really, with the great expense and effort large internet corporations are going through to build server farms capable of handling the load of their customers, that business model may be rendered obsolete by a smart small corporation which takes advantage of the bittorrent effect and delivers the same service for a fraction of the cost (to themselves). Something which could even be done with streams, which apparently the VODO firefox plugin does.

  • Oh wait, silly me, I forgot where I was.

  • So will the next series will be called Magnavox, RCA, or Sony?

    • by turing_m (1030530)
      Judging by the number of slashdot comments compared to the average, the 5.6 rating on imdb at release (I swear most eventual 5.6 movies start out at 7.5), and the fact that it's a sequel, "Nadir" might be more accurate.
  • Saw the first one - terrible...

    • Was going to post to say the same thing, but I'll piggy-back on your comment. Zenith is, however, much better than Pioneer. Video quality, acting, storyline, all are better. Except for the nudity and cussing, I could imagine Zenith on TV easily. It is just a tad slow somewhere in the middle and I almost stopped watching but got curious enough to keep on. I think it's an interesting premise, although why do all futures have to be dystopian?
  • Why not post it on a Usenet server? I always wonder the same about Linux distros as well.

    Is it because it is harder to track the number of downloads?

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      Many (Most??) ISPs don't even have UseNet servers anymore. If you want usenet, you often have to pay extra. Plus all the problems with having to download 80 files and having to put them all together, what happens when one goes missing... (yes I'm aware of PAR). It would just be much more effective to post it on MegaUploads, or Rapidshare.
      • I get a faster speed using usnet and it is not throttled like bittorrent is.

        I guess I just wish there were more legit files to download using usenet (not counting just text post.)

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      Because this is better
  • Now that would be a fun movie! :-)

    But I shall still take a gander at this one to keep in the spirit of things.

  • Even the kind reviews characterize this as a crapfest and non-starter.

Vax Vobiscum

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