Yesterday, the beta of Snag Films launched. As the name implies, the site allows users to "snag" a documentary film from the site archive and embed the film on another site. The widget allows for easy donations of "pixels, money, and time." Knight Foundation has funded parts of the ongoing development of the widget and the expansion of the video library.
From the press release:
In sessions convened by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Paley Center for New Media, the SnagFilms team listened to foundations that fund films, filmmakers and others. (The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. The Paley Center for New Media is a premier convener of programs focused on the dynamic and important role of media in society.)
A common theme stated by all of the participants was that the bottlenecks in traditional distribution were threatening the economics of the medium and diminishing its impact. Alberto Ibarügen, Knight's President and CEO, noted that, "documentaries can be an especially powerful social tool at a time when traditional investigative journalism is under budgetary and other pressures. We believe in harnessing the web's power to democratize the distribution of these films, and SnagFilms does this."
Ibarügen, other foundation leaders, and Paley Center President and CEO Pat Mitchell will provide input to SnagFilms to make it an effective platform for the greatest possible number of filmmakers, and increase its community and charitable connections. Knight Foundation is also providing a multi-year grant to assist these activities.
Gary Kebbel, Director of Knight Foundation Journalism Program, expects that "the success of this platform will change the filmmaking industry by introducing new revenue streams for filmmakers, as well as turning passive viewers into active citizens. Ultimately, we hope that more journalists will engage in investigative documentary filmmaking."