PayPal executive funds Last Rites, creates "new" distribution model?

Last Rites Ransom PrideEver since the end of the Screen Actors Guild strike in June and the end of the Writer’s Guild strike in February 2008, there’s one thing that’s been on my mind: If the the newness of the Internet is both the reason why it’s hard to calculate royalties for writers and actors and the only way people are watching movies these days, then why is it that Internet-distributed releases haven’t fared well enough for the studios to take notice?

Jack Selby, a former senior vice president at PayPal, hopes to see a change in all of that because according to Variety, he and producer Duncan Montgomery along with writer-director Tiller Russell are teaming up to film and release digital productions via their new production house, Horsethief Pictures.

The first movie on their slate is called The Last Rites of Ransom Pride, and it stars Scott Speedman as Pride and Lizzy Caplan as his lover Juliette Flowers, with Dwight Yoakam, Jason Priestly, Kris Kristofferson, and Peter Dinklage in supporting roles. Horsethief plans to not only release the movie on the Internet next spring, they’re also planning an Internet assault via all the usual social networking systems and viral interactive games as well as a talent outreach and movie blog outreach.

Just like how the marketing folks at Focus Features chose 50 lucky bloggers to receive props from the Coraline movie, Horsethief has already begun its Internet assault by handing over an exclusive clip to the gang at The write-up by Neil Miller also goes more into depth about Horsethief’s endeavors:

They’ve already started a viral campaign at, a website dedicated to the character of The Dwarf, played by Peter Dinklage. [Ed. note: Spoiler, much?] They will also be reaching out to fans via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites, including having the actors reach out directly.

But that’s not all. There are also these two very interesting (and somewhat dangerous) bits of interactivity:

  • Horsethief is launching a unique songwriting contest, where fans can submit their own original songs. Fans will vote and select the winner and the announcement will be made by Grammy winning American singer-songwriter and star of The Last Rites of Ransom Pride Dwight Yoakam. The winner will have their song placed in the official movie trailer.
  • Horsethief has kicked off a comic book creation contest, where fans can submit their ideas for the comic book based on the script, the winner will be chosen by Ben Edlund, writer of “The Tick” and will receive a first look deal with Horsethief Pictures.

Miller’s a little skeptical of how all the interactive stuff is going to turn out, but I’m a little more optimistic because I personally know a few talented songwriters and comics writers who might be able to bang out a quick pitch or demo over a weekend at very little loss of time to them.

Anyway, I’m definitely eager to see if anything comes of this because if it does… it’s definitely going to help change the way movies get made and people get paid out of them.

Posted on December 24, 2009 at 10:54 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News