Sebastian Gutierrez’s comedy, “GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR,” is one of the first feature films, if not the first, that was made specifically to be viewed online. It debuted on YouTube shortly after its premiere in the real world at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival …
With a cast that includes a number of well-known actors – Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett, and Rosario Dawson to name a few, GIRL WALKS was viewed by more than 250,000 people the first weekend it appeared on YouTube, according to Shangri-La Entertainment. Eight months after being posted on the web, the trailer for GIRL WALKS had more than 2.6 million views. The entire feature had over 625,000 views. The $1M project, underwritten by Lexus, took ten days to film.
“We want to prove that Web distribution is a viable medium for theatrical quality movies which rely on story, characters and dialogue as opposed to special effects. For many reasons the theatrical indie landscape has changed drastically in the last few years, leaving many potential breakout hits without an audience. We are excited to break the rules of feature films by letting people watch our movie for free online.”
“…GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR consists of 10 vignettes starting from the same premise – literally, a girl walks into a bar …
The film’s structure was a deliberate choice on the part of Gutierrez to ease the inclusion of commercials (including pre- and post-rolls, there are currently six commercial breaks in the film), and to serve web attention spans. To that end, the film is available on YouTube both as a complete feature and as a ten video playlist, which breaks out each individual vignette.
“I would much rather people watch it as a movie than as a playlist, but the Internet community is so used to seeing things in small chunks, so each part is a mini-one act on its own,” Gutierrez said in an interview. Gutierrez is getting his wish, though — the individual chapters of GIRL WALKS range in view counts from less than 600 views to 3,000; it’s the full-length feature that’s been getting the bulk of the traffic.
… for Gutierrez, GIRL WALKS is largely an experiment to see how the web and independent film can mix, an important issue for filmmakers these days due to the eroding theatrical market and the boom of alternative distribution platforms. “I don’t know what will come of this,” he said. “But we have to ask the question.”