Streaming Truth to Power: CPVOD Launches!

Posted by in Cinema Politica, Doc Side

The last 48 hours have been quite the whirlwind of activity at Cinema Politica HQ here in Montreal. We’ve been planning a launch date for our newest expansion of the political cinema terrain: Cinema Politica Video-On-Deman (or #CPVOD as we like to call it for short).

Anna, our fearless Network Coordinator (she works with all the CP locals, or chapters, worldwide) came up with the brilliant turn-of-phase above, Streaming Truth to Power (a riff on our tag-line mandate: “screening truth to power”). Marie-Noelle has been multi-tasking design and translation to such an effect that I’m sure I saw custom-designed (and bilingual) smoke coming out of her ears today at the office. Alan is our new committed and brave Intern who’s been plugging away on the tech-end of things – getting all the video files compressed and VOD pages built. Adri has been skilfully engaging in the copious ping-pong match of emailing with filmmakers and distributors for contracts, files, information, etc – all the necessary nuts and bolts required to properly host an artist’s film on our VOD service. And of course Svetla, our trusted Exec Director, has been stewarding the ship, not only quality-checking the whole way, but using her forensic skills to hone all matter of wordsmithing – from contract lingo to tweets to promo cards to Press Releases.

And today we launched

With all the usual trials and tribulations inherent to a small feisty non-profit dizzylingly circling our station, we have all come out bleary-eyed and frazzdazzled – amazed to see the VOD pages up, people renting the films, and the system working! Working!

CPVOD_premieresIt all seemed so destined to derail, defuse, de-launch.

A CBC radio interview (an article was also published here) about to go live yesterday at precisely 5:20 pm had us all scrambling like ants to hoist the glorious thing in the air by showtime, and at the magic hour, just when Alan was ready to make all the pages go live – a very (very!) rare Vimeo (the service that hosts all our VOD videos) shutdown of service cursed our warred and harried souls!

Millions of clients were of course impacted, but we were about to go live, curses! The radio interview passed, Vimeo whirred back up and just when we were naively ready to rejoice with reckless optimism of launchness, presto! The CP site became its prickly craggy version of its usual awesomely friendly self just to spite us. Confounding curses!

But yesterday was our soft launch. Today was the big day.

I suppose when you climb in an elevator and the other folks ascending floors with you exclaim in repulsion that there is poop in the lift, that it might be wise to take that as a sign. And not of the good variety.

With that morning experience setting a tone, today—our “official launch day”—was (we thought) being stewarded by an at-the-ready squad of determined debutantes, when a probably less rare, but still infrequent shutdown of internet access occurred across Quebec and Ontario.

With all of us staring at screens that suddenly became dead without internet (more than once, a sapient comment was made reflecting on this rather cruel and bizarre condition). We were so ready but at the mercy of yet another structuring entity. More shit in the lift!

Alas, this isn’t about any real struggle for life-and-death, status, rights, or other real problems so beautifully documented in the films we circulate.

It was, what in theatre, might be called a “French farce” – and I hope we all played our roles brazenly Brechtian and shamelessly Shakespearean.

Because, at the end of the two launch days, the boat is afloat and destined for distant shores that only the globe-circling internet could facilitate with such rapidity and fake proximity.

So there you have it – #CPVOD, with 24 awesomely audacious and astounding political films has launched. Check it out at – just be careful not to hit the wrong key…