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Withoutabox v.s. Filmfreeway

Independent filmmaking can be frustrating in terms of getting your work noticed. Film festivals provides a platform for independent filmmakers that allows them to showcase their work to a larger audience, which can possibly lead to great opportunities. Many years ago submitting to film festivals was a tedious process for both the filmmakers and the festivals. Having to manually fill out submission forms and mail those forms with a check and copy of your film, was a headache until Withoutabox emerged. Withoutabox gave festivals the opportunity to accept applications online. Filmmakers can upload their films and their information once, and submit applications to multiple film festivals. Soon after Withoutabox made its debut, things began to take a turn for the worst. Withoutabox filed for a patent for their online festival database and submission service. This prevented competitors from developing anything similar to what WAB offers. For many years WAB was the only way a filmmaker could submit to a festival. Eventually IMDb, which is own by Amazon, bought Withoutabox making it even more difficult to compete with WAB. Other companies did not want to risk a lawsuit against Amazon’s million dollar lawyers. Without any competition, Withoutabox remained virtually the same since it debuted. Many people complained that the website was not user friendly and that the quality of the films, after being uploaded to the website, was very poor. Festivals had to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to list their festivals. WAB also strongly insisted that for festivals to use the WAB services that they had to exclusively accept submissions from Withoutabox. The absence of company competition gave WAB the power to do whatever they wanted. This all changed when a brave company came to the rescue. In 2014 Filmfreeway provided an alternative way to submit to festivals. Filmfreeway was safe from any lawsuits because they are based in Canada and WAB’s United States patent has no jurisdiction in other countries. This new alternative quickly caught the attention of many festivals and filmmakers. The website was more user friendly, offered the option to upload in HD for free, and allowed festivals to list for a more affordable price making it more affordable for filmmakers to submit. Filmfreeway now receives more web traffic and more film festival listings than Withoutabox. This has forced Withoutabox to make some serious changes to improve their user experience. They have lowered their festival listing costs as well. This is a perfect example of how a modern day monopoly was pushed to provide a better service when competition presented itself. Although Withoutabox is working towards change, Filmfreeway remains a festival favorite. Withoutabox is currently putting more effort towards being used for the more popular festivals, like Sundance. In time we will see if Withoutabox redeems itself, but for now Filmfreeway has stolen the show.