An art market for short film

The cultural value of short film is enormous—

It can be a statement of creative purpose for important new voices.

It can be a proving ground for narrative and formal exploration.

And increasingly, it is used as “proof of concept” for a feature or series.

But its creators rarely see meaningful economic returns.

Short film is not often made with a large audience in mind, and as noted in our last post, traditional distribution or large-scale online viewership are effectively the only ways to make money from this type of content.

What if we’ve been looking at short film the wrong way?

In terms of creative intent and process, short film looks a lot more like art than it does mass entertainment. Like fine artists, its creators are expressing a personal vision free from commercial pressures — while hoping to cultivate a profile among a relatively small circle of important curators (festivals) and future “patrons” (production cos. and studios).

So if we want to unlock the value of short film, it stands to reason we can learn something from the economics of the art world.

This is where the supercharged patronage of web3 comes in, and in particular, the impact of NFTs on digital art. The story goes something like this:

  • NFTs make digital ownership possible;
  • Digital ownership turns fans into collectors;
  • Collecting with perpetual royalties creates transformative income potential.

2021 was evidence of the power of this innovation, as digital art grew from a curiosity to capturing a meaningful share of the global art market. And it’s worth noting that this value doesn’t require anything approaching mass popularity—many talented artists not named Beeple are making significant earnings with no more than a handful of transacting collectors.

( Sidebar: In spite of the tumult in crypto markets, art and collectible NFTs continue to transact, and are likely experiencing a “flight to quality.” More importantly, a generation of artists is growing up with the understanding that their digital creations have value as collectibles and as IP. Long-term, the acronyms may change, but the ability to trade verifiably-unique digital assets makes simple human sense.)

We believe short film is ready for its own “unlock.”

Of all formats of narrative visual storytelling, short film is innately suited for the art-world economics of web3:

  • It is motivated more by self-expression than popularity;
  • It is more often supported by patronage than by distribution;
  • It has enduring cultural and historical value;
  • And it can create a powerful visceral draw among its fans.

Nothing about short film needs to change to make this possible. What’s different is we now have the tools to create the most meaningful upside the medium has ever had.

For filmmakers, this means the opportunity to derive greater value from work they’re already creating (or have created)—without giving up any control of their IP or distracting from their broader career path.

For crypto collectors and film patrons, this means a new way to collect short film as art, and a new way to invest in short film as a development vehicle for a feature or series with commercial potential—while participating in the same upside as the filmmakers they support.

With time, we believe the art-world economics of web3 make it possible to unlock the untapped cultural value in short film. Doing so will create new financial opportunity for more filmmakers, and has the potential to accelerate the incredible creativity of the medium itself.



An art market for short film, launching Q4 2022. Learn more:

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