To The Person In Charge Of New Title Addition Reviews,
We are writing to you regarding our feature film project ‘The Tunnel’.
We here at ‘The Tunnel’ production team, as well as our stakeholders and thousands of fans, have been frustrated over the last few months at IMDb.com’s consistent refusal to list our project. We have repeatedly addressed IMDb’s requests for further qualifying information, as well as puzzling requests for proof of the existence of our production.
Time and time again we are refused a listing on your database, because of what we feel is an unfair judgment based on our online distribution model via torrents. We seek to present our case one more time, putting forward the requirements sought by the IMDb. Also, to seek answers not just for us as producers, but for the thousands of fans and the independent filmmaking community at large, looking to use the Internet to find new ways to connect with an audience.
While we completely understand and respect the need for IMDb.com to screen all submissions in order to maintain an accurate database that is not filled with fake or erroneous listings, we feel that this screening process has failed this time.
Allow us to elaborate:
“The Tunnel Movie” has been submitted and resubmitted by either ourselves, or other members of our cast and crew on at least 5 occasions as ‘The Tunnel Movie’ and also as “The Tunnel”. There may be more submissions we are unaware of. Some have been via the website Title Addition Page, others via your IMDb Pro service. Each time, a reason has been given for declining our submission, and each time, the reason has been addressed appropriately via resubmission to no avail.
An excerpt from an early rejection notice received by us on 19th June 2010 for new title “The Tunnel Movie”:
“If you are trying to submit a project in the early stages of development, such as a script, or optioned property, please know that we are not considering development titles for listing if they are not set up at a production company that lacks a production history of credited, theatrically released feature films. So, you may have to resubmit your title after filming is under way.“
While our project was in the pre-production stage at that time, the project had been set up in conjunction with Zapruder’s Other Films, who have IMDb credits for several notable, respected, and award-winning television programs, as well as the feature documentary ‘God on My Side’, which received a theatrical release in Australia.
Undeterred by this, we decided we would indeed resubmit, as suggested by IMDb, once filming on “The Tunnel” was under way.
A subsequent rejection notice, dated 19th August 2010 received by submitting cast member Ben Maclaine for new title “The Tunnel”, read in part:
“Thanks for your new title addition to IMDb. Our title managers have recently examined the information which you supplied and it appears this title will not qualify for inclusion until it is in an advanced stage of production or completed, sorry.
Please wait until your project is announced in the trades (an article, not just a chart listing), accepted at a selective/competitive film festival or released to the general public. You may then supply a URL containing this information as proof of your project’s eligibility via the IMDb additions system.”
Somewhat puzzled by this, we again resubmitted the title. By this stage, we had all but wrapped principal photography, and the title was resubmitted as being in post-production. This submission cited several trade magazine, general media and press articles. Many of these have appeared in print in the major Australian trade publications such as Encore, Filmink, and Inside Film magazines; online on reputable sites such as twitchfilm.net; as well as in major Australian daily print news – The Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph and The Australian, to name only the most notable. ‘The Tunnel’ also featured on The Channel Seven National News here in Australia. Given the appearance of many of the links to these articles on IMDb.com itself via the IMDb News Desk, we were confident that the film would get listed at this time.
The following is another excerpt from the subsequent rejection notice received by Ben Maclaine from IMDb.com on 3rd September 2010:
“Hello. Please provide distribution info or evidence it will be released in 2010. Thank you.
We have not been able to verify the existence and eligibility of this title for inclusion in IMDb. Please submit a web location (URL) where the existence and eligibility of the title are confirmed. For example, if you claim a festival screening provide a URL for this festival. If you claim it is for sale provide a URL of the place(s) selling it online, etc. Please note that official sites provided by the title’s production company are not considered suitable evidence.”
It is curious that IMDb has been unable to verify the existence of our title, given the stream of articles provided as per the previous request. Curious also, given the considerable international awareness around “The Tunnel”, with an online community numbering in the thousands surrounding our project at www.thetunnelmovie.net (over 50,000 page views), and also on Twitter and Facebook, where we have been sharing our progress with our stakeholders and fans in over 100 countries. A simple Google search for ‘The Tunnel Movie’ sees our project occupy four out of the top five search results, alongside an IMDb result for a similar title.
So, given the above correspondence from IMDb dated 3rd September, it is disconcerting that the issue seems to have shifted to a perceived lack of evidence of our title’s release.
To us, this is even more puzzling than the previous rejection notice, given that our publicity campaign, all articles and marketing collateral for “The Tunnel” cite a release via peer-to-peer torrent networks – a release that can be organised from any computer around the world at any time, by anyone.
Is IMDb refusing to list “The Tunnel” because it sees our chosen method of distribution – online – as an invalid one?
We want to point out that peer-to-peer networks can – and in fact are – being used as a perfectly legitimate distribution mechanism. They are increasingly being seen as a large distribution network with an ability for reaching out to, and connecting directly with, a sizeable and legitimate audience. One needs only look at exemplary projects like www.pioneerone.tv to see this. It is interesting to note that while the Pioneer One series has been seen by several hundreds of thousands of viewers, it is also not yet listed on IMDb.
Further to all of this, there seem to be other titles already listed on IMDb that, upon inspection, appear to satisfy less of the abovementioned criteria than our project. In fact, one such title from this year even shares a name with our film.
This eponymous IMDb-listed title:
- is a short film
- is listed as in post-production (ie unfinished)
- does not have any visible listing for an established production company
- has a cast and crew for which this title is their only IMDb credit
- is unreleased (release date of Oct 2010).
This seems quite inconsistent when our rejected title:
- is a feature film
- has wrapped principal photography, and is in post-production
- is associated with a well-established and IMDb-credited production company, Zapruder’s Other Films
- has ample press and trade articles
- has key cast and crew with over 90 cumulative IMDb credits in network television and feature films
- has a publicly announced distribution plan
All of these should easily qualify our new title addition for listing on the Internet Movie Database.
Accordingly, we are still having trouble understanding why IMDb refuses to list “The Tunnel”.
We invite IMDb to address this inconsistency in their review process, and to confirm as soon as possible that our feature film project will be listed on the the IMDb database.
If IMDb maintains it stance regarding our new title addition, we request a detailed explanation in writing.
Also for your information, given the intense interest in this project, we will be sharing this correspondence with our project’s stakeholders and fans at www.blog.thetunnelmovie.net.
Accordingly, we will also share any subsequent correspondence from IMDb.
We await your reply.
Respect and regards,