Posted Jun 06, 2001
iFilm is the web video site that validated my interest in internet video waaay back in about 1999 or so. This is the place where my mind was first blown about the potential of this media on the internet. At the time it resembled a 24 hour online film festival where anybody could send in their work and get comments and ratings by thousands of people in the iFilm web audience. They would then rise or fall on the rating scale and the best performers would be on the front page. Sound familiar? It is today but back then it was like: "holy shit!" There was no uploading , you sent your DV master in directly. The idea was all in place though. These guys had the right ideas before Google was God and before YouTube was born.
The site is a lot more commercial than it was back then. It was bought by Viacom in 2005 which means they hawk all kinds of commercial stuff and the online film festival aspect has become much less significant in their business plan. They are much lower on my list of places to visit today but they are survivors from the era when everyone was failing at web video efforts because it was a little too early. YouTube came along about 5 years later I think. I am sad to see that they basically sold out to the dark side but they have historical significance and they are doing the YouTube approach now so I might still poke around from time to time.
This short home made action film, 405, is one of the first shorts I saw on iFilm, it is now a classic web video (circa 2000). The two guys that made it had experience in the special effect industry but they wanted to do an independent effort with minimal tools. It it ended up being one of two huge viral hits that put iFilm on the map in my opinion. It landed them a Creative Artists Agency contract and, for me, it was part of that "aha!" moment when I saw the potential of clever experienced people with the right tools and the right concept using the web to reach people. This is who many of us want to be today. This video has had a little more than 5 million views in the 7 years it's been available.