Nothing like some depressing news to start off a Monday. B-Side Entertainment, the company that's been distributing indie films and making incredibly useful interactive online guides for a number of film festivals, is closing its doors. Filmmaker magazine reports that the Austin-based company laid off most of its staff last week and is now trying to find homes for the movies still in B-Side's pipeline.

The reason is the one you hear a lot these days: the funding ran out. B-Side's CEO and founder, Chris Hyams, said the venture capital firm that had been backing them pulled out in late 2009. "We have spent the last four or five months looking for [an] alternative.... But we reached the end of our cash before we could secure new investment. We had to shut the company down."

To use the official economic term, this sucks. Let me here recount some of the ways this sucks.

1) B-Side's "Festival Genius" software was aptly named. Anyone who's ever gone to a film festival has been tormented by the schedule. If you see Film A at Time X, you'll miss Film B, which starts at Time Y. But maybe you can catch Film B at Time Z later in the week -- oh, but then it conflicts with Film C. The Festival Genius would help you work out a feasible schedule for participating festivals, and it had social-networking elements too: share your schedule with friends and colleagues, rate the movies after you've seen them, and so forth. It was a niche tool, sure -- it's a small percentage of the world's population that goes to film festivals -- but for that niche, it was a miraculously ingenious and easy-to-use solution.
categories Movies, Cinematical