In early January, we reported the news that director Ben Rekhi had turned down six figure distribution offers in favor of releasing his 2005 SXSW hit, Waterborne, on Google Video. Under Rekhi's agreement with Google, the movie could be watched via streaming video for free (for its first 10 days of release), or downloaded for less than $5.

According to Rekhi, his movie was viewed over 25,000 times in its first two weeks of release, and was downloaded hundreds of times every day. The film's producer, Smriti Mundhra, told The Hollywood Reporter's Anne Thompson that the decision was an unequivocal success: "The exposure we've gotten though the Google Video distribution model vastly exceeds what we would have gained through traditional theatrical distribution." Furthermore, the movie's presence on Google Video and the associated publicity have led to DVD preorders (currently at about 15,000) that greatly exceeded Rekhi's expectations. All in all, Waterborne has become a great advertisement for the concrete advantages of online distribution to the makers of independent films.

Waterborne comes out on DVD in two weeks.