VODO — a creator friendly, copyfighting distribution startup — has just released part one of ZENITH, a serialized science fiction thriller.Production is already complete, but each segment of ZENITH is released once fans stump up $10,000 — getting themselves credits in the process. All funds go towards the production of a mini-feature in the Zenith world, released exclusively through VODO. Flavorwire called the film "A visually stunning art-house Blade Runner." It's distributed for free over BitTorrent (and also sold via video on demand services).
It's been very popular to date: the first episode was downloaded 250,000 times in the first week, during which time, they raised $3,500. Here's the synopsis:
A father and son, separated by decades and a cataclysm that has
upturned the world, track a grand and elusive conspiracy in this
sci-fi, cyberpunk thriller.
In the hellish future of 2044, human beings have become stupefied by
the state of permanent happiness they've been genetically altered to
experience. 'Dumb' Jack (Peter Scanavino) offers relief via drugs that
bring his customers the welcome phenomenon of pain. But when Jack
receives a mysterious videotape of his dead father, he sets out to
unmask the dangerous conspiracy that has created this dystopian world.
The quest of Jack and his father to solve the same grand conspiracy
leads them to question their own humanity. In the end, they are both
confronted with the same Faustian bargain – but each one chooses a
very different path. In his search, Jack encounters Lisa, a seductive
and melancholy prostitute who has also been able to preserve her
extensive understanding of the world past and longs and desires for
the same solace as Jack. It is through a strange series of events in
his quest that she brings him closer to the truth. In the end, what he
discovers may cost him all he has known, all he has loved and all he
has worked for until now.