Thanks to Mike Kravinsky, you don’t have to pay eight bucks to see your favorite Coyote Ugly actress in crisisall you need is an Internet connection and 15 minutes out of your boss’s (or wife’s) sight.
Granted, Piper Perabo’s turn in the short film Single Spaced is much more subdued than her recent performance as a bar-dancin’, water-splashin’ barkeep, but what do you expect for free? Kravinsky is the creator of Roxy Films, a Web site that presents streaming media clips of short films, animation, and ’40s newsreels. The clipswhich can be downloaded sans cost or registrationrange from selections by local artists to highlights from festivals such as Filmfest D.C., the DCDance Filmmakers Showcase, and the DC Women in Film and Video’s Women of Vision Awards Gala.
Roxy Films (named after the dog Kravinsky adopted from the Washington Humane Society, which the site promotes with a link) was launched in February 2000 and, thanks to links from other Web sites such as Perabo’s fan pages, now boasts between 6,000 and 12,000 hits a week from surfers worldwide.
Kravinsky works for ABC News as an editor of 20/20 and has lived in the D.C. area since he was a teenager. Now 46, he runs the site from his Arlington home with his sole assistant, self-titled “Queen of Promotion” Dannielle Werchowsky. Werchowsky is charged with soliciting clips from local festivals and getting word out about the site; Kravinsky minds production quality and the nuts-and-bolts of building a Web site.
Though currently a part-time venture, Kravinsky hopes the project will become a high-profile showcase for local film and video talent. “I believe the Internet is very empowering to the independent filmmaker….What we offer is one place to see a number of short independent works.”
There are no charges or contracts for filmmakers or festival producers who would like to have their work featured on the Roxy Films site, and the submission process is relatively painless. (Guidelines can be found at www.roxyfilms.com.) “When [Roxy Films] gets new films, we get new viewers and the filmmaker gets promotion,” says Kravinsky. “It’s a win for everyone.”
Kravinsky, who says that Roxy Films is now a labor of love, hopes to eventually make money off the site through advertising and would like to feature different films weekly. “There are plenty of independent filmmakers in the metro area,” he says. “The problem is finding them and making sure they know we’re here.” Tricia Olszewski