IMDb denies listing to a BitTorrent only movie

This is a curious story that popped up over at the TorrentFreak blog this morning. It seems that the Internet movie database IMDb, owned by Amazon, has decided that a publicly funded movie that is due to be released for free via BitTorrent doesn’t get to be listed in their database.

The horror movie, The Tunnel, by Julian Harvey and Enzo Tedeschi is being funded by the public who are buying frames of the finished movie for one dollar each. Once the movie is done it will be distributed freely using BitTorrent. However when the they try and get the movie listed with IMDb as part of their promotional push they have been continually denied.

In June, IMDb told the team that if a movie is not set up with a production company with a history of theatrically released movies, getting it listed at the early stages of development would not be possible. However, The Tunnel has backing from Zapruder’s Other Films which already have IMDb listings.

Undeterred by this setback, the creators decided to have another attempt at a listing once filming proper was underway, but all that resulted in was a further rejection in August.

Thanks for your new title addition to IMDb. Our title managers have recently examined the information which you supplied and it appears this title will not qualify for inclusion until it is in an advanced stage of production or completed, sorry.

The rejections continued, even though the team providing several trade magazine listings, news articles and other supporting material to show the film is legitimate. Then in September, and despite the Australian Director’s Guild recognising the movie’s online marketing campaign with an ADG Award nomination, IMDb rejected The Tunnel again saying that they can find no evidence to suggest the movie exists.

Enzo told TorrentFreak that he believes that it’s the movie’s distribution model which has caused this reaction from IMDb. The third rejection letter from IMDb says:

Hello. Please provide distribution info or evidence it will be released in 2010. Thank you.

“Seeing as we announced our distribution plan via torrents, a method that is completely within our control, we can’t see what ‘distribution info’ we could provide,” Enzo told us.

“There is no official deal in place to make that happen, as it isn’t controlled by a ‘distributor’ as such. The only conclusion we can reach is that in the absence of a ‘proper’ distributor, they won’t list us.”

Talk about discouraging new methods of distribution.