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July 5, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

James Cromwell, the actor best known for his role as the farmer in 1995’s Babe and the father of Peter Parker’s love interest in Spider-Man 3, is exec producing a film that will, by design, be distributed first via BitTorrent — often damned as the platform of choice for movie pirates — before heading for theaters. According to TorrentFreak, which tracks BitTorrent activity, Cromwell and his colleagues plan to serialize the movie, A Lonely Place for Dying — there’s no indication how many episodes will be produced — and offering it first on VODO, a BitTorrent outlet for independent movies, free. They then hope to use whatever donations they receive to complete a theatrical edit of the movie and distribute it themselves to U.S. movie theaters. Reporting on the filmmakers’ plans, TorrentFreak commented, “This order is the complete reverse of the regular Hollywood path, and it wouldn’t be going too far to describe it as a breakthrough.” It quoted first-time director Justin Eugene Evans as saying, “It’s no exaggeration to say A Lonely Place for Dying is a milestone for VODO and for original content distributed through BitTorrent. We hope the community will help us prove this can work!” For years, supporters of BitTorrent distribution have demanded that Hollywood adjust its marketing strategy to take advantage of the system. Said VODO founder Jamie King: “It’s important to show how the popularity we can build for movies online can convert into paying cinemagoers down the road. This could be a turning point for indie filmmakers.”