An online platform launching in New Zealand ahead of a global roll out allows cinema fans to book movie screenings on demand.

Demand.film gives independent filmmakers the opportunity to have their films seen by wider audiences around the world.

The concept tips the current film distribution model on its head by offering films on demand, said chief executive David Doepel.

Currently there were "too many films and not enough screens", which allowed films that were not traditional blockbusters to fall through the cracks, Perth-based Doepel said.

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On the Demand.film platform, one person requests a screening at a local cinema and then promotes the screening through social media.

The film was only screened if enough tickets were sold to cover the costs of the screening, which was usually about 60 tickets, Doepel said.

"It applies crowd-sourcing principles and crowd-funding ideas."

The platform has had support from Event Cinemas, Hoyts and independent cinemas in New Zealand. Just one or two cinemas across the country had chosen to be left off the platform, Doepel said.

"The majority of our screenings occur on Monday and Wednesday nights which are traditionally very slow nights for the cinema."

Demand.film's New Zealand representative Sue Thompson said opportunities to sell drinks and popcorn to the audience on traditionally quiet nights was appealing for cinema owners.

Demand.film was not about cannibalising demand for big blockbusters, but rather it would grow audiences, Thompson said.

Australian body-positive film Embrace, that showed at the New Zealand International Film festival, is getting screentime in New Zealand thanks to Demand.film.
Australian body-positive film Embrace, that showed at the New Zealand International Film festival, is getting screentime in New Zealand thanks to Demand.film.

Demand.film is collecting films from around the world, most of which have been screened at film festivals, and is taking New Zealand documentary Tickled, directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, to screens in Australia.

Australian body-positive film Embrace, that showed at the New Zealand International Film Festival, is getting screentime in New Zealand thanks to the platform.

"There's lots that you might see at a festival and that's the only time it will turn up on screens even though there's a much larger audience out there for it," Doepel said.

"We're chasing a couple of other very desirable New Zealand films, which we haven't caught yet, but we're hopeful."

Thompson said New Zealand cinema-goers have "high quality demand for the films that they see".

"Especially out of their own country. It reinforces the message that as a country of film-makers we're extraordinarily talented."

Thompson said the recent success of Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Poi E demonstrated the audience demand for local films on the big screen.