You’re done. You have an independent film that is completed. You’ve passed the finish line and you’re hanging out in the victory wings. Well, not yet. You have another hurdle to overcome. Just when you think it’s all over, you realize you need to get your film out there in the world and distributed. Will it ever end?
Lucky for you, Raindance is here to help. You typically have two choices when it comes to distribution. Film Festivals and going straight to the distributors, you can do both or start with a film festival then go to a distributor or have a distributor approach you after a film festival. Depending on your budget or time constraints, you’ll have to decide which you would like to do.
Film Festivals: The best way to gain hype about your film is to submit it into festivals. Festivals are relatively affordable and if you make it into the festival, you get instant press and obviously you get to attend the festival which is a great opportunity for networking. Executives and critics are here at the festival and they want to meet you. A great film will have distributors lining up to purchase your film. However, don’t jump on the first offer. Collaborate with your fellow filmmakers and weigh your options. Something better might just be around the corner, after all.
Check out this website for upcoming film festivals: http://www.filmfestivals.com/
DVD Distributors: If you’re still waiting to push it to DVD, go straight to the distributor. They have the power to not only put this on DVD complete with packaging, but you get the press. They’re likely to release your trailer to go along with their other releases. To go about this process take it step by step.
First, research possible companies that may release your film. For example, if you have a gruesome zombie film, look up distributors that specialize in horror or thrillers such as Ghosthouse Underground. This information can be found very easily through IMDb Pro so you might want to possibly invest in an IMDb Pro account. Through your account, you’ll be able to set up a page for your film as well as view contacts and staff working for a certain company.
Second, prepare an email to send out to your contact. An email is best because then you can link a trailer to your film and make it easy for the buyer to just click and watch. However, do not be disheartened if you receive no reply. They probably receive numerous emails a day with trailer links as well, but the best thing you can do is remain positive and patient.
Try these (All of the buyers featured on this list are feature film DVD buyers thanks to http://www.filmspecific.com)…
Distributor: ARROW FILMS (UK)
Acquisitions: Neil Agran
Distributor: ASCOT ELITE (Germany)
Acquisitions: Stephan Giger
Distributor: DALL'ANGELO PICTURES (Italy)
Acquisitions: Adua Rocca
Distributor: EA CINEMA (Russia)
Acquisitions: Eugene Kozlov
Distributor: HOM VISION (Netherlands)
Acquisitions: Henk Opstelten
Distributor: MIS LABEL (Denmark)
Acquisitions: Kim Bjerring
Distributor: RECIDIVE (France)
Acquisitions: Jerry Bellamy
Distributor: SAVOR (Spain)
Acquisitions: Joan Herrero
Distributor: HORIZON ONE ENTERTAINMENT (Australia)
Acquisitions: Scott Clayton
Distributor: FINE FILMS (Japan)
Acquisitions: Maki Kato
Another good source for companies in the UK can be found here: http://www.independentcinemaoffice.org.uk/distributors.html
Third, let’s say you get a response from a company and they are interested. The next step for you would be to create a screener. Do not send them a pile of DV cassettes but instead a nicely packaged DVD. If you don’t have the resources to make a nice cover and package, try this website www.createspace.com where they will not only package your screeners but they’ll also ship them out for you.
Fourth, remain patient and persistent. If you truly believe that your film will succeed, then it will. Word of mouth always works and don’t be afraid to use your contacts. These film buyers are approachable all year but give them a couple weeks after they get back before hassling them.
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Theresa Norton is a struggling film student from Cal State Fullerton hoping to land a job in London where she enjoys the fabulous weather and all the Harry Potter references. Films are her life and London is her love.
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