Thursday, September 10, 2009

Indie Film Distribution and International Sales Patterns In Flux

Speaking of P&A which is put up increasingly by the filmmaker in a DIY scenario, if the traditional distributors are offering neither advance, mg nor P&A (Prints and Advertising): A look at international representation for territories outside the US (or North America) shows international sales agents (aka ISAs) are also positioning themselves as no longer the source of advances or mgs and if they cannot foresee presales (which it seems, they cannot count on these days either), they are also floating balloons suggesting filmmakers pay the P&A costs...chew on that one for a while - international markets can contribute 50% to 90% of a film's revenues...Could this evolve into a new line item in film budgets for P&A allocations not only for US distribution but also for international representation? ISAs already recoup marketing costs first, so if the filmmakers pay their own, then at least they will (in principle) recoup in first position out of first sales.

Toronto Festival Challenges Indie Film to Evolve from The Wrap: "Cynthia Swartz, a longtime publicist and festival veteran, observed: 'People aren’t looking for big numbers in advances anymore. They’re looking for big numbers in prints and advertising. They’ve gotten past the question of big advances'."

According to The Wrap's Sharon Waxman, among the "market titles" in the festival (I consider every festival title a "market title" except those already spoken for) one of the most anticipated is IMGlobal's A Single Man, designer Tom Ford’s first filmmaking foray, a character study into the interior life of a gay man in LA, played by Colin Firth. Another, Dean Zanuck’s Get Low starring Duvall as a hermit who wants to stage his own funeral in which Bill Murray plays the funeral director, is being sold by K5 International a fairly new ISA who is also producing out of Munich and London whose first film was The Visitor and whose sales are being handled by FilmFour veteran and partner Bill Stephens and, btw, whose acquisitions are handled by industry favorite, veteran Kerry Boyle Rock. The two other partners and founders are Daniel Baur and Oliver Simon at K5 in Munich.

BBC and Jeremy Thomas's Creation, with Paul Bettany, is also for sale by Hanway and has already been picked up by A-Film Distribution for Benelux, D Films for Canada and Icon Film Distribution for UK and OZ. The Wrap also lists Contentfilm's Fishtank but IFC has taken that for US and many other distibutors are aleady attached (see link for companies), and Agora a Roman-era film by Alejadro Amenabar, being offered by Focus (why don't they take North America themselves? and distributed by 20th Century Fox and Canal+ in Spain (didn't they have first choice of other territories as well?)

The Wrap does not list the many films which thus far do not even have ISAs (International Sales Agents' representation) and which will be viewed by them as well as by worldwide distributors. See IndieWire's list of 147 Films For Sale .

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