Monday, August 31, 2009

My 2 Cents for What It's Worth on Toronto Protests

John Greyson has, in effect lit a match to a highly inflammable emotional underbrush (taking the lead from the great filmmaker and btw splinter-Trotskyite-party-member Ken Loach) which now has festival organizers and filmmakers scrambling to put out brushfires before this becomes a conflagration on a par with L.A.'s recent fires.

Irresponsibly, with poorly thought out rationalization, he is inflaming deeply held emotions which can untrack not only TIFF but all consecutive festivals and the entire community of artists with an issue which has been causing wars for the last 5,000+ years.

Filmmakers' and artists' ideas and passions belong on the screen allowing the rest of the public to share well thought out and well planned works which can be discussed, reviled or beloved on a case by case basis.

This action endangers not only the public, as the man in the theater who yells “Fire!” but also the areas of artistic freedom, freedom of choice and the 5th human right, the right to be different.

People are forced to sign the petition as if answering the attorney’s question, “Do you still beat your wife?”. If they don’t sign, does it mean they are pro Israeli government?

Even Arab filmmakers whose films will discuss these and other issues (as will the Israeli films) resent the attention being pulled away from their films by this emotional appeal.

John Greyson should be fighting his own battle which judging by his recent short deals with the anti-gay (another basic human right violation) sentiment and he should leave this one alone. Of course he has the freedom to choose his battles and I am not the one to dictate his actions.

Variety link to John Greyson’s statement, “I'm concerned to hear that other filmmakers are being harassed regarding their participation in TIFF. I pulled my short film out of TIFF as a personal statement of principle, and in the hopes that my action would "shine a spotlight" on this deeply troubling Tel Aviv Spotlight. I certainly didn't call for a larger boycott, or expect other filmmakers to follow suit and pull their films. (Indeed, given the realities of global film production and distribution, and the importance of TIFF as a sales market, it's hard to think of any director of a feature length film who would have the luxury of that option!)” Variety article September 6, 2009 entitled Toronto slate angers Arab filmmakers,Tel Aviv program raises furor by Ali Jaafar

He should have thought of these consequences when he made his statement so publically.

Denouncing Tel Aviv Focus, Filmmaker Pulls Out of Toronto FestPosted September 2, 2009 IndieWire:

Sure enough, someone had to jump into the act of "Denouncing Tel Aviv Focus". "Filmmaker Pulls Out of Toronto Fest" - indieWIRE: "Ten days before it’s set to kick off, the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival has found itself in the midst of some controversy. Canadian filmmaker John Greyson (“Lilies,” “Fig Trees”) has withdrawn his short film “Covered” - a doc about the 2008 Sarajevo Queer Festival, which was cancelled due to anti-gay violence - from this year’s lineup due to a disagreement with the festival’s program spotlighting films from Tel Aviv."

I hate to have predicted it in my earlier blog, but I did fear someone would come up and kick the ever unpopular whipping dog, Israel. And John Greyson, fighting censorship and citing anti-gay violence as his enemy, turns about and goes for enacting the same censorship that hampers him.

We too hate the reactionary right but disagree that Tel Aviv, Israel and Israeli filmmakers should be censored because their government is so wrong-headed. What about the many Americans who had to suffer under Bush until Obama was elected? So many Israelis are suffering, are progressive, are even represented by the Israeli film industry in their harsh criticism of their reactionary government. Why stifle the progressive filmmakers' voices in the name of ... in the name of what exactly? Shame on John Greyson! Shame on Ken Loach! Shame on minorities censoring other minorities in the name of.. in the name of what exactly?

Freedom of expression and freedom of choice to program or not to program, freedom vs. censorship! Whenever a group is singled out for attack, a bigot is lurking and trying to round up many other individuals into a mob. A nation is made of many individuals who do not deserve to be tarred with the same feathers of the reactionary so-called leaders running their government.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Toronto International Film Festival Program Notes

My comments on the film selection and the festival's new initiatives follow below. The hot links connect the reader directly to the online catalog of Toronto International Film Festival which will be September 10-17 and will screen 273 features. Last year it screened 249. 242 are world, international or North American premieres, and 71 are first features.

First off, my thanks go to the Toronto International Film Festival for the new City To City Section's selection of Tel Aviv which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. Ten films have just been announced and there will be a public forum for filmmakers and thinkers from Tel Aviv and Toronto.

I do more than hope that we will not see the "Ken Loach experience" of Edinburgh and Melbourne repeat itself in uglier colors reminding us that September 11, 2001 happened in Toronto as it did everywhere else in the world. “The Ken Loach experience” happened when Ken Loach pulled 'Looking for Eric' because Edinburgh and Melbourne festivals were "supporting" Israeli filmmakers and he was supporting a boycott of Israel on behalf of the Palestinian cause. (For the record Loach is publicly affiliated with a UK based ultra leftist Trotskyite splinter political party.) The bravery of Edinburgh and Melbourne was tested in the face of those wanting to muzzle free expression, though in the end Edinburgh was coerced into pulling its offer to fly an Israeli filmmaker to Scotland and even pulled the film under fire. Melbourne stood firm but received bad news on another front from selected Chinese filmmakers who pulled their films because China was objecting to Melbourne's showing a doc on the Uighurs, the Muslim minority who were staging protests in China. Toronto is really putting itself on the line here and hopefully will not have to defend freedom of expression as it relates to artistic freedom and freedom of choice.

The City to City Section will “explore the evolving urban experience while presenting the best films from and about a selected city.” “Cities are, almost by definition, cinematic,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF co-director. “ By 2025, two-thirds of us will lead urban lives. We need to take a moment to think about what it means to live in these large and growing communities, with increasingly diverse and multicultural populations, and to consider how a city’s identity is perpetually in flux.”

Toronto probably could have shared City to City honor with Cairo: I counted at least 5 films taking place there: Agora, Scheherazade Tell Me A Story, The Traveler with Omar Sharif, Heliopolis, Cairo Time

Speaking of cities, let's talk urban U.S. indies which number among many of the festival films dealing with issues of youth, crime, and immigration. I'm proud to see the American indies are giving voice to theses universal issues. One of the buzz films at the festival is La Soga which takes place in Washington Heights, NYC and the Dominican Republic. Here's the synopsis off the Facebook page: An edgy, action-drama, combining the gritty reality of movies like "City of God" and "Amores Perros." It is the personal journey of a brave man who risks everything to find justice, a visceral and gripping story of redemption that lays bare brutality and corruption. The executive producer, Henry Mu, already has his next (finished) film to discuss in Toronto.

Down For Life takes place in South Central L.A. during one day in the life of a 15 year old Latina gang leader who wants out. And of course there is the Sundance gem, Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

Other strictly urban films include Heliopolis, Sawasdee Bangkok, Passenger Side, Cairo Time, My Tehran For Sale, The Waiting City.

Those dealing with the inevitable cross cultural links that must be made in urban environments include Bouchareb's London River// Jean Charles (both deal with the London bombings in 2005)// Reel Injun// Jaffa, Kirot// Crab Trap// Should I Really Do It// Gaia// Heiran// Same Same But Different.

We know some of the delights of the city are food and wine and here are films touching on these subjects: Cooking with Stella// Soul Kitchen// The Vintner’s Luck//,Vengeance// I Am Love

And we know some of the dark sides of the city involve drugs, crime and prison. I'm skipping the drug and crime films but here are the prison films: Presumed Guilty// Moloch Tropical// Every Day is a Holiday// Cell 211// Giulia Doesn't Date at Night

There is a notable number of films made by women. At my last and possibly inaccurate count there were 51 (not counting shorts). The reader may be aware of more, and if so add them in the comments. When the number reaches a near parity with the number of films made by men, this issue will no longer be something to note. But until then, I make note of those films here: The Waiting City// Partir// Women Without Men// My Tehran For Sale// Google Baby// Jaffa// Stolen// The Most Dangerous Man in America// Mall Girls// My Queen Karo// Heiran// Hipsters// The Topp Twins// Whip It// Blessed// Green Days// Bran Nue Dae// Beautiful Kate// A Brand New Life// Bare Essence of Life// The Day Will Come// Eamon// Every Day is a Holiday// Last Ride// Mall Girls// My Tehran For Sale// Nora// La Pivellina// My Dog Tulip// Saint Louis Blues// The Unloved// Fish Tank// The Angel// Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country by same director as She, A Chinese// Hotel Atlantico// Melody of a Street Organ// Vision// White Material// Lourdes// My Year Without Sex// Le Pere de mes Enfants// Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel// Bright Star// Cairo Time// Tanner Hall// Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould// Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound// The Private Lives of Pippa Lee// The Vintner’s Luck

Women are not only directors, and as women they have issues, they are mothers, they have families, their families have issues, their partners have issues, their children have issues. I have broken out some of these issues as depicted in films as follow:

About women: My Heart Goes Hadippa// Partir, Women Without Men// Wheat// Whip It// Ahead of Time// Google Baby// The Topp Twins// Backyard, Blessed// Applause// Every Day is a Holiday// Le Jour ou Dieu est parti en voyage (The Day God Walked Away)// Nora// Should I Really Do It// She, A Chinese// Vision// Mother and Child// The Private Lives of Pippa Lee// The Young Victoria// Precious// Slovenian Girl// My Queen Karo// Scheherazade Tell Me A Story

About mothers: Mother// Google Baby// My Son My Son What Have You Done?// The Sunshine Boy// Blessed// The Angel// The Day Will Come// La Pivellina// Shirley Adams// Together// Excited// Mother and Child// J'ai Tue Ma Mere// My Toxic Baby

About family: Partir// The Hole, Eamon// The Happiest Girl in the World// Dogtooth// Heiran// Huacho// What's Your Raashee?// The Young Victoria// The Last Days of Emma Blank// Together// White Material

About school: The Trotsky// Whip It// Mall Girls// Heiran// Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire// Cracks// Tanner Hall // The Loved Ones

About fathers: The Boys Are Back//My Toxic Baby//The Vintner’s Luck// To The Sea// St. Louis Blues// Carmel// The Translator// Dixie Chicks// The Road// Vengeance// Beautiful Kate// A Brand New Life// Last Ride// The Misfortunates// Bena

About professors: After last year's Despair now being released in the U.S., what can these say? Leaves of Grass, A Single Man. A lot apparently, as A Single Man is based on a late novel of Christopher Isherwood. Leaves of Grass, The Loved Ones, High Life apparently belong in their own category but I won't go into that for now.

About politics:
The Most Dangerous Man in America// Once Upon a Time Proletarian: 12 Tales of a Country // The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de sus ojos)// Women Without Men// Bassidj, Stolen, Videocracy// The Bubble // Beyond the Circle(Britter Bairey)// Moloch Tropical// Le Jour ou Dieu est parti en voyage (The Day God Walked Away)// Heiran, Prince of Tears// Tales From The Golden Age (Amintiri Din Epoca de Aur) // My Tehran For Sale, Independencia, Stolen, Cell 211, Scheherazade Tell Me A Story

About war: Triage// Balibo// Lebanon (Levanone) // Le Jour ou Dieu est parti en voyage (The Day God Walked Away)// City of Life and Death// Glorious 39 Other subjects which seem more prevalent than others in this line up include:

Other subjects that stand out by their prevalence in the program include:

India: My Heart Goes Hadippa// Road, Movie//Cooking with Stella// The Waiting City// Google Baby, The Man Beyond the Bridge (Paltadacho Munis)// What's Your Raashee? // A Hindu's Indictment of Heaven// Windo (Janala)

Iran: I have not had enough time to look at the many titles from Iran listed...yet...stay tuned.

Epic: Kamui (Kamui Gaiden) // Baaria// The Road // Valhalla Rising // Wheat

Based on the book: Women Without Men// Dorian Gray // Youth in Revolt // The Private Lives of Pippa Lee// Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire// What's Your Raashee?// Shameless//A Single Man// Under the Mountain // The Warrior and the Wolf// Beautiful Kate

Based on the true story, memoirs: Creation// My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done // The Boys Are Back// Hiroshima // The Informant! // Bright Star

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paramount Signs for a Trial Run with Redbox

As my blog of August 18 pointed out, studios ignoring Redbox do so at their own risk. Yesterday's Variety bears me out with its analysis and announcement of Paramount's signing on which will point the way for the other recalcitrant studios I'm sure. Today's L.A. Times also points out that Paramount is the second major after Sony to go toward Redbox. Not coincidently perhaps it is the studio whose summer box-office this year has been the highest in the studio cycle. Patrick Goldstein, one of the most intelligent journalists writing on film these days, said in his column The Big Picture on August 18, "Studios play hardball with Redbox at their own risk They're making the same mistake the music industry did with Napster". The typical big business mentality of the studios, in trying to disallow Redbox from renting their pictures for $1, are cutting themselves off from a revenue source which the movie viewing audience is insisting on paying. Paramount will now have a 4 month trial period to see whether using Redbox decreases its sales to Walmart and if not, it will extend its agreement to five years as has already been done by Sony and Lionsgate. My guess is the other studios will soon follow Paramount's lead. My partner just returned from visiting backwoods Tennessee where the local Walmart had lines waiting to check out movies from Redbox every time he went by there over the course of 3 days. This is too lucrative a national market to ignore. The customer is always right.Universal is painting itself in a corner in its denial of this. This is particularly bad news in light of another article in yesterday's L.A. Times about David Linde and Marc Schmuger's recent slew of misses. Add to that parent company NBC's loss of Ben Silverman and poor ratings, and you will see a massive derailing of what seems to be fast becoming a dinosaur among fledgling grassroots upstarts. But all studios go through a cyclical winning and loosing period....Sydney

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles Panel on Distribution

This Sunday Tristen Tuckfield from The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Dustin Smith from Roadside Attractions and Wyn Tran, a producers rep from The Institution discussed the topic
Film Distribution in a New Age at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles in a panel organized by local attorney Clifford Lo and moderated by yours truly.

Film distribution models and opportunities are constantly evolving. These days people are watching more and more films and videos on the Internet and their mobile devices. Thanks to blogs, web-videos, and social networking sites the online universe is becoming a valuable landscape for artists. However, most filmmakers are still making their films with their eye on the prize: theatrical distribution, DVD and TV sales for which they receive advances and minimum guarantees. The discussion will define a middle ground between the old and the new and attempt to help filmmakers find their footing in this new landscape.

The combination of Wyn, Dusty and Tristen was just right and I know the audience was very happy to have the chance not only to hear them and to speak with them afterward at a reception hosted by DFFLA.

For me, having the chance to see the “new generation” of acquisitions execs was rather eye opening. I don’t recall my generation having such spontaneity and camaraderie, though I know we did have a great esprit de corps which the succeeding generation was pressured out of having too much of because of the great competitiveness to acquire films (at top dollar). Their obviously passionate interest in the business and their sharp articulation of current issues was also very impressive. I learned a lot and have written some notes below about what was discussed at the panel. I hope this will help the reader. BTW, thanks to those who came up to me, took my card, and acknowledged where we met, how they follow my blog, and what their successes and questions were.

Tristen follows many projects from script stage which she finds in labs, etc. And of course all participants attend festivals and markets looking for their newest acquisitions. Though neither Goldwyn or Roadside has prebought projects, there is always an underlying possibility that is could happen because of their early tracking. Wyn too, tends to rep finished film, but his position is more fluid and could include producing along with repping and even distributing and licensing foreign rights.

To arrive at making an offer, everyone in the office must see the film and love it before an acquisition is made. That includes the distribution and financial executives.

Absolutely, all rights are acquired with the companies acquire a film. Sometimes the filmmaker raises P&A money and holds onto other rights and uses Roadside Attraction as a “for-lease” distributor, if all parties agree that a theatrical release is worthwhile strategically. But whatever permution in the acquisition is negotiated, both companies treat all their films as if they acquired them with their own money and put up their own P&A.

The Samuel Goldwyn Company acquires 10 to 12 films a year and releases them theatrically as does Roadside Attractions. Dustin said they would release in various ways, from 3 theaters to 1,000+ depending upon the film and the strategy. They tend to follow the traditional windows in releasing, in contrast to “aggregators” such as IFC which acquires many films, can release them in at least one owned NY based theater (Waverly) and plans put them on their channels. They are weaker on the DVD release front as they are not their own distributor but must sub license the film to other DVD distributors which in turn dilutes the share to be returned to the producer. The numbers on VOD or streaming are held closely and are not tracked so that revenue stream is not quantifiable. But if they are agregating and sell 10,000 films at $3-5 a shot, where they might make some money, the filmmaker makes very little.

Similarly, Magnolia can release VOD and streaming day and date with their theatrical release because they own the Landmark chain of theaters. However, when a Goldwyn or Roadside Attractions releases theatrically, theater owners with whom they must keep a long term relationship, do not want day and date release. This is particularly true of larger releases in the large theater chains who absolutely do not want day and date.

As it is, the producer begins to get a revenue share only after the costs of theatrical release and the marketing costs have been recouped by the distributor

Viral marketing, the use of Facebook and Twitter are in decidedly in place with these companies. Dusty at Roadside does it himself with smaller releases; larger releases use other marketing firms. Goldwyn’s recent letter from the director of ‘Cold Souls’ marked a unique and convincing marketing tool when it was sent out to an aggregated number of emails.

Being that theatrical release is a loss leader in the distribution chain and it not always even the best way to go, the panel forwarned the audience NEVER to take passes personally. It is not the “acquisition person’s fault” if a film is turned down. It is a team decision based on lots of issues besides whether the film is good or not. That point being made, that their film can be very good and still not get picked up for many other reasons known within the company who has a particular mission and scope; having completed a film is a great accomplishment and should be used to open the doors and used as the tool to acquaint the filmmakers with all the appropriate players in acquisitions and distribution as well as to show their talent to secure future commitments for their next moves in their career paths.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New York Times on DIY Distribution

I LOVE BLOGGING!!! The article in NY Times was rather simplistic and rang false on the "tipping the concierge" strategy. However, appearing in the NY Times is a great way to elicit a variety of comments and these are more interesting to me than the article itself. I'm commenting on the comments here....Sydney

Mitchell Block
There is still no "there" there. For the most part the small companies don't have the fiscal resources to do PR, advertising, trailers, promotions, viral marketing and the range of digital and film prints needed to cover the US. The theaters still need decent box office to hold over the titles and few independent films can make $2,000 plus a week.Even if the filmmakers and distributors had the capital to make it work, the films can't attract the audiences. They open small and can't build. The NY Times article was a bit short on the numbers....

3 Dave Kliman
Glen Cove, NY
August 13th, 2009
9:29 am
One reason we need to make the internet at least as fast as is because we want independent film makers to be able to widely distribute their work without cost, or possibly censorious middlemen, to anybody who wants to see it, in the world.current internet speed in usa: up to 100mbit downstream / up to 15mbit upstream.current internet2 speed in usa: up to 10gbit down/up. upgrading to 100gbit down/up.If every user had a 100 gigabit upload speed, they could send an entire movie they produced, that might be 1 gigabyte, in a fraction of a second. THEN we'd be talking freedom of expression.

I like this! Technological advances and democratization go hand in hand.

Washington, D.C.
August 13th, 2009
9:29 am
The NY Times is just now discovering this? Even basic film-making magazines like "Film Comment" and "Filmmaker" have been talking about this for more than 10 years!I consider it slipshod reporting when a major news outlet decides to talk about common knowledge like this. An entertainment industry or business reporter should have known about this trend long ago. I expect the "Washington Post" to jump on bandwagons that are already moving and halfway down the hill, not the "New York Times."

It is old news but perhaps to the readership of NY Times this is new and interesting. Based on the comments, it is of great interest.

Jon Braeley
August 13th, 2009
9:42 am
I think it's important for an independent to go after specialty markets, that's what I do as an independent film maker. I specialize in documentaries on Asian genre and distribute my titles mostly on DVD, direct from my website. It is beginning to work. We have released six film releases in the last eight years. The first two films have now recouped their investment ... yes it took a few years to get there, but now all we have to do is hang in and keep creative! See The key is to believe in your product and never stop creating content. If it is good, there is someone out there who will find it and the word spreads. We have never advertised or marketed. It is all word of mouth. I think that marketing budgets for films are out of control and lead to high expectations and disapointment form the audience. As they say "If it is good, they will come" and you don't need to bribe concierge at film festivals to direct people to your gig. Thats absurd!!

Recouping the investment is the most important aspect of filmmaking and distribution! And being creative constantly is the job of the filmmaker. and yes, to bribe the concierge at film festivals is absurd!

Virginia Miracle
Washington, DC
August 13th, 2009
9:43 am
This is a great article, with one very important ethical issue nestled into it - unethical Word of Mouth Marketing practices:"Internet advocates who flood social networks with admiring comments, sometimes for a fee, sometimes not"Paying shills to flood message boards, blogs, or social networks with "buzz" for pay is not ethical by any cut of industry standards. (see for a very robust discussion) A blind eye has long been turned to the fact that the entertainment has kept up this practice while the rest of the marketing world woke up to it as "astroturfing" (fake grassroots marketing). Empowering potential fans to see the movie and inviting them to spread the word - their honest words - if they see fit in their natural venues online is a great practice. Paying people to seed fake comments or use assumed online identities simply serves to further erode the faith that people put in recommendations they read online.

There's always a certain amount of hype, using only good quotes from reviews on ads, etc. Social networking offers a chance for this as well, but in the end, the good will out.

new york, ny
August 13th, 2009
10:12 am
Writers in the literary world are doing very much the same thing, taking the fate of their work into their own hands and bypassing large publishing houses. Sure, there are costs--but you have complete creative control from start to finish.Best of luck,thefictionist

I love this literary model. If writers can do it, then filmmakers can!

Mike W
cleveland, ohio
August 13th, 2009
10:19 am
It's a great and admirable trend. The only problem is that while decrying its benefits, proponents and fans underestimate the parochialism and simple mindedness of the general population who will continue to flock to "mainstream" cinema and the garbage turned out by the studio system. Most people who go to the theatre don't want to think or don't know how to think, they just want flashy fx, naked breasts, clueless beautiful stars, and unmitigated violence. Or something like that.

This is an ongoing discussion. People want to be told where to go and what to see. Too many choices lead to indecision. When I have 100+ cable channels and 100+ dvds around, I can't decide what to see and usually end up seeing nothing. With an ad in the paper, with a word spoken at a party, I am directed to go see something and I tend to go with that. The larger public goes to see the films with the larger ads.

David Redmon
Tokyo, for now ...
August 13th, 2009
10:34 am
Article is lazy and should have dug deeper into the difficulties and ethos of self-distribution, going below directors who have hundreds and thousands of dollars to release their own film (as indicated in the article). I'd much rather that readers read about those who tried diy, yet failed, and those who accomplished their own goals while starting with just a few hundred dollars in their pockets while paying rent and juggling jobs. If you're gonna publish an article about diy, then at least mimic some of the same gutsy efforts instead of writing about those with publicists and create Spielberg's scripts.

It is a rather lazy and cliched article.

Jason Goldstein, Be The Shoe Productions
St. Louis
August 13th, 2009
10:57 am
This is much more involved than most people realize. Theaters won't disappear, but as they install digital projectors they're creating an infrastructure that's friendly towards DIY filmmakers.It's just a matter of time before one of these DIY projects gains a wide audience.If you haven't seen it already, take a look at It's an online distribution platform launching in November.

Theaters won't disappear, it's true. They offer a communal experience. Mulitiplexes were seen as a way to diversify what types of films would be shown but failed. Instead the blockbusters took over all the screening rooms. Perhaps digital projectors will live up to the promise of more diversification. Already theaters are showing operal projected digitally and live and are having great success finding audiences at off hours.

Peter Vesterbacka
Helsinki, Finland
August 13th, 2009
10:57 am
Great to see the NY Times discover this as well;-) And it's not limited to the US either, there's life in the Rest Of the World as well... Star Wreck, was one of the first, if not the first, full feature length films with Hollywood quality special effects that was relased for free on the net in 2005 already. Star Wreck was also a first as it was done by two guys in Tampere, Finland and a few hundred of their friends around the world. I guess today that would be called crowdsourcing by those in the know;-)Another great example of what is going on is a crowdsourced movie called Snowblind in Germany by Kalle Max Hofmann and Co. The trailer looks very cool for a production with next to no budget, shows what can be done when you involve the community for real in the production. Snowblind can be found here: are living in exciting times for filmmakers everywhere!

The rest of the world is at least 50% of the market and for many non-American films, it is even more. To hear such optimism from Helsinki makes me optimistic as well. European budgets are smaller than American budgets, but American indies' budgets are not studio budgets and perhaps digital exhibition will be profitable for those not needed to recoup 8 digit budgets.

relentless Aaron
atlanta, georgia
August 13th, 2009
11:15 am
EXACTLY. We have figured it out. No more high-end toaster programs and monster AVID computers. No more 4000-track soundstage/studios and reels and reels of film. I just shot my first music video with a ZERO budget. Everything from the location, to the actors to the make-up and clothing stylist was free of charge. Everything else, the equipment, the cameraman, the location, props, and postproduction was me. The million-dollar music video can now be shot for less than 25k The short film can now be produced for less than 10kI have a 3-picture option with Hollywood giant BILL DUKE (see Hollywood Reporter 'Bill Duke/Relentless Aaron', however I'm beginning to lean towards Bill's mention of straight to DVD as a better financial decision.. We'll see. Meanwhile, I'll keep shooting, producing and saving money for me and my clients. Eventually my voice and movement will be understood.

I love this comment. If he's a true artist, his voice and movement will be understood! Guaranteed.

Peter Vesterbacka
Helsinki, Finland
August 13th, 2009
11:53 am
There's also 150+ productions going at Anybody reading this can join the party and contribute to any of the movies being made. It's not just about watching all the way too predictable Hollywood produce anymore, it's about participating in the creation. Crowdsourcing is starting to happen in a big way in filmmaking.

Participation in creation and crowdsourcing are the future of filmmaking and exhibition. Digital 'distribution' is a misnomer. By calling it digital exhibition, the broken model of distribution we now know becomes a thing of the past.

Liza Dittoe
True South Studios. Memphis, TN
August 13th, 2009
11:53 am
Straight to DVD is working brilliantly for us. Started by a passionate businessman and creative filmmakers, True South Studios' style may be the wave of the future. Check out trailers of their films here:

I am so glad to hear this. Not every film must have a theatrical run.

August 13th, 2009
11:54 am
now go read Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail"

And over time with enough word of mouth and visibility, a film can find its audience and recoup its costs.

R Richardson
August 13th, 2009
11:58 am
Self-distribution has been a viable alternative for filmmakers for quite awhile. I wrote about it for indieWIRE five years ago:

Yes the article was a seminal article.

August 13th, 2009
12:01 pm
The DIY method might get a story told but it doesn't pay the bills. The article implies that people make a film and pursue this distribution route because of a commitment to the material and do it for little or no pay. That's admirable, however, film making is a collaborative process that requires skill to produce a quality product. Professionals need to make a living and people seek distribution deals to pay production costs. These deferred compensation arrangements make it very hard for a project to be more than an amateur effort and will remain stuck there until funding methods catch up with advances in distribution.

It can pay the bills if the filmmaker and collaborators can turn their attention to the promotion with as much gusto as they make the movie itself.

Debbie S.
New York
August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
Not only do independent filmmakers have to finance their own films, now we're expected to come up with the money to market and distribute them. What a glamorous business. Meanwhile millions of dollars are spent marketing studio films that are so incoherent, I wonder if anyone read the script before they greenlit the film. It's a case of misallocated resources if you ask me.

Yes, the producer's job is to produce the money. The millions spent by studios is another story entirely and is an example of another problem in the system.

August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
This is a strange article with a very strange focus. I believe in the power of selfpromoting the film by independent filmmakers, but there is a huge difference between cutting out the studio system and distributing the film on the internet or on a limited DVD-release and releasing a film like THE AGE OF STUPID on 400 screens. An independet filmmaker will have huge problems of putting up so much money for making so many DCPs (or transmitting it by satalite - just the costs and coordination of 400 screens costs a lot of money) - so the filmmakers may be out-smarting the Hollywood studio system, but at the same time they are falling into a trap of another system. As the article implies money are being putt up by the films backers - but is there a difference if the backer is a studio or a private investor? They are both in it for the same reason - to make some money.(By the way both the films THE AGE OF STUPID and ANVIL! were sold on the international market by international sales agents - so the DIY idea is not as true at is may seem in this article if the films at least want to make it big in the international market)

International sales are an extremely important component in the whole picture. Anvil has a good sales agent (Jeremy Thomas' The Works International), but I am not sure of what sales it has made. The Age of Stupid has a great sales agent (Celluloid Dreams) who also has devised a way to show the film internationally via downloads. As a partner in The Auteurs they are ahead of the game. Most international sales agents have not ventured down this path (yet)

North Carolina
August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
Why even bother with a theatrical release? Releasing a film on such a small number of screens seems to be more about vanity than getting the largest number of people to see your film. The mentality that a film is not really a legitimate film unless is runs in theaters is still predominant even among the indy producers. Selling the rights to a cable channel or straight to DVD would be far more profitable and lead to a greater audience than showing your film in 50 theaters. The ever increasing number of cable channels are desperate for product to air.

Theatrical releases give a visibility and a prestige of a film. International sales agents won't take on films which have no U.S. theatrical distribution because the other distributors in the world perceive the film as having no upside potential if it did not get U.S. theatrical release. However, it could be profitable with no theatrical release if it is only being released in the U.S. and can recoup its budget in that one market.

San Francisco, CA
August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
Here's a whole other angle on DIY: crowdsourcing. Just read and dugg this article from one of the editors of RealScreen ( about a BBC project called "Digital Revolution." It's a documentary series about web that will comprise, in part, of content FROM the web - or rather, web users. It brings up the concept of getting funding not just from filmmakers themselves, like those highlighted in this article, but from the public. "Crowdfunding" - a method of financing in which individuals are solicited to contribute financial donations to the production - does seem to be the new trend. I guess it's the Kiva of the indie film world.But he does make the point that even in "content-saturated marketplace" there are no guarantees. That is, even if that even if you do get the funding from the public, they're not necessarily going to throw their support into it post-production.

Interesting concept. IndieGoGo is trying crowdfunding, but I'm not sure it will take hold. I wouldn't invest in a film because of it's online hype. When I prebought films professionally, I was never really pleased with the final outcome.

Zoe Golightly
Los Angeles
August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
I can relate with what this article is bringing forward, and with many of the comments. This evolving model of film distribution is certainly not well pathed or established currently, and incredibly challenging. I'm currently working with producers of an independent film - privately screening and DVD distribution all completely independently.We have found Amazon works really well - our sales have been incredible via Amazon solely. And working the social media marketing strategies is key.Happy to help or share our story with others looking for guidance. You can contact me via the website.Oh and of course anyone looking for an incredible indie film to watch this weekend - get 'Spiritual Warriors' on :)

I'm thrilled with this commentary. Especially as I recently sold my company FilmFinders to IMDb which is owned by Amazon. I agree they have a really smart model. If they can beat YouTube and iTunes or hold their own, then they will be the leaders in the field. What a great company!

Los Angeles, CA
August 13th, 2009
2:37 pm
It is such a struggle when filmmakers have great work to show but have a hard time distributing it. Having worked for a non-profit documentary company for over a year, I understand the motivation necessary to get viewers and support for newly released films. I think people would like our work ( if anyone is interested) - but the only way to find out is by using different forms of online distribution.

It's so very hard for filmmakers! And making the film is only half of it. Finding distribution is when the hard work really begins.

Jim Latham
Los Angeles
August 13th, 2009
2:42 pm
I'm glad to see there's so much going on that gives filmmakers more and better options for producing and distributing their work. There are a lot of interesting ideas and issues in this article as well as the responses to it. My own blog focuses on indie film marketing and distribution ( and this article has inspired me to look more closely at some of those ideas. One thing that hasn't been discussed much here is the often poor quality of so many independently produced films today. Whether because of limited material resources or talent or other factors, there are a lot of films today seeking distribution that frankly don't deserve it, at least not traditional theatrical distribution. Still, I'm glad that even the lamest amateur film can potentially be seen online, and, who knows, maybe even find its own audience niche.

Well poor quality, lame and amateur films are everywhere. Even the majors make them. Maybe 10% of any craft reaches the level of art. Popular art is not easy to make either. But if the subject matter is of interest, there is always some sement of an audience to be found online at least.

Los Angeles, CA
August 13th, 2009
8:00 pm
I've seen a great number of documentary films that have premiered at Sundance, Toronto & SXSW lately via streaming video on Netflix, and SnagFilms. If they weren't available online, I would rent the DVDs. A lot of them have not been picked up yet or else their theatrical presence has been too limited. If you take a look, there are actually more feature-length documentaries available to watch online (Hulu gave it its own featured menu button) than any other genre...Surfwise, Frontrunners, Summercamp!, Stagedoor, We Are Wizards, Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Helvetica, Super Size Me, Confessions of a Superhero, The Future of Food...the list goes on and on. There IS an audience out there for these films - and believe it or not - they're not just "doc people", just people interested in simple, instant entertainment. It's the reality TV generation. But the trend to a successful commercial documentary is the subject matter. Social issue and political documentaries are definitely important, but would you really pay $10 on a Friday night to watch talking heads, war footage and or a depressing exposé on the state of our economy? We have PBS, NPR and CNN on a weeknight for that. Movies - no matter if they're indies, blockbusters or even the dreaded doc, were originally made for escapism and entertainment. I think more film festivals and distributors should think about that.

This comment is so relevent to docs today. For such comments I repeat: I love blogging. The intelligent thinking that goes on in response to news and opinions (except on some political blogs where the comments are so venomous and hateful) delights me.

The above comments far outstrip the article itself for their interesting insights. The article itself is, as one commenter says, quite simplistic and old news. But appearing in NY Times for readers outside of the film business is a good thing.

Don't forget the U.S. market is roughly 50% of the world market. The international sales agents are also scouring Toronto and other festivals looking to represent films to distributors in the rest of the world (which, as I said, accounts for around 50% of the revenues at this point). They are also facing such hard and slim returns that they cannot offer filmmakers advances or minimum guarantees on films because they are not getting them from the rest of the world's distributors. The films cannot recoup their budgets from the advances or minimum guarantees anymore.

Just as so many filmmakers are now paying for their own marketing in U.S. distribution with DIY, (albeit these costs are much less than traditional costs to buy national TV and huge newspaper ads and billboards like the majors do), now I have heard an international sales agent seriously suggest that the filmmakers pay the marketing costs to the sales agents rather than expect the sales agents to pay them!

Producers are having tough times raising production budgets and now must consider adding marketing and distribution costs as well not only for the U.S. but perhaps even for the rest of the world. However, if they hold onto the distribution rights they can recoup much more than when they relied on distributors. But this only works in their own territory (U.S. here) because they don't know the ins and outs of 60 other international territories where their films optimally will be distributed....Sydney

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finally!!! Bob Berney and Bill Pohlad Announce Their New Distribution Company

Finally!!! What we have all been waiting for, in Cannes, in Berlin before that and ever since closing down Picturehouse. The Indie Industry is giving a big sigh of relief to find the best among us is back in the game. Congratulations. Here is their official unexpurgated and unedited press release...Sydney:

Berney & Pohlad Unveil Apparition, Align with Sony
by Brian Brooks (Updated 4 hours, 15 minutes ago)


New Company to release “The Tree of Life” by Terrence Malick and “Bright Star” by Jane Campion

NEW YORK—August 6, 2009—Bill Pohlad and Bob Berney have launched a new motion picture distribution company, Apparition, which will acquire and release films. The new company’s initial slate includes The Tree of Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, and Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed Bright Star. The new banner has also formed an output relationship with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group (SPWAG) for all domestic ancillary rights.

Pohlad and Berney created the new theatrical releasing company to be a fiercely independent, artist friendly distributor, one that champions the highest quality films and markets them with unmatched passion and commitment.

“Bill and I are creating a company where the art of filmmaking is truly a priority,” says Bob Berney. “The birth of a new company that works in concert with artists while employing creative marketing strategies is a winning combination and is the essence of Apparition.”

“The goal here was to create a company that can be a real home for filmmakers. A company that has a sensitivity and passion for the work as well as an ability to bring it to the marketplace with ingenuity and creativity.” said Pohlad. “Bob already has a reputation for having those qualities, and it was his involvement that really made this happen.”

“Working with filmmakers like Terrence Malick and Jane Campion right out of the gate is a great indication of the kinds of relationships that we hope this company will be built on,” said Berney. “And our relationship with Sony is the same. They are a bold company with tremendous assets and reach. But they also share our belief in championing extraordinary product.”

Also joining Apparition are Dan Lange, Bill Thompson and John Lange, in distribution; Sara Rose, in acquisitions and Jeanne R. Berney, Kirk Iwanowski and Molly Albright in marketing.

Written and directed by Academy Award nominee Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life" is a mystical epic starring Academy Award nominated actor Brad Pitt and two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn, and introduces Jessica Chastain. The film tells the story of a family who must come to terms with a devastating loss. In doing so, they discover life’s most important lessons of unselfish love and forgiveness. The film is co-produced by Pohlad, Sarah Green, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Grant Hill.

Written and directed by Academy Award winner Jane Campion, "Bright Star" is a riveting drama based on the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25. Ben Whishaw (The International, I’m Not There) and Abbie Cornish (Candy, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) star as Keats and Brawne, respectively. The film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, was produced by Jan Chapman and Caroline Hewitt, and will open September 18.

Bob Berney has been a preeminent force in the international film world for more than two decades, bringing a multitude of smart, challenging and entertaining films to the screen. In the past decade, he has founded and operated some of the key film companies dedicated to releasing independent productions, including Picturehouse, Newmarket Films, and IFC Films. The films he has shepherded include La Vie en Rose, Pan’s Labyrinth, A Prairie Home Companion, Mongol, The Passion of the Christ, Monster, Whale Rider, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Memento.

Pohlad has established himself as an esteemed producer of innovative, independent films, through his production company, River Road Entertainment. Pohlad’s remarkable credits combine critical acclaim and commercial success, and include Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion, and Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. Pohlad recently produced the eye-opening documentary Food, Inc., currently in release and has completed principal photography on Doug Liman’s Fair Game, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, and is currently in production on The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.
# # #

How About Nora Ephron’s New Film?

I don't understand all the Nora Ephron bashing, as led by Nikki Finke.

"Julie and Julia" was a wonderful pean to two women finding their place in the world.

The saddest note is that Julia's pain about not having a child is never assuaged by the appearance of her true spiritual daughter. I wonder why she did not accept the tribute Julie offered her. Was she too old or was she in fact unconscious of the fact that this was her spiritual daughter? In the end, this is what gave the movie its pathos. I also wonder if Nikki's dislike of Nora has deeper meaning. But hey, this is Hollywood. We thrive off vitriol.

One of My Favorite Films In Cannes

Not that I saw so many films in Cannes. But this Competition feature "Map of the Sounds of Tokyo" by Spanish director Isabel Coixet remains with me and so many others have already disappeared from my memory. This story of love, vengeance and mourning in the Japanese megacity brings to mind themes from "Last Tango In Paris", the place of sex in the face of death, eros and thanatos and our fragile humanity in dealing with life as survivors.

Thanks to
Cinema Without Borders for this account of the film by Coixet:

Coixet recalls the genesis of her film: "Films, like tunes or poems, spring from strange encounters, from odd associations that can be completely incongruent but full of magic. In the case of Map of the Sounds of Tokyo, I 'saw'the story (I don’t want to sound like some kind of visionary, but this is how I felt it happen) at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. I suppose the smells of fresh tuna, seaweed and oysters, the shouting of the auctioneers, the scraping and shuffling of thousands of fish boxes dragged across the market floor and the peculiar effects of the fluorescent lighting at four o’clock in the morning had a great deal to do with it. Or the stony face of the girl neatly hosing the floor who was so adamant in her refusal to let me photograph her, showing a determination that is unusual for Japan."
"I knew I would tell this story of a woman – a hard, solitary, mysterious, wounded woman – who leads a double life: a fish market worker who cleans, hauls crates and occasionally carries out jobs as a hit-woman. And the story of a man, whose obsession are sounds, and who is silently in love with that woman, even though he knows that the very most he can expect from her is the sound of her breath, the sound of her heels down an empty alley and her conversations during her meetings with a man, of Spanish origin, towards whom she experiences an attraction that endangers the life she has led up until then as a loner. To this initial idea, my “vision” or whatever you want to call it, I added the story of a man who is unable to cope with the loss of his daughter, and is on a blind search for revenge that eventually leads to a tragic end."
"This is how Map of the Sounds of Tokyo was born. I was also influenced by the fascination I feel for contemporary Japanese culture and the atmosphere I find in the novels of Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto as well as by my unconcealed addiction to wasabi and the almost tangible vibrations emanating from Tokyo during the night: a mixture of expectation, mystery, darkness and tenderness that leaves an indelible mark."
In 2005, Isabel Coixet was a member of the 18-filmmaker team - which also included Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles, and the Coen brothers – which produced the collective project "Paris, Je T’aime",in which each director explored a different Paris arrondissement, or district.

Audience Award Winner at Palm Springs International ShortFest

"Dandelion Dharma", a Veronica DiPippo/Marc Aramian film, won the award for Audience Favorite Live Action Short at the 2009 Palm Springs International Shortfest. The film, written and directed by Women In Film MemberVeronica DiPippo, was a production of DiPippo's Crunch Entertainment. WIF Member Christine La Monte received credits as Producer and Executive Producer. The 2009 Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market was held from June 23-29, and is the largest short film festival and market in North America. 315 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 2,200 filmmaker submissions available in the film market. CLICK HERE to view the trailer. Congratulations to Veronica and Christine!

New Thread: Women in Movies

My blogs are often created as responses to requests of clients seeking research or to my own interests. I was recently put on the board of the new website and my blog on that site will be posted here as well because it is hitting that all important demographic: Woman.

Here is the first:
I am going to blog about women in film...starting with Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" which is bound for Academy Awards.

If you want to follow this blog, also sign up for free to because that's where you can find out more about the names here. If you are a film professional, you might sign up ($100/ year) to where you'll get even more information with contact information.
So, Kathryn Bigelow has been an actress, is a writer, director and producer. A list of films she's directed (from IMDb of course) is here.

The Hurt Locker (2008)
Mission Zero (2007)
"Karen Sisco" (1 episode, 2004) - He Was a Friend of Mine (2004) TV episode
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)... aka K*19: The Widowmaker (USA: poster title)... aka K-19 - Showdown in der Tiefe (Germany)... aka K-19: Terreur sous la mer (Canada: French title)
The Weight of Water (2000)... aka Le poids de l'eau (France)
"Homicide: Life on the Street" (3 episodes, 1998-1999)... aka "Homicide" (USA: informal short title) - Lines of Fire (1999) TV episode - Fallen Heroes: Part 2 (1998) TV episode - Fallen Heroes: Part 1 (1998) TV episode
Strange Days (1995)
"Wild Palms" (1993) TV mini-series (hour 4)
Point Break (1991)
Blue Steel (1989)
New Order: Substance (1989) (V) (video "Touched By The Hand Of God")
Near Dark (1987)
The Loveless (1982)... aka Breakdown
The Set-Up (1978)
Her films are very male in that they deal with action, hard core crime, and in "The Hurt Locker", with war - this time in Iraq. After that absolutely fantastic film, you never need to see another movie on Iraq. I looked hard for the woman's touch and maybe found it in a rather out of place scene where one of the soldiers sneaks into a private home and the woman of the house yells at him until he leaves like a dog with his tail between his legs.

It looks like Bigelow is bound for the Oscars which brings to mind someone else's blog which I am going to post here as well. Anne Thompson in Thompson on Hollwood (TOH!) in her article (see Ladies First) says:

"If Kathryn Bigelow were to be nominated for best director, she would become only the fourth woman - and second American woman - ever to receive that honor. If “The Hurt Locker” were to be nominated for best picture, it would become only the seventh best picture directed (or co-directed) by a woman. And for the first time ever, she could have some female competition. Back in indieWIRE‘s post-Cannes awards check-in, we noted the first inclinations of this fantastic potential. Jane Campion (one of the previous three female director nominees) seems to be in good shape for contention after the Cannes screenings of her “Bright Star", and Lone Scherfig’s “An Education” was still enjoying the promise that met it at the Sundance Film Festival.

Both “Star” and “Education” - set for release in September and October, respectively - continue to seem like likely fixtures in the awards race. And they could possibly be joined by a few as-yet-unseen female-helmed films, from Mira Nair’s “Amelia” to Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest” to Nancy Meyer’s (who has supassed Penny Marshall as the highest grossing woman director) as-yet-untitled (It's Complicated) but promisingly cast (Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin!) new film. That makes for six strong female-directed possibilities - not to mention a slew of female-centric possibilities like Rob Marshall’s “Nine” and Lee Daniels’s “Precious” (oddly enough, both directed by gay men) - in these unchartered ten best picture-nominee waters. And wouldn’t that make good on the Academy’s suggestion that the fattened shortlist would “broaden the possibilities” of Oscar?

At this point, it would be surprising if five films that have already screened either theatrically or in festivals—“The Hurt Locker,” “Bright Star,” “An Education,” “Precious” and “Up”—did not end up serious contenders for Oscar’s top ten. That would make for half the list being filled with three female directed-films, a film directed by an African-American (which has never made the shortlist), and an animated film (which has happened just once in 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast”)."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

International Film Festival Summit Meeting

IFFS which was founded in 2002 by Waco Hoover and Todd Brockman held an Advisory Committee Dinner July 27th in L.A. to discuss action on its commitment to promote and strengthen the global film festival industry through education, networking, dissemination of information and the cultivation of high standards for the industry. Attending were myself, Peter Belsito, Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Ian Birnie (of the recently decimated LACMA Film Program), Bonnie Voland (Int'l Marketng & Publicity, IM Global), Mike Jones (writer and reporter IndieWire), Rose Kuo (Artistic Director, AFI FEST) and Laurie Kirby (Ambassador Media). It has an impressive roster of advisors and was coming out of a Paris-based summit whose attendees included some of the most important festival leaders such as Marco Mueller. Its 6th anniversary summit will be in Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood Resort. It is planning its inaugural Certification Training Program and has a confirmed faculty and the class is already 50% booked. They are also planning an educational webinar series and a monthly newsletter with contributing editors. An open discussion was held to cover what they might be missing, what they are doing correctly, what they can do better and what its membership can do. It was definitely worth attending.


A press release sent out by the fundraising/promotion site, IndieGoGo, and the documentary film site, SnagFilms, announced a partnership where select IndieGoGo works-in-progress are featured on the SnagFilms site. Three works have been on the site since mid-July and according to the release havereceived over half a million impressions on SnagFilms and promotional partner sites.Those three projects are:Connected, by Tiffany Shlain - Connected takes audiences on a stream-of-consciousness ride through the interconnectedness of humankind.Pelotero, by Jon Paley - A Dominican baseball story.Tapestries of Hope, by Michaelene Christini Risly - Two activists from two corners of the world take on a government and an urban myth to protect young girls from rape and abuse.More films will be added periodically and filmmakers interested to join theprogram should e-mail to learn more.

Think Outside The Box Office: Film Distribution in the Digital EraGlobal

Jon Reiss, independent film director (Better Living Through Circuitry, Cleopatra's Second Husband) and regular contributor to Filmmaker Magazine, recently released his latest film Bomb It! using a hybrid distribution strategy. Following the latest incarnation of this project (a Bomb It! channel on Babelgum, launching in August of 2009), Jon will be releasing a book about his experiences navigating the world of DIY and hybrid film distribution.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX (OFFICE): The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution in the Digital Era is aimed at filmmakers in various stages of the production/post production process. The book will serve as an extensive field guide for navigating the world of independent film distribution.

Learn How To:
- Strategize, budget and build a team for your film's distribution- Identify and connect with your audience
- DIY your theatrical release
- Negotiate and Work with a DVD distributor and still release your DVD yourself
- Navigate digital distributors, aggregators, and the world of digital rights- Market your film on the web- Use Social Networks for driving traffic to your website and webstore
- Monetize film festivals, DVD sales, and digital rights- DIY your publicity and Marketing
- Use the old-school publicity and marketing machine to your benefit
- Create live theatrical events for your film and using those events to create awareness
- Pilot the merging television/cable and digital markets.....and MUCH MORE!THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX OFFICE will be available for sale on shelves (New York and Los Angeles) as well as Jon's website starting September 18th, 2009.

For more information, please visit or

Monday, August 3, 2009

Calls to Filmmakers for Great Events of the Fall

You have new projects in development or production that need additional financing?
From January 27th to February 7th 2010, the 39th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will take place. During the festival, the 27th edition of the INTERNATIONAL CO-PRODUCTION MARKET CINEMART will be held from Sunday 31st January to Wednesday 3rd February.

The CineMart is open for feature films with theatrical and international potential in all stages of production, from script to rough cut. A project should not have been presented at any other market or festival, except when linked to one of CineMart’s partnering organisations.
Check all the regulations on how to apply on
Download the entry form
Do not miss the occasion to make successful contacts!

The third edition of the DUBAI FILM CONNECTION CO-PRODUCTION MARKET (DFC) will take place from 11-15 December 2009, during the 6th Dubai International Film Festival®.APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR ARAB FILMMAKERS’ PROJECTS: 15th AUGUST 2009!

The DFC is open for documentary and feature film projects that are currently in development or works-in-progress where principal photography is completed and the project needs additional financing to finish. The projects must be from directors of Arab nationality or origin (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan) with a producer attached. The producer can be of any nationality.

The DFC notably includes one-on-one meetings between the selected director/producer teams and key industry professionals, individualised meeting agendas, networking events and industry panels that enable all participants to have a productive experience.For more information, please check
Download the online application form

2009-07-10 – 9:30
The INTERNATIONAL FINANCING FORUM (IFF) 2009, presented by Ontario Media Development Corporation, will take place on September 13, & 14, 2009 during Toronto International Film Festival®.
Canadian and International feature film producers are invited to apply to participate in the IFF. Registration is free but competitive, with final selection to participate based on company track record and the suitability of projects.Eligible applicants must have at a minimum, one producer credit on a theatrically released feature by a recognizable distributor, and a market oriented project in development that requires international co-production and/or financing partners.
Download the International Financing Forum (IFF) Application Form, visit our website at or contact Jan Nathanson at

IFF is a feature film co-financing event at the Toronto International Film Festival® that brings together selected international and Canadian producers developing English language projects to do business in a relaxed atmosphere of brokered meetings and networking opportunities with international sales agents, distributors, funders, agents, and executive producers. IFF 2008 brought producers together with representatives from 49 North Media (USA), Aramid Capital Partners (UK), Backup Films (France), Bavaria Film International (Germany), Big Beach (USA), Celluloid Dreams (France), Cinetic Media (USA), Endeavour Talent Agency (USA), Film4 (UK), Fortissimo Films (Hong Kong/Netherlands), HanWay Films (UK), IFC Entertainment (USA), Kinowelt International GmbH (Germany), Magnolia Pictures (USA), The Match Factory (Germany), Maximum Films International (Canada), Overture Films (USA), Paramount Vantage (USA), Participant Media (USA), TrustNordisk (Denmark), William Morris Agency (USA).
Producers selected to the Forum willl benefit from a 40% discount on Industry Pass to Toronto Film Festival!

2009-06-15 – 12:41

Strategic Partners is Canada’s premiere co-production event, offering an intimate and effective one stop shop for co-producing with Canada and the world, taking place during the 29th Atlantic Film Festival opening weekend, from September 18-20.

Although the SP Application deadline has passed, please contact immediately if you wish to submit a late application or call Laura MacKenzie at 1-902-420-4322 as soon as possible. This year promises to be the best yet with the spotlight shining brightly on Germany and Ireland. These 2009 spotlight countries and delegates from around the world will join the anchor country delegations from the US, UK, and across Canada in Halifax, Nova Scotia this September.
To access all that Strategic Partners has to offer your application must be submitted by July 13, 2009. The application form and guidelines for film & TV producers, and registration form for non-producers are now available online. Click here!