1+1=2 How To Get Distribution For Your Film

Okay, this isn't the only answer, and I don't have the energy to do a comprehensive list, yet... but as I sorted through my various AM emails, a saw a common theme in two of them.

One: A B-Side email blast reminded me that Todd Sklar's Range Life Fall NW Tour kicked off last weekend. I have found Todd's taking-it-to-the-people traveling film fest in a van truly exciting. If I could do that list of exciting developments in the truly free ring this would be one of those things. I for one was particularly intrigued to see that MYSTERY TEAM was one of the films in the tour.
Two: In an overview of Brit DIY for The Guardian today, the UK DIY hit MORRIS is compared with other unseen DIY films and it is pointed out:
What saved Morris was a trip to the countryside: they organised a tour around the village halls of south-west England, where their film became a word-of-mouth hit. That allowed its makers to bypass the distributors and go straight to the exhibitors. Morris was finally picked up by the Picturehouse cinema chain, which agreed to roll it out on wider release, beginning last week.

It makes me wonder what would happen if a filmmaker, either on their own or working with a grassroots community film organizer, acted immediately after hearing they were invited to a major festival to book their film in small community non-theatrical venues without waiting for that never-to-arrive distribution offer -- you know: instead, take it directly to the people and prove the film's playability. In fact, as Todd has shown such playability with his own film BOX ELDER, even without that major festival acceptance.
The math here adds up: Know your audience. Bring the film to that right audience. Don't subscribe to a passive discovery process. You are the fuel. Light a match.
Additional Note: via Facebook, director Tom Quinn informed us:
"We just booked a week-long theatrical run in Philadelphia through Landmark for The New Year Parade and are going to see how that community-based release works for us. Will keep you posted!"

Jon Reiss’ new book Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era


Although Jon's book is not set to be released until November 2009 if you happen to find that charming man around IFP's Independent FIlm Week in NYC -- and you have some money in your hand -- you might just be able to get your paws on an advanced copy!

Most of the following is taken from the press release, but, it is still all true (not like some other stuff):
"If you’re only going to read one book about filmmaking in the new millennium, this should be it." Kathleen McInnis Festival Programmer, Strategist and Publicist
Covering everything from theatrical, non-theatrical, semi-theatrical, alternative theatrical, grassroots/community, publicity, live events, to DVD, fulfillment, affiliates, print ads, educational, t-shirts, boxed sets, web marketing, sponsorships, to VOD, download to own, download to rent, streaming, to Web 2.0, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, Babelgum, Amazon, blogging, tagging, webisodes, to crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, transmedia, release winows, audience identification and targeting, – the book is your guide on how to use all the new tools available to you, and I know, because I wrote the forward.

If you don't know Jon, check out B-side's interview with him, but whatever kind of content you create – feature film, short, webisodes, transmedia, You Tube – this book will be invaluable.
The independent film community is a buzz with the collapse of the traditional independent film distribution model. No longer can filmmakers expect their films to be acquired and released nationally. But just as the digital revolution created a democratization of the means of production, a new hybrid model of distribution has created a way for independent filmmakers to take control of the means of distribution. This hybrid approach is not just DIY or Web based it combines the best techniques from each distribution arena, old and new.
Pioneering filmmaker and author Jon Reiss spoke with countless filmmakers, distributors, publicists, web programmers, festival programmers and marketing experts to create this ultimate guide to film distribution and marketing for the digital era.
My blurb and I mean it with 100% sincerity:
Open this book! Eat up every morsel Reiss provides. Internalize it and make it your second skin. It is not a question of “just doing it”: we need to educate each other, tend to one another’s children, and inoculate our villages against the viruses of despair and isolation. Reiss translates the formula for world peace to apply to Truly Indie Film Distribution and beyond!


200 copies of the preview edition will be available only at personal book signings/appearances in September and October:
Jon Reiss will be appearing:
Sept 22nd Independent Film Week, IFP Conference New York
Book Signing 7pm to 8pm in the lobby outside Haft Auditorium immediately following the panel – STATE OF DISTRIBUTION – THE CURRENT & FUTURE INDIE MODEL 5:30pm-7:00pm at Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), Haft Auditorium 27th and 7th Avenue
September 24th DV Expo Pasadena Convention Center
Book Signing 12pm - 1pm Jon will be teaching two seminars between my filmmaker career development seminars: Top 10 Tips: Career Development in 2 sessions 10:30am – 12 noon and 1:30pm to 3pm
October 2nd: Vancouver International Film Festival Forum
Book Signing 2:15 - 2:45 pm and 5-6pm in the Lobby of the Vancouver International Film Centre, 1181 Seymour Street That day, Jon will be on the panel: 21st Century Doc Distribution Strategies 1:00 - 2:15pm.
October 11th: FIND Filmmaker Forum Jon will be on the Distribution Case Studies panel 9am - 10:30 am at the Director's Guild of America, Los Angeles
For more information and to receive a $5 off coupon and be able to buy the book on day one of wide release in November go to:www.jonreiss.com/blog