DIFF Daily 2011

The ‘How To’ of Selling Films

Dec 12,2011 - 08:07 PM

BY BADAR SALEM

‘If you made a film and it became a success, it means that you have a good film, but if it didn’t work out, it means that you have a bad sales agent,’ said Frederic Corvez of Urban Distribution International, during the How To Sell Films panel, which took place at DIFF on Saturday.

Corvez told the audience that filmmakers and producers should take their time when choosing their sales agents. ‘You have to cast the sales company you want to work with, know how they do business, which markets they’re focusing on, what is their strategy, target …’ he explained. ‘Go with the sales agent you feel comfortable with, the one who understand you’re project and feel as passionate about your film as you are.’

The panel discussed different topics related to how to choose your sales agent, the kinds of deals you should look for, how to explore the sales opportunities in the digital age and how to super-charge your film’s potential.

During the session, American producer and filmmaker Mynette Louie shared her first-hand experience as a filmmaker and how she handles the sales and distributing aspects of her first film.

‘I finished my film in 2009, not a good year to sell your film given the financial crash of 2008. I had a sales agent, but few were interested in selling a small film with a cast of American, Asian or unknown actors,’ she recalled. ‘I decided to take things into my own hand. I took my film to around 50 festivals to promote the film. We also sold the film on DVDs during those festivals and showed it in theatrical art houses around the country, which helped us in getting some reviews in newspapers and magazines.’

Louie noted that her efforts finally paid off and she got distribution deals for local and international markets.

Kevin Iwashina of Preferred Content was impressed with Louie’s experience, he argued filmmakers to seek the help of sales agents. ‘As a filmmaker you have to listen to the market place, the market dedicates the filmmaking values, you need to listen to professionals,’ he added. ‘Each film is different from the other, and what works for one film may not work for another. That’s why you need people with experience on board to guide you and put your film on the right track.’

The speakers also encouraged filmmakers to keep TV and the internet in mind when they talk money with distributors.

Ted Baracos of Reed MIDEM offered the audience some tips on how to sell their films. ‘Make non-exclusive deals on a variety of platforms and don’t underestimate the potential to sell independent films to TV channels. And remember to target the right channel as per your film genre, comedy, horror, romance…’

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