New movie distribution methods explored at DIFF 2009
Tue Dec 15,2009
The traditional methods of movie distribution are giving way to new and exciting hybrid models that present filmmakers with exciting opportunities, delegates attending DIFF 2009 heard this week.
The Industry Panel: “Distribution in Motion” was attended by Scillla Andreen from IndieFlix; Ryan Kampe, from Visit Films, and Andy Whittaker, representing Dogwoof, and moderated by Elizabeth Radshaw from Hot Docs.
Scilla Andreen said IndieFlix offers filmmakers a “multi-platform distribution”, with the chance to capitalise on up to nine distinct revenue streams, while keeping hold of their rights. “We are the new model – I think we will become the new standard.”
She noted how the profile of the internet has changed from a place of anonymity to one of transparency – “although the reality is that in online distribution, there’s not a tonne of money right now. We are all still trying to figure it out.”
Getting films out to audiences is naturally critical, and for Andreen, that means not being afraid to combine old and new ways of thinking. “We started showing films in local Starbucks outlets – sometimes we would get 110 people showing up,” she said. “Just carry a clipboard with you – it sounds so elementary and free, but it’s very effective.”
Ryan Kampe said Visit Films, a North American general sales agent, works with filmmakers the world over, from Iceland and Argentina, to Serbia and Singapore. He said regional filmmakers had to decide whether to make films for the Arab diaspora, or those which will only appeal to the art house or festival crowd. “Ultimately distributors are looking for films which will get to a number of people,” he said. “The test should be ‘will a guy in Norway watch my film?’”
Andy Whittaker works for London-based Dogwoof, specialists in social issue-led film distribution, be it food industry themes or climate change, with strong emphasis on documentaries. “Film has this amazing power to change things, as we heard at the Cultural Bridge panel,” he said.
During the question and answer session, Soniya Kirpalani from Sprocket Science, relayed her positive experiences, as someone who knew little about the industry a year ago, and has now secured a number of deals and tapped into funding opportunities. “There’s lots of hope for newcomers.”
DIFF 2009, which runs until December 16, is screening more than 168 films this week. DIFF 2009 is held in association with Dubai Studio City. Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Pearl, Emirates Airline and Madinat Jumeirah are the principal sponsors of DIFF and the event is supported by Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture).