Subtitles | YouTube | Blip | .m4v (iPod) | .mp3 | .flv This video was a panel moderated by Liz Rosenthal and included Lance Weiler, Jeremy Nathan and Matt Hanson as we all spoke about our thoughts on the future of distribution. Despite end of the day exhaustion, some good audience questions sparked an interesting dialog that closed Power to the Pixel on a bright vision for the future.One of the topics discussed was festivals. The basic point being made was that they are no different then any other distributor of a film in that they should provide revenue and audience information to the content owner. Lance pointed out with distributing Head Trauma he used the LA Film Festival as a PR platform for to pre-hype a self-distribution theatrical release he had lined up to take place after the film festival. Needless to say he didn’t need to find a distributor at the festival and instead simply focused on putting the film in-front of audiences and reviewers and having a good time at the premiere. He also used the fact that he was giving his film a theatrical release to leverage a DVD retail release with Heretic Films which he structured so it would kick off one month after the theatrical release began.Jeremy Nathan said in south africa he’s made money from festivals and gotten information on audience members. Susan and I explained that hasn’t been our experience and outlined how we wanted to see film festivals evolve.
We’ve been thinking about this for a while and have decided that there are three things that can make todays film festival world be more accommodating to filmmakers.
1. Get a cut of what they collect from screenings.
2. Get information about who buys tickets to see our film and if possible who liked the film. (festivals usually poll audience for audience award.)
3. Get them to buy some DVDs to sell after the screenings and they’ll get half the proceeds.
4. Don’t charge us submission fees.
In exchange for this we’ll notify our audience base in the area of the screening and send them all info about the screening. That way if a film comes to a festival they bring their audience with them rather then simply hoping the festival will have the right audience for the film. Indie films are so all over the place that the chance of a festival having the right audience is pretty low anyway
But in the future I think film festivals should be just like any other distributor. There is a license on a film that allows others to monetize the film. So they do what ever curating they want. Maybe have a 1000 people help program the festival, maybe have only 1 person program it all. Whatever they want. Then they make a play list and assign the play list to different theaters and each theater gets essentially a video podcast that pulls down HD versions of the films to say a mac mini or whatever is playing back the digital films. Then they can post an event which phones home to the movies home base online and then anyone in the area who had bookmarked the film saying they want notifications when it’s screening would find out. A film festival could even publish a list of 100 films they’ve narrowed down and let the festival attendees help decide between them or even base the prime time selection slots on this information by having the audience pre-bookmarking the ones they are most interested in seeing on the big screen.
So the idea of a film only being available in film festivals and then going to theaters then DVD then VOD then TV then internet is obviously going to pass. It’s just going to become available when it’s done. But as a film starts to pick up traction film festivals will continue to be a good place to find audiences that can lead to finding more audiences so in the end, festivals can be a good thing. All they have to do is what everyone else has to do, evolve.