Paula Bernstein recounts the advice from the movers and shakers of SXSW.
Amazingly, I spent five days at SXSW and didn’t see one movie. But it was far from a waste of time. Sitting in on keynote sessions and panel discussions, I came away with a broad sense of how technological advances and the internet have expanded opportunities for filmmakers who no longer have to rely on the traditional gatekeepers to pursue their projects.
After two years in beta, VHX, the direct-to-fan distribution platform, opened to the public during SXSW and all artists are now be able to sell their work directly to fans from their own websites. VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson said he was trying to get the word out to filmmakers that they don’t need to wait for a distributor to acquire their film.
“Filmmakers at Sundance are used to the model of the last 35 years which is I make a great film. I sell it to somebody else and they do all the legwork. That’s where we’re embracing the shift in the model where you can do it yourself,” Wilkinson told Indiewire.
While fledgling filmmakers continue to seek advice at SXSW about how they can break into the industry, hoping for some easy to follow answer, the panelists all emphasized that there are no rules. In the case of Casey Neistat and Jason Blum, they both attained success with commercial projects only to realize that they’d rather be in control of their own destiny. In both cases, they redirected their careers to follow their passion — to great results.
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