PJ Raval offers 5 tips to keep in mind the independent distribution game.
It’s true. Distribution is a hard road for any independent film and perhaps more so for a documentary – and even more so for one about gay seniors and the aging community. Despite these odds, we’ve been feeling good about our distribution strategy, and we continue to gear up for our May 30th theatrical release. However, one person speaking that day could potentially make me feel like I made all the wrong decisions – John Sloss. I assume for many of you reading this John Sloss needs no introduction. But for the few that do, John Sloss is a lawyer, an executive producer, founder of Cinetic Media and co-founder of FilmBuff, media maverick and “dealmaker.” To say Sloss is a film industry heavyweight would be an understatement. So sitting through a conversation about distribution moderated by #ArtistServices’ Chris Horton (also former assistant to Sloss at Cinetic) was truly an informative session. But a few key points in particular from the conversation struck close to home and are worth mentioning:
Sloss and Horton reminisced about the 2006 Sundance Film Festival when a “little” film they were representing called Little Miss Sunshine sold within 24 hours of its world premiere, making one of the biggest sales in the history of the Festival to this day. As the two recounted a colorful story of a physical sacrifice for the sale (just ask Horton about an odd scar on his hand) it became clear they were speaking fondly of a fun and fleeting time. Not only are those days of feverish sales over, so are the dollar amounts. But it’s better to look back fondly than look forward disappointed. Times change and so does distribution. Takeaway: stories of big sales are just that – stories, and no longer a reality for most filmmakers.
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