SXSW Panel: Festribution

Festribution: Film Festival and Distribution

Moderator Sean Farnel: Proprietor, Ripping Reality Panelists: Chris Horton: Associate Director of Artist Services, Sundance Institute Nancy Schaffer: Executive Director /Senior Vice President, Tribeca Film Festival/ Tribeca Enterprises Jason Janego: Co-President, Radius (a division of the Weinstein Company) A few words from Chris Horton:
  • How do we apply our brand (aka Sundance) to help our filmmakers?
    • Sundance is a non-profit, Artists Services enables self distribution with Sundance branding
  • Connecting artists to audiences in emerging creative platforms
  • Sundance curated page on Kickstarter has 65 projects that netted 1.5 million (see DFA’s curated page)
  • Truth: many films play Sundance and don’t get distribution
  • Advocate for self distribution
  • Sundance has deals with iTunes, Amazon VOD, YouTube, Hulu- any film that has played festival or been in a lab is eligable
    • New Video Group handles licensing
    • Absolute ownership for filmmakers
    • Deal is consistent not depending on the film, blind to which films can take advantage
A few words from Nancy Schaffer:
  • Mantra: Increase audience for independent films
  • Use festival as a platform for release, marketing platforms
  • Traditional distributor, with non-traditional ways of distributing
    • Video on Demand(VOD) and theatrical simultaneous, windows are changed but it is VOD driven
  • Programmers of Tribeca Film Festival and Acquisition department don’t collaborate
    • Buy 26-28 films per year
    • Tribeca Enterprises can distribute any film, does not have to be tied to Tribeca Film Festival
A few words from Jason Janego:
  • Radius is a boutique distribution label, up and running for 6 months
    • Jason and Tom Quinn, co-presidents of Raduius, previously worked with Magnolia
  • Experimentation with release strategies- multi platform distribution
  • Model of distribution
    • Release on ultra VOD aka several weeks prior to theatrical
    • Each film gets their own type of release at Radius
  • Festival premiere provides added exposure, publicity, red carpet, press!
    • It’s important to cultivate an audience before the festival takes place
    • World premiere and distribution simultaneous – dismisses festival circuit opportunity
A few words to conclude:
  • Digital deals and branding
    • Based around branding, positive experience for the consumer will make them want to return
    • If you make the brand good, then the experience is good
  • What does Acquisition looking for at a film festival?
    • Types of films that will fit into a slate- A or B list talent
    • Goal is to find a film that is touching
    • Having A list films allows for B list films to be distributed because the brand has been established
  • Film Festival Circuit
    • Independent filmmakers should embrace the festival trajectory as the equivalent to theatrical releases.
    • It is then possible to experiment with different distribution strategies that can be more lucrative than the tradiontal distribution path.
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