Distribution Case Study – “Finding Hillywood”

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Written by Leah Warshawski (Producer/Director) / Introduction by Jon Reiss

 

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I recently wrote a two part article featuring four documentary filmmakers who pursued hybrid releases with their films and who were generous enough to share the real data from their films’ releases – Transparency: Four Filmmakers Give Up the Gold Pt1 and Pt 2. Upon reading these, filmmaker Leah Warshawski wanted to write something similar for the self release of her film, Finding Hillywood. This first post about the film chronicles the story of her release, finishing up with a list of 10 tips for filmmakers. When all of the data is in – about a year from now – she will write a follow up detailing all of the real data from the release. I encourage more filmmakers to tell their stories – not just the how, but also the results. A great way to do this is to participate in the Sundance Transparency Project. This information helps all of us learn from each other’s triumphs and disappointments so that our knowledge base continues to expand. I am already speaking with a number of other filmmakers willing to share their stories – if you wish to contact me, my information is at the bottom of this post.

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American Film Showcase Trip to Romania

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Earlier this month I was lucky enough to travel to Romania with the American Film Showcase which is a collaboration between the American State Department and USC which bring mainly documentary filmmakers and film experts (yours truly) to various countries around the world. This program serves as bridge between American filmmakers and filmmakers abroad mostly in the developing world but occasionally in more developed countries.   Frankly I didn’t know what to expect – I actually thought that Romania already had a pretty amazing film industry producing some pretty incredible films.  However my one experience being in Romania (before the revolution) did not create much of a desire to go back.  Boy was I surprised – Romania is an incredible gem in many ways – the people are warm and generous (and speak English better than most European countries), there are a plethora of amazing Greek Orthodox churches (I’m a sucker for architecture, mosaics and any images on walls as you may know), and there is a huge vibrant section of artists who are eager to embrace the new entrepreneurial world.

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Off to Romania!

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Tonight I’ll be heading off to Romania as an “expert” for the American Film Showcase. The AFS is a cultural exchange organization that uses film education across the world as a means to opening a dialogue about important contemporary issues. I’m very excited to work with this great organization, and to visit such a fascinating part of the world. We will be holding film workshops in Bucharest for several days, and then heading to the Transylvania International Film Festival!

After that it’s off to New York to participate in the IFP Narrative Lab. Earlier this month I was there for the Documentary Lab, and it was an amazing week. I’ve already watched the 10 docs that were selected, and have started watching the 10 narrative films. They all look incredible! I’m very excited to work alongside such talented people

Should be a fun couple of weeks!

Distribution Transparency: Four Filmmakers Give Up the Gold Pt 2

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Wednesday’s post looked at Neil Berkeley and Judy Chaikin as two filmmakers who wanted to create a theatrical release for their films to boost visibility, increase ancillary value and learn for themselves how to operate in the new hybrid model of distribution and marketing. Today we will look at Paco de Onís the company Skylight he runs with with creative director Pamela Yates and editorial director Peter Kinoy and their film/media project Granito

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Distribution Transparency: Four Filmmakers Reveal Their Distribution Numbers, Part One

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Alternative distribution models are no longer the experiment, but are now the norm for the vast majority of filmmakers. However because of a variety of reasons, including not least contract obligations and a fear that exposing numbers may not show the filmmaker in the best light, many filmmakers have been reticent to give out the real numbers from their film’s releases.

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