Tag: Indiewire

Rooftop Films, Indiewire and Snag Films Giant Celebration!

“Our friends at Rooftop Films, Indiewire and Snag Films are having a giant celebration this Thursday the 15th – Check it out:”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

8 p.m. – screening and party
Free admission for our invited guests.

For all those who wish to join us please purchase your tickets at: http://www.rooftopfilms.com/2010/schedule/49-aardvark

Open Road Rooftop, Lower East Side
350 Grand St, NYC 10002

More info at:

Jon Reiss at IFP Independent Film Week in IndieWire

Definately time to put the doom and gloom away, roll up the sleeves and get to work. Here are a few pull quotes from the distribution panel at IFP:

“Filmmakers need to re-conceptualize marketing and distribution,” advocated Jon Reiss, the director of “Bomb It” who has become a passionate advocate aimed at distribution empowerment. “Filmmakers need to redefine the theatrical experience.” He also held up a copy of his new book, “Think Outside the Box Office.” . . .
Jon Reiss called upon filmmakers to create a new crew position for a film, a “Producer of Distribution and Marketing,” advocating that, like it or not, “You have to think of distribution and marketing as integral to the actual film.”

Here’s the whole article:

No More Doom and Gloom? IFP Crowd Eye Distribution’s Silver Cloud
Eugene Hernandez by Eugene Hernandez (September 25, 2009)
No More Doom and Gloom? IFP Crowd Eye Distribution’s Silver Cloud

The sky is falling. Indie bloodbath. Independent film is dead. All are phrases that have provoked passionate discussions. Instead of going there, though, a group of distribution veterans eschewed dark talk in favor of optimism earlier this week at a signature IFP panel discussion on the current state of film distribution.

The old model—making a film with investors, taking it to festivals, selling it there and releasing it months later in theaters before hitting other ancillary markets—is nearly gone, the group seemed to agree. IFC Films head Jonathan Sehring, Mark Urman from upstart label Palladin, Paola Freccero from B-Side and filmmaker and author Jon Reiss joined producer and Filmmaker Magazine editor-in-chief Scott Macaulay to survey the state of distribution in a week when bleak talk out of the recent Toronto International Film Festival has meshed with stories of individual filmmaker empowerment here at the IFP Market. Continue reading →

10 Insights to the Indie Film World (as shared at this year’s LA Film Fest)

Posted on by Jon Reiss

Ok, so I already spoke about James D. Stern’s talk a few days ago, but wanted to share the broader message as so eloquently reported by Indie Wire last week. Great, great stuff.

The World As We Know It Is Over? 10 Insights on the Movie Biz
by Andy Lauer (June 23, 2009)

“The way we operate is being dissected and reassembled in front of our eyes,” noted Endgame’s James D. Stern in a keynote speech at the Los Angeles Film Festival over the weekend (which was published in its entirety by indieWIRE). Later that day, a panel of key industry players gathered at the fest’s Film Financing Conference to, as moderator and industry blogger Anne Thompson put it, “parse the desperate stage of the indie economy” right now. The panel, titled “The World As We Know It: Is It Over?,” included “Che” producer Laura Bickford, Christian Gaines of Withoutabox, Ted Mundorff from Landmark Theatres, “Notorious” producer Bob Teitel, and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch from Oscilloscope Laboratories.

The discussion touched on how to profit from Internet and VOD distribution plans, the increasingly uncertain fate of traditional media, the financial limitations of producing independent film in the current economic climate, and the recent formation of DF Indie Studios. Though realistic about the challenges facing the industry, all the panel members offered valuable insights on how to make the financing, marketing and distribution of independent films come together during tough times.

Here are 10 insights shared this weekend in Los Angeles:

1. Christian Gaines on the changing role of film festivals.

Insight: Festivals may be returning to their roots as a showcase for filmmaker’s work and become less of a platform for corporate sponsors and the industry to promote themselves. Continue reading →

Indiewire on Tribeca Film Distribution Panel

Posted on by Jon Reiss

Here’s Indiewire’s coverage of the Tribeca panel that I was on – (better late than never) I’m credited for tips 6 & 9.
10 Tips For Strategizing Distribution Today
by Peter Knegt (April 30, 2009)
10 Tips For Strategizing Distribution Today
David Fenkel, Geoff Gilmore, Sara Pollack, Jon Reiss, Cynthia Swartz, Ryan Werner, and Steven Zeitchik at the Tribeca Talks: Industry panel Tuesday afternoon in New York. Photo by Peter Knegt.

Aimed at aspiring or challenged filmmakers, a Tribeca Film Festival panel discussion examined the emergence of innovative new strategies for marketing as well as digital distribution, and how there are now multiple ways for filmmakers to control what happens to their film. Six industry insiders gathered at the School of Visual Arts Theater in Manhattan to discuss alternative distribution and marketing 2.0 during the “Tribeca Talks: Tools of the Trade” session, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Steven Zeitchik.

Participants included an eclectic mix of voices, including Oscilloscope Laboratories founder David Fenkel, Tribeca Enterprises’ Chief Creative Officer and former Sundance head Geoff Gilmore, You Tube’s Entertainment Marketing Manager Sara Pollack, “Bomb It” filmmaker Jon Reiss, 42 West publicity’s co-head Cynthia Swartz, and IFC Entertainment’s Vice President of Marketing, Ryan Werner. The conversation was targeted at answering filmmakers’ questions about the best formula for success in this confusing new landscape

Here are ten tips from the panelists:

1. The Safety Net Is Gone

“The system that we’ve evolved from has been going through this enormous change without us really even understanding [it]. Thirty years ago, video didn’t exist. Pay television didn’t exist. Those two ancillaries became the safety net for independent film. Everybody went out there with the idea that even if we don’t make back theatrical we’ll get half our money back with a pay television sale or some sort of video release. It’s gone. After thirty years, that safety net is gone. And I’ve been using this joke for the last several years and it’s not a very funny joke: The good news is that more films have been distributed in the theatrical marketplace than at any time since the 1950s. And what’s the bad news? That more films have been distributed in the theatrical marketplace then at any time since the 1950s. Because the marketplace itself is so cutthroat, and so crowded, that all of the truths that used to be what made independent film work, are now going away.” – Geoff Gilmore

2. Online Revenue Is Going To Come From Different Places

“You Tube, I think, from its conception was really a great place for film just by virtue of the fact that it’s video-based and people are sharing stories and we have millions of people around the world tuning in to see what those stories are. It makes a lot of sense for film to be there. But I think there’s a lot of work to be done… I don’t think there is a silver bullet for monetization online. I think that it’s gonna come from a lot of different places. We’ve clearly been experimenting with ad supported viewing and sharing ad revenue in the launch of shows and movies. But I think the money isn’t always going to necessarily come directly tied to that video on YouTube, but there’s a lot that goes on in ancilliary markets to help drive that revenue.” – Sara Pollack

3. Be More Open To Working In Different Ways

”As filmmakers, you need to be more open to working in a different way. I think when we launched our day-and-date program [in which films are released simutaneously in theaters and on IFC’s Festival Direct on cable on demand], a lot of people didn’t understand it, and it took a lot of convincing. But I think as we worked with Steven Soderbergh [on ‘Che’] and Gus Vant Sant [on ‘Paranoid Park’], and a lot of major filmmakers, and also a lot of young, first time filmmakers… I think people have become a lot more open.” – Ryan Werner

4. Change The Philosophy of the Theatrically Driven

“You know, I think the DVD market place is only part of the whole market place. I mean, in some ways, it doesn’t matter to me whether a film comes to me downloaded, through a DVD, a network… You know, however it is. The real question is how do you market it? The real question is how is the audience going to find out about it? That’s what [IFC’s] Festival Direct was about. That was the whole thing. I mean, use a platform that gives you visibilty that allows you to then build off of that platform, by – in fact – changing the philosophy that everything has to be theatrically driven. That everything does not have to come out theatrically, be market-driven out of that theatrical exposure, and everything follows from that.” – Geoff Gilmore

5. Believe In The Power of Some Sort of Theatrical

“Just about all of [Oscilloscope’s] films are theatrically released. A lot of them are platform released out of New York, but we also do West-come-East, and some of our films can go more directly to non-theatrical… We do a lot of work at museums, and try to figure out the most cost-effective – yet productive – way to get the film out there. But we do believe in the power of some sort of theatrical, hopefully as big as possible.” – David Fenkel

6. Expand The Notion Of Theatrical

“There’s a whole world of “non-theatrical,” which is actually very theatrical. You have to think about how whenever you’re seeing a film with a group of people in a dark room, that’s theatrical. It can be in a museum, it can be in a theater, it can be in a parking lot, it can be in a gallery… I think a lot of filmmakers now – before jettisoning theatrical completely – need to consider this. Because I agree, theatrical is really expensive, you do lose money if you’re in an independent, it’s very hard to break even at all. But if you expand the notion of what theatrical is… I think this notion that theatrical is ‘in theaters for a week-long run’ [is problematic]. I have to say our most profitable screenings for [my film] ‘Bomb It’ were one-day, two-day events, because people have to get down there – it’s an event… There are ways to do it that are much less expensive.” – Jon Reiss

7. Be More Involved as a Filmmaker

”The filmmakers need to be more involved. [We at IFC are] actually working on a movie right now called ‘How To Be.” It stars Robert Pattinson, and its not going to be theatrically released. But the filmmakers have taken the film on a tour around the country, booking different venues in major cities. And basically selling out thousand-seat theaters to screaming teeange girls. We just did it in New York over the weekend, and it totally sold out, with no advertising. And not really any publicity – it’s all primarily through their Facebook page and their website. The movie is going to premiere on demand this week, and we’re expecting it to do really, really well.” – Ryan Werner

8. There’s No One Right Way To Publicize Your Film

“The good news is there’s all these different options [for publicity], the bad news is no one can really tell you which is the right one for your movie. You’re going to have to make that decision yourself. It’s hard. People come to us and ask ‘what do you think we should do with our movie?’ And I can tell you some options, but it’s often so early that I can’t tell you which is the right one. I don’t think anybody up here [on this panel] could tell you which is the right one for sure. So it means a filmmaker has to take a lot more responsibility for his or her own film than they have in the past. You need to start thinking about who the audience for your movie is when you start making the movie.” – Cynthia Swartz

9. Generating Audiences Is Your Responsibility

“Filmmakers need to realize that it’s not just about making films, but it’s about generating audience for our films. That’s your responsibility, and frankly, it always has been in the independent world… Yes, it’s a lot of work to do self-distribution or hybrid distribution. It’s pretty much a year of your life… But you have to work and get your audience. The only person that’s going to be the most passionate about your film is you.” – Jon Reiss

10. Make a Film With The Right Scale In Mind

“When [in 1989], ‘sex, lies and videotape,’ was made and bought, they would have been very happy if they had gotten to $2 million, $3 million. Success was measured by $1 million gross. By the end of [the 1990s], it was $10 million. Now it’s $25 million. People talk about breaking out beyond that. Everyone wants to be ‘Slumdog,’ or everyone wants to be ‘Juno’… Unfortunately, it’s misguiding people. It’s giving you a sense that these are the real numbers you should be thinking about. When in fact, what we should be really talking about is going back to making a film with a different scale in mind. And having films be made for a price in which the audience that is available for going to a film can actually bring the revenue to the work, so that it actually breaks even… Unfortunately, too many people in this business have a hit-driven mentality.” – Geoff Gilmore