Re: [Videolib] A question for distributors - What advice would you give a young filmmaker about how to find a distributor?

From: Dennis Doros <milefilms@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Dec 07 2009 - 12:31:36 PST

Dear Chris,

Yes, of course, you can pass my email on. But new documentaries aren't
really my specialty -- Amy does the new acquisitions and I do the classics.
However, check out http://www.documentaryfilms.net/festivals.htm -- I don't
know how many have markets, but some of the better known festivals are these
below and they should check out each one to see if there's a market and ask
other filmmakers if they're worth attending. Locally, besides SilverDocs,
I'm also a big fan of the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore which has a
focus on young filmmakers. And it's just not because you can use Cal
Ripkin's box seats at Camden Yards if you ask. Most of these festivals, I
believe, have Facebook pages...

http://www.ifp.org/
http://www.hotdocs.ca/
http://silverdocs.com/ (they also have a good links page at
http://silverdocs.com/news-links/2009/11/06/silverdocs-voted-best-film-festival/
)
http://www.idfa.nl/
http://www.sunnysideofthedoc.com/uk/index.php
http://www.fullframefest.org/
http://www.docfest.org/
http://www.documentary.org/
http://www.DocuFilmInst.org/

Dennis

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 2:59 PM, Chris Lewis <clewis@american.edu> wrote:

> Dennis,
>
> It's really helpful to have this kind of candid advice from a
> distributor. Do you mind if I save and forward it to faculty who teach
> film producing and screenwriting classes?
>
> Most of who I hear from are documentary filmmakers representing films
> on social issues - of one type or another. Do you know of any
> international documentary "Markets", such as Sunny Side of the Doc,
> that have venues or events designed for filmmakers to pitch their
> wares?
>
> Chris
>
> On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 1:34 PM, Dennis Doros <milefilms@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Chris,
> > They need to do their research. We get about five emails a week from
> > filmmakers who want to show us their new horror film. Obviously, that is
> > neither Milestone's interest or within our capabilities. To successfully
> > distribute a horror film, you need either a lot of money or a ready
> customer
> > base. The same can be said with a medical documentary or one how to fix a
> > motorcycle. You want a distributor who LOVES your film and has the
> knowledge
> > on how to promote and sell it.
> > So the first thing to do is to figure out what kind of film they have,
> what
> > companies distribute similar films, and how successful they are doing so.
> > Find out in advance who is the head of acquisitions (call the company if
> you
> > have to) and write a good letter (without typos or grammatical flaws,
> > please!) with a well-designed and laid-out package of materials that go
> with
> > it. The letter be addressed to that particular person in charge, should
> > state why the film would be a good fit for the distributor and how you
> > admired their release of "______" and think your film has a similar
> chance
> > for success. Flattery helps a lot. Then call up a week later, be
> courteous
> > and professional and offer a screener. Personality will help get your
> film
> > at least screened. And for theatrical releas, it helps to have a
> > professional, outgoing, well-spoken director -- and distributors look for
> > that.
> > The major film festivals like New York, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto
> > are important and then the next-tier festivals like Slamdance, South by
> > Southwest, AFI and IFP (and others including all the great documentary
> > festivals) are essential as well. Others less so to the point it can hurt
> a
> > film because if it's played too many festivals, then it gives the
> > distributor the idea that it's either been rejected by other distributors
> or
> > that it's played so much it will be difficult to get audiences. That
> could
> > just be my own opinion, by the way -- I'm not sure it's true for others.
> > Also, I may be wrong because this is one of the ways for filmmakers to
> > travel, meet other filmmakers and distributors, and get to know more
> people
> > in the field. For features, it helps to play them if you can get
> reviewed
> > in Variety, Hollywood Reporter and/or Screen Daily.
> > And don't be too offended by rejections!!! For one thing, a lot of
> > distributors are small and may have too many films at the moment already.
> We
> > only do two to four films a year, for example. If rejected, you should
> write
> > an extremely nice letter or note saying that if they change their mind,
> you
> > would love to work with them if not on this one then on the next film.
> You
> > don't want to make enemies. (We do talk amongst ourselves and we are
> quick
> > to mention the directors we love to work with and the horror stories of
> > those otherwise!)
> > Best,
> > Dennis
> >
> > On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 10:29 AM, Chris Lewis <clewis@american.edu>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> Occasionally I hear from filmmaker's asking about how to get their
> >> films distributed. I've heard from three in the past month. I always
> >> suggest festivals as one of the best ways to get noticed and I give
> >> them the names of the distributors I use but I really don't know how a
> >> lot of titles make their way to distributors. If one or more of you
> >> are willing to lend some advice for these up-and-comers it would be
> >> greatly appreciated.
> >>
> >> --
> >> Chris Lewis
> >> Media Librarian
> >> American University Library
> >> 202.885.3257
> >>
> >> Please think twice before printing this e-mail. Remember, paper comes
> >> from trees.
> >>
> >> And Soylent Green? Well, you should know where that comes from.
> >>
> >> VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
> >> issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic
> >> control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in
> >> libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve
> as
> >> an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of
> >> communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video
> >> producers and distributors.
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Best,
> > Dennis Doros
> > Milestone Film & Video/Milliarium Zero
> > PO Box 128
> > Harrington Park, NJ 07640
> > Phone: 201-767-3117
> > Fax: 201-767-3035
> > email: milefilms@gmail.com
> > www.milestonefilms.com
> > www.arayafilm.com
> > www.exilesfilm.com
> > www.wordisoutmovie.com
> > www.killerofsheep.com
> > AMIA Philadelphia 2010: www.amianet.org
> > Join "Milestone Film" on Facebook!
> >
> > VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of
> issues
> > relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control,
> > preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries
> and
> > related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an
> effective
> > working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication
> > between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and
> > distributors.
> >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Chris Lewis
> Media Librarian
> American University Library
> 202.885.3257
>
> Please think twice before printing this e-mail. Remember, paper comes
> from trees.
>
> And Soylent Green? Well, you should know where that comes from.
>
> VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues
> relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control,
> preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and
> related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective
> working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication
> between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and
> distributors.
>

-- 
Best,
Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video/Milliarium Zero
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: 201-767-3117
Fax: 201-767-3035
email: milefilms@gmail.com
www.milestonefilms.com
www.arayafilm.com
www.exilesfilm.com
www.wordisoutmovie.com
www.killerofsheep.com
AMIA Philadelphia 2010: www.amianet.org
Join "Milestone Film" on Facebook!

VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.
Received on Mon Dec 7 12:32:23 2009

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