I am divine poster
The Film Collaborative is a non profit member organization devoted to helping independent filmmakers become better educated about their marketing and distribution alternatives. Filmmakers may choose between various levels of membership that entitle them to incremental levels of service from a free level that allows for access to our monthly newsletter, blog and Digital Distribution Guide, to levels that include hours of customized consultation about their projects from our team of festival, digital distribution, online and social media marketing and graphic design specialists.

But we also take on a select group of films to actively participate in their self financed distribution from festivals to ancillary sales facilitation to handling limited theatrical releases. As always, we never take rights away from the filmmakers and they are active participants in their release.

Over the next few weeks, I will share details and testimonials from some of the films we’ve handled over the last 3 years in effort to clarify how we service independent films when we take them on as clients.

Today will feature director Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary film I Am Divine which saw its VOD debut on April 1. With TFC’s help, Divine played in a whopping 160 festivals around the world, garnering 6 figures in screening fees. TFC also handled the film’s limited theatrical release, securing over 50 cinemas in the US and Canada, with the film held over for 3 weeks at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco, 6 weeks at Cinema Village in NYC, 4 weeks at the Downtown Independent in LA and 3 weeks at Bloor Hot Doc Cinema in Toronto.

At what stage in the production process was TFC consulted? 

JS: “I had worked with TFC on my previous film VITO so I knew they would be able to help position the film properly. TFC helped secure our festival world premiere at SXSW 2013 and guided us through the process of our international debut at BFI Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in London and the many, many festivals that followed.”

What advice was sought from TFC and what ultimately happened with the release of the film? Basically what results were achieved with TFC’s help?

JS: “Aside from facilitating the festival screenings around the world, TFC also helped us secure international distribution in several territories. For busy filmmakers, knowing that a group of dedicated and knowledgable allies are working in your best interest is a godsend. TFC also booked the film in theaters around the country for our limited theatrical release. I AM DIVINE played in all the major American cities with great success.”

TFC colleague, Bryan Glick, was responsible for booking the theatrical release and had this to say

BG: “We never took out a single print ad in any city for the theatrical and still grossed over $80,000 theatrically. Since the launch of the theatrical release, the film’s Facebook page went from over 26,000 fans to more than 44,000.

We were able to book a lot of cities because of strong festival performance. There were a few smaller markets that were not an option, but in those cities the festival fees were far greater than anything the filmmmaker would have pocketed from a theatrical run.

Yes, you cannot play Landmark Theatres if you screen at too many festivals, but we didn’t even bother worrying about them. Instead we focused on venues with favorable terms who saw clearly the built in audience for the movie. We were able to get to over 50 engagements almost solely through booking independent art houses.

By not having to waste money on print ads, the theatrical was profitable for the filmmaker and it is still one of the highest grossing films from SXSW last year. Currently, Divine is in the top 10 docs on iTunes and the DVD pre order is in the top 20 docs on Amazon. This film could ultimately reach 300 festival and theatrical engagements.”

Where can the film be seen now?

JS: “I AM DIVINE had its VOD premiere on April 1st. The various international territories are gearing up for their releases as well.”

Check out this great documentary on iTunes, Amazon, and via its home video distributor Wolfe Releasing.

April 3rd, 2014

Posted In: Digital Distribution, Distribution, Facebook, Film Festivals, iTunes, Theatrical

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every filmmaker wants a theatrical exhibition for their film because of the prestige and the classic appeal. Key, in our opinion, is to know what’s possible and what you’re paying for. There are lots of services that charge big fees to book your film. Be knowledgeable about when you can book yourself (Landmark, Film Forum, Quad, Laemmle Theatres, Cinema Village, lots of others), or spend less on theatrical.

Publicity is the most important part of theatrical and that’s what you should spend money and time on. A New York Times review is usually a key goal, and it won’t come from having just a NYC release (that’s new NYT policy). A Theatrical release is important to directors for the obvious reasons and it is a very useful marketing component, but the operative word is “useful”. It’s useful only if it does not cost you more than you’ll make back from it and ancillaries that are enhanced by it.

According to one of our VOD partners, Comcast and InDemand have said, off-the-record, that they will start insisting on a 10-city day & date release for films to have access to their service. This policy would be implemented to help sift through the glut of the content in supply. We caution, before filmmakers rush into that spend, to think whether their film is likely to make it onto key Cable VOD platforms. Will the spend on theatrical likely be recouped on VOD? Also, cable VOD wants day and date releases, but theatres don’t so be cautious when planning your distribution route.

Are you a filmmaker who has worked with a distributor or service company for theatrical exhibition? Tell us about them in our Distributor Report Card.

July 21st, 2010

Posted In: DIY, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,




© 2017 The Film Collaborative. All rights reserved.