It used to be that indie filmmakers’ only option was the festival circuit –submitting to multiple festivals (and expecting multiple rejections), paying application fees that quickly added up, and vying for distribution deals inked only after winning awards and accolades gained from the exposure of screening at various festivals. But times, they are a ‘changing. With new VOD services and the digital revolution affecting how and where people consume media, indie filmmakers can find new and exciting audiences and avenues to distribute their work. Here is a quick look at five of these platforms (3 of them Pacific Northwest based!) for indie filmmakers to move beyond the festival.
Lower Boom is a new Portland, Oregon based media company whose goal is to help promote the discovery of Northwest filmmakers and storytellers using independent distribution channels. LOWER BOOM PRESENTS is a television channel produced and curated by Lower Boom, which airs for guests of the Hotel Eastlund and showcases different feature films, short films, music videos, special projects and more by a variety of Northwest filmmakers and producers every month. Submit your film for consideration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reel NW on KCTS-9 has returned, featuring compelling feature-length and short independent films with a Pacific Northwest connection (including Washington, British Columbia and surrounding areas). Works must be made by a northwest filmmaker, produced in the northwest, and tell a northwest story to be considered. Watch the films from Summer 2016 and find out more about the filmmakers through interviews that are available online on their website. To submit your film to KCTS-9 and Reel NW click here.
Docmakers take note! Collective Eye Films is an educational film distribution and production company representing over 120 documentaries – with subjects ranging from the environment, health and human rights, criminal and social justice issues, LGBTQ and gender studies, and more. They are currently seeking character-driven, feature length documentaries that can be marketed to educational institutions. They specialize in offering educational, screening, and digital site licenses as well as wholesale DVD purchasing. To submit your film for consideration fill out the online form here.
VOD (Video on Demand) content distribution is getting huge – there are now hundreds of sites where filmmakers can do DIY distribution to get their films seen and heard. One of them is Quiver, a digital distribution agency that helps filmmakers distribute to worldwide audiences via video on demand retailers like iTunes, Google Play, and Netflix. They manage the technical requirements for submitting films to these services while filmmakers can choose distribution retailers, territories, set a launch date, then submit orders. Even better, Quiver offers a flat fee and allows filmmakers keep 100% of their revenue. To find out more, register here.
Amazon offers two main platforms for independent, filmmaker-driven distribution – Amazon Video Direct and CreateSpace. Amazon Video Direct lets filmmakers choose to earn royalties based on hours streamed by Prime members, and offers a revenue share for rentals, purchases, monthly subscriptions, or ad impressions. You can pick and choose which kind of package works best for your film. Create Space focuses less on streaming and more on downloaded content – your film becomes available as a high-quality download on Amazon Instant Video. Customers can either download to own or to rent, and filmmakers get 50% of the cut. To learn more, click here and here.