How Do I Get My Film Into Distribution?

Posted By: Asad Siddiqui     10/4/16 4:44 AM

In India for independent film makers this question is very daunting i.e. How my film will get distributor? The director wants to get his / her film good distributors in the international market for recognition, the producers wants distributors for generating revenue against his / her investment as well as recognition and the other team members also want it for getting international exposure and building their professional career. So everyone wants that his / her film to be screened and distributed internationally. Big names like Viacom 18, IDF etc. get distributors before they start their film. But I am talking about those film makers who are very good in making a film but lack the knowledge of international marketing and pitching up a film. Is there any single route through which you can be able to get cinema screened? No. There are more than thousand plus theatrical distributors of different shape and sizes. From Warner Brothers to worldwide self distribution models, is it possible to draw the easiest way to get distributors. Is there any right chosen method for this? No.

The process is very simple but the implementation is very difficult. An Acquisition head receives more than a minimum of 10 films each day. The number could be high depending on the category of distribution house. So the task of acquiring and selecting those independent films is bit difficult for the acquisition head. Today where there is so much competition and so many films being made in a year worldwide, everyone avoids taking risk on any film. You might have made one of the best films but it is absolutely not sure to get a good distributor until and unless you adopt the right method of your film to go for distribution.  

The first job is to pitch your film to film festivals which are your first step for promotion & recognition. But most of the film maker wants their films to be nominated and screened in Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Hamptons, Toronto etc. No doubt it is possible to get nominated in those A list of international festivals if your film deserves to be so. Under that case you are lucky enough to get the world’s distributor who will offer you great money for theatrical release, broadcasting and home video rights. But most of the film makers are not lucky to reach the pinnacle of success with ease. In the year 2012 over 600 films distributed theatrically in United Kingdom. There was forceful competition for screen space. The same case is USA and other countries of the world. The statistical data shows that only 8-10% of the features produced will have a change to go inside a cinema.

Who are distributors? What is their job? Why we need distributor to sell our films?

Distributors are the global sales agents who consider new films and take the rights (worldwide or regional, it depends). Then they engage on to sell as per their regional rights. Due to the past presence in the industry & PR skill they make excellent relationship with the other region’s distributors, festivals and broadcasting channels, they are in a position to get the best deal in respective territories whereas most of the producers & filmmakers may not even have known or thought about it. Please be noted a film can be taken seriously by the distributors on the ground of commercial proposition. Even several awards winning films in the festival may not get saleable value if it does not meet the business value.

So the road map is clear. Make a film which can attract audience as well as festival jury, submit your film in those film festivals which meet the criteria weather it is a A listing or B listing festivals, start promotion of the film (which is an expensive affair). Have patience in reaching distributors till the films gets some recognition, nomination, screened and awards in festivals. Then it is bit easy to find distributor and the way to theatres, broadcasting and later on to TV, DVD, public library and online markets as well.

It is also true that all films which are made are possibly not firmly a commercial genre film. So what you should be done? Should we lose hope to go for distribution? I will suggest you can still go for festivals and look for individual distributors in respective country. You have to keep in mind that the individual distributors must have a track record of distributing similar nature & genre of films which will give you more chances of acceptance and sales.

Again suppose you have not got individual distributors. Don’t lose hopes. Globally film market is very vast where most of the films have audience provided we know how to reach them and showcase your film. You have to go for Self-distribution where you have to look into your own promotional & marketing materials like brochures, posters, trailers, digital marketing etc. No doubt for any film the promotional and marketing expenses is huge now a day but you have to take the risk if you want to get back your investment as well as make money out of it. The print and digital media advertisement cost a lot but it pays if you plan smartly.

Neither the independent filmmaker nor the producer is professional having better experience of PR, promotion, marketing of film. So it is a wise decision to give your film in the hand of some good company who knows the job well. Discuss your budget; give your minimum expectation from the film in order to plan the company a customized way to marketing and distribution. Indian Film Service has come into existence reading this market gap in India. IFS try to figure out the uniqueness about the film, work out to draw a plan which can drive an audience to see it and adopt the best possible method to sell the film.

There are several methods to generate revenue from a film and attract audience but ensure yourself that you know the present scientific method to pitch up in the world market otherwise you will be end up losing all your hopes and expectations. The platforms can be summed up as:

  • Theatrical Distribution
  • Non-Theatrical and Video Rental Rights
  • Sell Through Video & DVD and pay Television.
  • Internet Marketing and Sales in different platforms worldwide
  • Self Distribution Rights

For more information and any further clarification just sit and write to us or contact us. From this house you will not get disappointments.

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