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Prescreen and FilmDIY are New Players in the Independent Digital Distribution Space

If VOD is the future of film distribution and Netflix isn’t paying indies much, we’d all better hope for some new — and successful — players in the digital film distribution space. Dynamo Player was one of the first out of the gate, and Distrify looks great. Amazon VOD and YouTube Rentals are also players, or you could always try to build your own VOD portal. Now there are two more options; here are the video pitches from newcomers FilmDIY and Prescreen:

FilmDIY takes a 30% cut; I wasn’t able to find that number for Prescreen (which, it’s worth noting, is currently presenting the absolutely essential distribution book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul free). I’m about halfway through the book now, and it’s chock full of the kind of up-to-date information that all indies should be aware of. One of those rare “priceless but free” resources that you shouldn’t miss — free through the end of September.

Back to the topic of Prescreen and FilmDIY — any thoughts?


[via Brian Newman and Ted Hope]


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  • After doing the festival rounds with our indie feature, The Aristocrat, we couldn’t be more excited to launch with Prescreen.

    The process was really easy and personal. I also like how the site’s truly curated. They watch the submitted films and decide which is best for them.

    If you or any of your readers want to check out The Aristocrat, we’re the Film of the Day today.

  • Just based on videos alone, I’d go with FilmDIY. Loved the pitch video…”moved out of his parents’ basement, and into a basement of his own!” I like a company with a little sense of humor.

  • RevBenjamin on 09.29.11 @ 10:12AM

    Hey Koo et al, quick question – for DIY DVD duplication/distribution, who do you all recommend? I have only found indieflix to seem to be worth my time thusfar (70/30 cut, they take orders, print, dupe, send).

  • The problem is going to be with quality control. If anyone can upload their films these sites are soon going to be drowning in rubbish which no-one is going to want to trawl through. As a way of hosting a film which you can independently promote these sites might work for a while until people are able to stream off their own sites and take all the revenue themselves. ( This can’t be that far away ) Also $8 is a big ask for an unknown film perhaps especially in a culture of expectation that everything is free out there on the internet. My feeling is that there is so much product out there that the future has to lie in building up huge niche followings for particular subject based films and push hard into that social network and – dare I say it – give the film away for free but with a major sponsor/brand attached to the first 30 seconds of the film ? If a film costs $40,000 to make and you can guarantee a worldwide audience then I am sure commercial front end ads are going to help recoup part of your money straight away. Lets face it – going down the traditional distribution route unless you have a massive film is not going to make your investment back and judging by the numbers sales on these sites ( 24 download, 80 downloads etc) I wonder if any serious returns on a film will be made this way either. I recently sold a short film with an ad at the front for $30,000 with only an expectation of PR in return. There are ways to make money out there which don’t involve the pay per view route. Check out the little film I made a while back here: Ovaltine put up the money and we got loads of press, radio and TV in return – they were happy and I was happy to as the money helped to fund a feature I shot the following year – trailer here I am happy to share my experiences with anyone who wants to get in touch. If you want to fund a film – not sure these sites are the future to be honest. Look into free file sharing – it could be the future.

  • Gotta love that both distribution services use third party players.

    Seriously, though, I think the build your own option is the best one presented here. Would absolutely LOVE to see an updated version for 2011-12.

    As a side anecdote, after reading the DIY video portal article, I decided to make one. I came up with, and was about to register it, but stopped and went to run an errand. When I got back, it had been registered by Samsung for their video portal. /wrists


  • For a great, inexpensive DVD on demand website, check out

  • We spoke about PreScreen a little today with filmmaker Kenton Bartlett who has his film “Missing Pieces” featured on the site. In November, when films are in their last days on the site and one is being removed everyday we believe things should really start getting interesting. We expect to see a swell of support for films in their last week of availability.

    It was really difficult to find, but buried deep on their site we uncovered that PreScreen offers a 50/50 split with filmmakers.

    • Thank you David and Karen! I didn’t find that myself. Interesting about the “expiring” bump — kind of like a Kickstarter campaign…

      • Koo, that is exactly what we see happening. It will be interesting to see how much more activity begins swirling around PreScreen at that time. We do see a Kickstarter-like effect happening.

        Overall we would much prefer a 70/30 split (wonder if it is negotiable?) and we would also love to see an affiliate program in the vein of what Distrify has going. Either of those or both added to what PreScreen already has and that would be dangerous.

  • Yoram from filmDIY. Thanks for the article and the lively discussion.
    In filmDIY, payments to the filmmakers are are made instantly, thanks to a PayPal application we developed, which calculates and sends filmmaker’s share (70%). No need to wait for reports or checks.
    Also a “secret” mechanism which will boost distribution possibilities is underway, supposed to be released at the end of the year.

  • Our Mobile Muviez iPad app ha been around for a while and we look for any chance to shed light on it, haven’t received much help here but if anyone wants to try mobile distribution, contact me at

  • Also what makes us different is that we can take your film and turn it into an app.

  • Why not just stream off your own site and keep 100%? Sites like will let you stream and download from your own site – you just rent the software. Yet you hardly ever see filmmakers doing this on their sites.

  • There are lot of sites that offering similar setups as FilmDIY. Busk Films is a site directed at the GLBT community. IndieFlix is another that is geared only to indepedent films. I’ve recently noticed a new commer as well in the market: Nuvuo ( It seems to me the issue is not technology… for me the problem is marketing. Getting your film known and selling is a challenge. Nuvuo says they help but I think they seem pretty young to really no for sure.