September 7, 2014 at 6:06PM

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Distribution for student feature films?

Lets say it was recorded with an Entry-Level DSLR and Zero-Budget, but it has a "pretty good" script, produced with love and care by crew and actors.

So now the team might be looking for a No-Budget distribution strategy that let the feature film to be seen by a thousands and maybe win any kind of event or contest.

What would be the best strategy for them?

14 Comments

Not a producer so take this with a grain of salt, but...

One fantastic place to look to for distribution (other than obviously festival circuits and film markets) is your local film office. I met with the DC film commissioner last week and his answer to "What is the most under-utilised resource for filmmakers in this area?" was "distribution through the film office". If you shot your movie in a certain state, that state will want to brag about your film being shot their and bring in more productions and thus more capital, so this is their incentive to help you. Again, maybe the fact that no one shoots in DC is why he said this, but I feel like many film commissioners will have the same answer.

Also, if you filmed it at a university with other students, possibly approach them about helping you find distribution. They'll have the same incentives to help you as a film office would.

September 7, 2014 at 9:44PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1641

That's a good one, the film was produced mainly in New York and Florida.
This is the film page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenFilm

Thank you for the advice.

Diego Lope

September 8, 2014 at 12:37PM

"Lets say it was recorded with an Entry-Level DSLR and Zero-Budget, but it has a "pretty good" script, produced with love and care by crew and actors."

Also, this means nothing. What it was shot on is irrelevant. Equipment choices should be made to push the story so if its a story made to be filmed on an entry level DSLR, then that would actually be a benefit. People will often list things that they think are "limitations" but my advice when working on a limited/non-existent budget is to try and use your limitations as advantages. Like, sure you could only get 3 lights. But now thats preproduction and production time saved, as well as a genny you don't need to rent.

September 7, 2014 at 9:54PM

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Aidan Gray
Director of Photography Assistant Camera | Gaffer
1641

Sure, that's a good way to see it, I think the same way, this film ended quite well without any expensive device... We used a Nikon D5100 with 18-55 and 55-200 lenses.

I was trying to say that it wouldn't have the same image quality in the projection, than a professional camera... so that could be a problem when putting it on certain "PRO" film festivals, that's all, we are happy with our work and gear.

This is the film page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenFilm
Thanks for the advice.

Diego Lope

September 8, 2014 at 1:22PM

I wouldn't under rate shooting with an "Entry-Level DSLR" as some of them are very very good, such as the Nikon D5300, Sony A5100, or Panasonic G6. Far *far* better than what indie filmmakers had available a decade or two ago!

So don't think of this as a negative :-)

Anyway, as for promotions.... I'd go the niche route, what particular niches can you promote it in? Perhaps send it off to film festivals which are for your particular genre? Or if it is made in a foreign language, film festivals for that. Or whatever else is unique about your film.

September 8, 2014 at 7:50AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2599

Thank you.. yeah, you are right, we used a Nikon D5100... It's a fake documentary about a journalist with a panic disorder as a result of his work... through issues such as death, time/memory, and a bit about journalistic ethics.

This is the film page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenFilm
Thanks for the advice.

Diego Lope

September 8, 2014 at 12:42PM

I don't think anyone has figured out a good way to distribute a no-budget film with no-name actors. Only filmmakers will care about what equipment you used or how you built your sets cheaply. Festivals might work but you might also loose hundreds of dollars on rejections. A festival also doesn't mean distribution. Online self-distribution with lots of promotion might be a good way to go if you identify your target audience. Renting theaters to show to local audiences worked for my movie Space Trucker Bruce. I sold a ton of DVDs in the lobby after the showings which surprised me. The local Alaskan audience has been more receptive to my movie than the lower 48. Createspace also puts your movie on amazon for not much money which has worked good for me.

September 8, 2014 at 3:58PM

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Anton Doiron
Creator/Filmmaker
441

You are right, this is a matter of the viewer we need to target with the film and lots of promotion, perhaps on webs, blogs and magazines.

Would you suggest other Free Online Services besides Amazon, Youtube and Vimeo?
I mean a service with the kind of viewer interested in indie and experimental films.

By the way, this is the film page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenFilm
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

Diego Lope

September 8, 2014 at 11:01PM

If you want to target eyeballs rather than dollars, what about making your own BitTorrent version and uploading it to all the file-sharing sites? -- both those for legal content (like Mininova) and pirated (The Pirate Bay).

September 8, 2014 at 9:58PM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
645

Yeah, or primary concern is to get as much viewers as we can... but it would be nice to get some dollars, to save for the next project [we already have the script], only enough to cover the budget.

We are not looking to get rich, but to be able to pay our next film... But after that we could put it on those sites you mentioned.

This is the film page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiddenFilm
Thanks for the advice.

Diego Lope

September 8, 2014 at 11:07PM

Some options you could do is submitting your film to a film festival such as SXSW or Sundance. If you plan to get your film in theaters you could contact some independent theater chains to see if they will screen your folm or submit your film to be a part of AMC Independent and distribute it that way or finally you could release it through a VOD service like Vimeo-On-Demand which would probably be the cheapest option to go. hope I was able to help.

September 10, 2014 at 11:32PM

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Jake Jansen
Writer/Director/Producer/Editor
61

You did help, thank you for that.

Diego Lope

September 12, 2014 at 12:13AM

Kinonation

September 21, 2014 at 8:51PM, Edited September 21, 8:51PM

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Allan Okello
CEO, Director, writer
62

Can you show us a trailer or something?

Cause you know, if you have piece similar to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzvmCbYiPN0

then you are out of any practical strategy and the discussion becomes only an exercise in eloquence and wit :)

Know what I mean?

September 23, 2014 at 7:01PM

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Alex Zakrividoroga
Director
4243

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