How Screwed Are Filmmakers if Distribber is Really Bankrupt?
Films are being bought online and no one is seeing a dime.
Distribber, along with its parent company GoDigital, is going bankrupt.
This is just one of many questions flying through the ether right now for filmmakers who had used Distribber (as a previously reliable middleman) to get their work up on various streaming and VOD platforms. A growing consensus of filmmakers and film industry people have been chiming in: Distribber, along with its parent company GoDigital, is going bankrupt.
There's a lot of conjecture about this at the moment, which is of course happening because no one can get ahold of anyone from Distribber. It also makes this very confusing.
Here’s a tally of what is currently about the state of Distribber. Their website is still live. However, filmmakers have not been able to get ahold of them for a while now. And a few days ago, as first reported by Alex Ferrari of Indie Film Hustle, they’ve closed their physical offices. Ferrari mentioned that Distribber still owes him around $4,000 in back pay.
As he says in his podcast:
“It has now been confirmed that both Distribber and GoDigital’s offices have been closed. GoDigital is the company that owns Distribber…there is no physical address…multiple people went to their offices and saw that they had been shut down.”
If you visit their online place of business, everything looks hunky-dory.
But when you click through to the bottom and try to visit them on Twitter, you get this.
If Distribber is going bankrupt and there is no real exit strategy, here are some of the most pressing questions for filmmakers:
- Where are the [physical drives or copies] of your movies that Distribber had on file?
- Will you get your back pay? When?
- How do you get the future revenue from films still on streaming or VOD platforms through Distribber?
- How do you take your film down from said platforms if there is no way to get your revenue?
- What happens to your film’s comments and ratings if you take it down?
- What are the risks of NOT taking your film down on all the platforms?
Does Distribber have a plan in place to help filmmakers with all of these questions?
We’re currently trying to sort through this situation, and will continue covering this story even if the answer is no. There’s currently a Facebook group called "Protect Yourself from Distribber" if you want to communicate with others who used Distribber. At NFS, we’re going to focus on what filmmakers should do in this situation right now, as well as how to protect yourself from this something like this happening to you in the future. We'll keep you posted on anything we find out.
If you work for Distribber, we'd love some help.
If you're a filmmaker with tips or stories that you think the film community should know about this situation, please share in the comments or shoot me an email.