September 20, 2019

How Screwed Are Filmmakers if Distribber is Really Bankrupt?

Films are being bought online and no one is seeing a dime.

Your film is on Amazon. Distribber put it there for you. But how do you get paid when that revenue goes through Distribber, and they suddenly disappear?

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.

And this.

That's sad.

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.     

Your Comment

8 Comments

I have been researching this all day. Went to their vacant offices, sent a message to Jason Brubaker, tried to call them... nothing works. Brubaker did respond, but didn't help much.

Hey Nils - Hey. Just so you know, my employment at Distribber ended in May, 2019.

When I worked for the company (sales / marketing), I believed in the mission.

I have since moved on, so I can’t speak to what’s going on at the company since I left.

In this regard, I must refer any inquiries to the company itself.

Here is the support email:
support@distribber.com

Warmest regards,

Jason

September 21, 2019 at 12:32AM, Edited September 21, 12:32AM

3
Reply

Once DLT hits the scene, this will not be an issue. Smart Contracts ensure full transparency

September 21, 2019 at 2:07AM

2
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Mike Reps
I do all kindsa stuff
70

What is DLT?

September 21, 2019 at 2:54AM

0
Reply

Distributed Ledger Technology aka The Blockchain

September 21, 2019 at 8:59AM

0
Reply
Mike Reps
I do all kindsa stuff
70

we are a long way from a scaleable solution.

September 21, 2019 at 1:18PM

0
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Walter Wallace
YouTuber
1087

Don't hold your breath ...

September 21, 2019 at 11:25AM

0
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Isn't that what TRX is for?

September 22, 2019 at 10:32AM

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Byron Q
Writer/Director
171

This is always a problem to consider with intermediaries before doing anything with them. If they fail or make a mistake, you're screwed. People should be aware of these things. And that happens in any industry. I hope those affected can find a solution. It is really sad.

September 21, 2019 at 9:47AM

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I have a couple of films with Distribber. Will you be updating this? Are you still digging into this story? What a disaster for filmmakers.

October 2, 2019 at 6:06PM

1
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avatar
Biff Boogins
Documentary Filmmaker
8