Keep your focus on your film and impress investors with your independent film marketing abilities! After pitching investors, receiving funding, surviving production and completing post-production, your film is finally in the can. You made your film with the goal of getting it seen and now it is time to get it out there. Here are different paths to take when the time is right to share your film with the world. The question now is: What Do You Do Next?
There are thousands of film festivals across the globe, happening year round, and this is your best bet to have your filmed screened to the public. There is much to keep in mind when submitting your film to festivals and much research is needed. First, consider your target audience, your genre and your location. Would an R-rated western play well at a family festival? Many film festivals have specific categories including: Urban, Comedy, Family, Foreign Language. Think about where your film would best fit and consider specific festivals.
The premiere status of your film is also extremely important. As you only get one premiere, consider it carefully and try and avoid local film festivals. Set your bar high and apply to top film festivals (Toronto, Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca). A premiere status at a top festival makes your film more appealing to an audience as well as to a distributor. If your film is accepted into a festival, make sure you attend the same. The festival is your opportunity to sell both yourself and your film.
Look for film festivals that are film markets. Many film festivals are considered “film markets,” meaning buyers attend with deep pockets and look to purchase films.
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Send Out Your Film
Your film will not be seen if it does not leave your hands, so a large part of independent film marketing is to get your film in as many hands as possible. Distribute copies to everyone you know, but be sure to watermark them to protect from piracy. Sending your film around will only better your chances of it being seen by the right people. It’s all about who you know and chances are the person you know may know someone else with the right connections.
Many local theaters offer a “Four Wall Deal.” A “Four Wall Deal” is made with a theater that allows you to pay a fee to buy out the theater for a set period of time. You then receive all profits from ticket sales. One key reason filmmakers choose to self distribute as a form of independent film marketing, is that “theatrical release” status will allow for press to attend the theater. This will lead to a review in a local or major paper and can be a make or break for your film. A great film review could lead to a distributor wanting to purchase your film.
If you've made it this far, don’t give up now. This is your calling card so do not be shy or afraid to get your film seen by the public. This is a great opportunity so be proud of your work.
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