Friday, March 17, 2006

"Truly Indie" Distribution

I'm following up on Sujewa's recent post concerning his self-distribution road ahead and his desire to play theatrical venues. It sounds like he has a game plan, but others out there may need a little help (and he might be interested too, who knows?). :)

If you haven't heard of it - "Truly Indie" is pretty cool idea from fellow Texans (had to get that plug in) Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban. They of course have created a very nice situation for themselves with producing and financing movies under 2929 Entertainment; distributing movies via Magnolia Pictures (and they now have created a DVD distribution arm); distributing movies in HD on HDNet; and they own the Landmark Theater chain. This is where Truly Indie really comes in.

What is Truly Indie? From their website...

Our mission is to find quality films that have been overlooked and get them seen.

Truly Indie provides independent filmmakers direct access to all the services of a professional theatrical release. We deliver everything your film needs, from access to the right theaters in all major markets, to custom crafting the marketing, publicity and advertising campaigns.

Truly Indie is your way around the traditional distribution system.

We help you act as your own distributor. You choose the theaters. You control the advertising. You control your future.

Check out their website for more details and see some of the first films to try this model. One of them is the Indpendent Spirit Award winning film "Cavite" (which I'd like to see - it was shot on mini DV in 24p on the Panasonic DVX100).

Keep in mind with this YOU are the distributor, so that means YOU have to come up with the cash to pay for advertising, publicity, etc. Truly Indie gives you the support, expertise and ultimately the venues to show your film.

It's definitely an interesting alternative to traditional "four walling". You're still paying for it, but you don't have to carry a projector and DVDs (or your only film print) around in your car and show the movie in some back alley in downtown Omaha. Although, that can pretty be fun too.



Josh Boelter said...

Interesting. Thanks for posting that. I'm not sure I want self-distribute, but I will if I have to. It's good to know there are options.

Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

Thanks for the Truly Indie post. I know about it & have been following its activities, and way down the road (after phase 1 - very limited DIY theatrical)it or some other similar arrangement w/Landmark or other theaters may be an option for Date Number One. However, TI is pretty much a fourwalling & ad buying program. There may be cheaper alternatives then the $40K? price tag for a handful of cities that TI offers. On the other hand, if you've got the money set aside from it, the whole thing may be a relatively comfortable transaction since Landmark is a well known brand name, programs hopefully for the kind of audience u want for your indie film. TI looks like a relatively simple distributor-for-hire service, a half step removed from basic DIY theatrical distribution where the filmmaker deals directly with various theaters.
TI could be useful for some self-distribution minded filmmakers . I know people in the indie scene have various takes on Landmark & Cuban & co, but so far talking with them have been easy, and since Visions closed I've gone to a lot of DC Landmark theaters for shows during the last couple of years.
I also like Cuban's wild entrepenuer spirit, he may fail in some new ventures but he is at least trying new things out, can't grow/the indie film biz won't grow,w/out experimentation. Landmark is not the most affordable for a few screenings though, at least not here in DC. I think whenever I can I am going to try to work w/non-profit & small indie theaters (like NWFF in Seattle for my May 19-21 gig), but since Landmark is the biggest or one of the biggest indie theater chains in the country, I'll probably want to/have to work w/them at some point. We will see how it goes :) I am sure it will be a wild ride, I'llpost photos :) :) :)


Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

"if you've got the money set aside from it"

should read "if you've got the money set aside FOR it"

sorry about any spelling errors in these comments, does blogger have spell check for comments?


Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

"and since Visions closed I've gone to a lot of DC Landmark theaters"

should read

"and since Visions closed I've gone a lot to DC Landmark theaters"



Stacy said...

There's another company doing this, They set up the screenings, sell tickets, get theatres on slow weeks, etc. The upfront cost is low or nil and for some films it can be a good way to get audience interest in a future DVD release.
I met the folks who run the company and they are good people. check it out:

Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

thanks for the bside info stacey. over the years i've heard of several companies who do distro-for-hire & indie booking work, will have to look around to see who is still around/active. will check out bsides.