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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Planning to Make a Niche Documentary? Read This

Great piece in Variety from Anne Thompson on new ways of marketing and distributing niche documentaries. She focuses mainly on two sports docs, 'In the Crease' and 'Kicking It.' From the piece:

    In March 2005, Matt Gannon and Michael Sarner, former acquisition and marketing execs at Fox Searchlight and United Artists, respectively, put their passion for ice hockey into financing and shooting their first film, "In the Crease." The digital video doc is an underdog story of the California Wave Bantam AAA travel hockey team's two-year quest to win a national championship.

    "We set out to do 'Spellbound' for sports fans," says Gannon. Figuring that their movie would have more of a shot with some star power, the filmmakers also interviewed such hockey all-stars as Brendan Shanahan and Joe Thornton.

    After raising finishing funds, the filmmakers completed the pic and opted not to take the Sundance festival route.

    "We knew early on we'd have a hard time getting the studios to release it theatrically," says Sarner. "We didn't want to miss the holiday season. Our bread-and-butter was DVD sales."

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