Indie Documentarians Take Control of Their Own Destiny
John Tozzi writes:
...[L]ike musicians who shun record labels to sell their music themselves, anecdotal evidence suggests documentary filmmakers—already an entrepreneurial bunch—are foregoing the conventional path of shopping their films to a distributor. They're skipping such deals and using the Internet to get their stories in front of people who want to hear them.
"Indie filmmakers are getting a little bit less afraid to say no to somebody with all that power, because other new channels are opening up," says Amy Sewell, co-director of What's Your Point, Honey? Sewell, who wrote the popular 2005 documentary Mad Hot Ballroom, has opted out of the festival circuit for her latest film. She and co-director Susan Toffler walked away from a "low six-figure" offer from a distributor so they could hold on to the rights, organize their own screenings, and sell DVDs directly through their Web site.
Few people get rich making documentaries, and that's unlikely to change. But filmmakers who take control of their marketing and distribution can expand their audience and increase their chances of turning a profit, says Peter Broderick, a Sanata Monica (Calif.) consultant to independent filmmakers. "Filmmakers need to be as creative about their distribution as they are about their production," he says.
Article also includes some examples from 'King Corn' and 'Note by Note.'