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Saturday, January 16, 2010

From Sunday's NY Times: "Declaration of Indies: Just Sell It Yourself!"

NY Times film critic Manohla Dargis was at Distribution U. last November at USC, working on a piece about the revolution in indie film distribution.

Her piece appears in Sunday's paper, giving prominent play to the revolutionary ideas and efforts of people like Peter Broderick, Jon Reiss, Sacha Gervasi, Andrew Bujalski, and David Lynch. The opening:

    LAST November inside a conference room at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, a film consultant named Peter Broderick was doing his best to foment a revolution. Mr. Broderick, who helps filmmakers find their way into the marketplace, was spreading the word on an Internet-era approach to releasing movies that he believes empowers filmmakers without impoverishing them economically or emotionally. Mr. Broderick divides distribution into the Old World and New, infusing his PowerPoint presentation with insurgent rhetoric. He has written a “declaration of independence” for filmmakers that — as he did that afternoon — he reads while wearing a tricorn hat.

    In the Old World of distribution, filmmakers hand over all the rights to their work, ceding control to companies that might soon lose interest in their new purchase for various reasons, including a weak opening weekend. (“After the first show,” Mr. Broderick said, repeating an Old World maxim, “we know.”) In the New World, filmmakers maintain full control over their work from beginning to end: they hold on to their rights and, as important, find people who are interested in their projects and can become patrons, even mentors. The Old World has ticket buyers. The New World has ticket buyers who are also Facebook friends. The Old World has commercials, newspapers ads and the mass audience. The New World has social media, YouTube, iTunes and niche audiences...

Well worth a read. And here (again) is the video interview that Peter and I shot at Sundance 2009, talking about the future of indie film distribution. (We also hope to do at least one other edition of Distribution U. in 2010, so stay tuned.)

The Future of Indie Film Distribution: Peter Broderick from Scott Kirsner on Vimeo.

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