The inaugural edition of the San Francisco Film Society's A2E: Artist to Entrepreneur labs took place during the 56th San Francisco International Film Festival and attempted to tackle head-on issues of economic sustainability for independent filmmakers and how digital distribution is changing the industry. (Read Indiewire's report from the event and our interview with its creator Ted Hope.)
Today the SFFS announced the outcome from the four-day program of presentations, network events and one-on-one discussions, which let to the participating companies, including Vimeo, Gravitas, Kickstarter and Indiewire's parent company SnagFilms, making serious commitments to the program's 12 filmmaking teams in the form of discounts, marketing and promotional opportunities, consultations and more. All platforms agreed to work together in such a way that none of their offers would require exclusivity, while A2E direct distribution consultants, among them Peter Broderick, Paola Freccero, Dylan Marchetti, Marc Schiller and Ruth Vitale, have pledged to make themselves available for private consultation with all the A2E filmmakers.
"I've heard it said that only 100 people or so saw the Velvet Underground or the Sex Pistols play for the first time -- yet those bands formed and went on to change the world," said Hope in the announcement. "We had 12 platforms, 12 filmmaking teams and eight consultants, and all committed to work together to build a better infrastructure for indie film. The shift won't happen overnight, but something started in that room. Indie film has changed its game, if not its name."
Here's a look at what the A2E partners have offered the filmmakers:
As to how the participating filmmakers felt about the event, Tommy Oliver, the director/producer of "1982," said that "A2E was quite honestly a watershed moment for me as a producer regarding the way I think about financing and distribution." "This is an incredibly exciting time for filmmakers. But it's also unrealistic to expect them to wake up one morning, take off their creative hat and put on a marketing one, and know what to do next," added Marchetti. "That's why filling a room full of filmmakers, distribution experts and technology innovators for a weekend at A2E seems like such a simple idea -- after the experience, I think it's borderline criminal it hasn't been done until now." "Car Dogs" director Collis called A2E "a giant step away from the abyss into which the indie film business and the culture of cinema is rapidly slipping," while Gravitas founder and CEO Nolan Gallagher said that "A2E and the San Francisco Film Society share a sense of purpose for the future of independent film and I was honored to share the ground floor with other innovators helping to mold what can happen next in direct distribution."
Many of the A2E filmmaking teams have offered to share case study data about their direct distribution experiences with their projects.