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by Eric Kohn
April 1, 2013 9:52 AM
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EXCLUSIVE: San Francisco Film Society Launches New Digital Distribution Lab A2E

SAN FRANCISCO FILM SOCIETY LAUNCHES A2E: ARTIST TO ENTREPRENEUR

AT 56TH SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Pilot Programs Designed to Foster Entrepreneurial Skills in Today’s Filmmakers

Set to Trigger Flashpoint of Creative Innovation and Artistic Expression in SF Bay

Area San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Film Society today announced the launch of A2E:

Artist to Entrepreneur, a new suite of programs at the San Francisco International Film Festival

(April 25–May 9) designed to match independent filmmakers with cutting-edge tools for digital distribution,

outreach and audience engagement in the heart of the nation’s new frontier of technological innovation.

Under the auspices of SFFS’s Filmmaker360 program, A2E will bring filmmakers and tech pioneers

together May 2–5 in a lab-like setting to collaborate and confront the challenges facing artists today in

getting their work seen, connecting with audiences and building community.


“When we first started designing this program, we were particularly inspired by Sundance Institute's

community-minded approach to their #ArtistServices distribution platform,” said SFFS Executive Director

Ted Hope. “Just as they invited us and other organizations to participate, we are doing the same with

A2E. This is a new era of cooperation—not competition—among support organizations in film. For this

initial pilot program we've invited Sundance and our other #ArtistServices collaborators—IFP, FIND,

Cinereach, BritDoc and the Bertha Foundation—to work with us, and have invited projects from BFI, Film

London, Frameline and the Canadian Film Center. Also, none of this could have happened without the

help of Screen Australia, who sent producer Alicia Brown over to help launch A2E with the Film Society.”

A2E is the San Francisco Film Society’s first attempt to address filmmakers’ new challenges head on and

create an environment where storytelling and entrepreneurial culture intersect. The program is committed

to providing artists with entrepreneurial skills and bringing them together with leaders in technology,

engagement and investment in order to make independent filmmaking a more sustainable and profitable

enterprise for artist, industry, financier and audience. The cinematic landscape has changed—new

technology has removed almost all barriers to access yet increasingly fragmented audiences are faced

with an overwhelming abundance of content. Through A2E, the San Francisco Film Society leads the

charge in developing new tools, strategies and practices for moving-image artists in conjunction with key

players in the tech world, so all parties involved can prosper in the emerging terrain together.


A2E Direct Distribution Lab (May 2–5)

The Direct Distribution Lab is an event designed to explore various direct distribution opportunities

and identify successful financial and creative avenues for independent filmmakers. Over four days,

filmmakers, technology partners and distribution experts will consider and strategize new models of

audience outreach and engagement to determine how each film may best engage audiences in the digital

age. Through an “open source” collaborative approach, the Direct Distribution Lab will not only connect

artists, services, tools, and tech partners but also build custom plans for each filmmaker to utilize. At the

end of the process, select projects committed to a direct distribution approach will then be presented to

potential funders and collaborators in the hope of making their engagement strategy a reality. The Direct

Distribution Lab is open to narrative filmmakers (documentaries will be considered moving forward) on

an invitation-only basis. The list of participating filmmakers and tech partners will be announced in the

coming weeks.


A2E LaunchPad (May 3–4)

Held in conjunction with the Direct Distribution Lab, A2E LaunchPad will present a select group of

companies and forge productive relationships between the global filmmaking community and the

emerging film tech sphere. 20-minute meetings will be scheduled over the course of two days for

tech partners to demo their product to filmmakers from the A2E Direct Distribution Lab, international

filmmakers visiting for the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Bay Area film community

at large. A2E LaunchPad is where new players and new ideas in film technology work directly with

filmmakers to hone their offering and enable artists to use the technology from the very early stages of

the creative process. The full list of participating startups will be announced in the coming weeks; for

more information about how to participate, contact Alicia Brown at abrown@sffs.org.

For more information visit festival.sffs.org.


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8 Comments

  • Ted Hope | April 23, 2013 10:36 AMReply

    Hey "Frequent Shopper" & Larry, thanks for responding. This is a pilot program and we are trying to figure it out what can work best for the most people. It will evolve. This is a first iteration. Like anything else this lab takes time, money, and labor to put on. Submissions are a major time suck as I am sure you know. Personally, I find the fact that creators and their supporters rarely are the direct financial beneficiaries of their work an urgent call to action -- I have taken a hiatus from producing to do this. In the interest of rapid prototyping to get the urgent answers we opted to ask other film organizations to select projects instead of wading through the submission process. We have about seven partners this round, and will have more next. There are no fees for the filmmaker participants. We hope that by helping them to do more than just put it up on a platform but to strategize how to maximize revenue and views, we can start to unearth best practices that can be utilized by many. Stay tuned.

  • Ted Hope | April 23, 2013 10:36 AMReply

    Hey "Frequent Shopper" & Larry, thanks for responding. This is a pilot program and we are trying to figure it out what can work best for the most people. It will evolve. This is a first iteration. Like anything else this lab takes time, money, and labor to put on. Submissions are a major time suck as I am sure you know. Personally, I find the fact that creators and their supporters rarely are the direct financial beneficiaries of their work an urgent call to action -- I have taken a hiatus from producing to do this. In the interest of rapid prototyping to get the urgent answers we opted to ask other film organizations to select projects instead of wading through the submission process. We have about seven partners this round, and will have more next. There are no fees for the filmmaker participants. We hope that by helping them to do more than just put it up on a platform but to strategize how to maximize revenue and views, we can start to unearth best practices that can be utilized by many. Stay tuned.

  • Ted Hope | April 23, 2013 10:36 AMReply

    Hey "Frequent Shopper" & Larry, thanks for responding. This is a pilot program and we are trying to figure it out what can work best for the most people. It will evolve. This is a first iteration. Like anything else this lab takes time, money, and labor to put on. Submissions are a major time suck as I am sure you know. Personally, I find the fact that creators and their supporters rarely are the direct financial beneficiaries of their work an urgent call to action -- I have taken a hiatus from producing to do this. In the interest of rapid prototyping to get the urgent answers we opted to ask other film organizations to select projects instead of wading through the submission process. We have about seven partners this round, and will have more next. There are no fees for the filmmaker participants. We hope that by helping them to do more than just put it up on a platform but to strategize how to maximize revenue and views, we can start to unearth best practices that can be utilized by many. Stay tuned.

  • Ted Hope | April 23, 2013 10:36 AMReply

    Hey "Frequent Shopper" & Larry, thanks for responding. This is a pilot program and we are trying to figure it out what can work best for the most people. It will evolve. This is a first iteration. Like anything else this lab takes time, money, and labor to put on. Submissions are a major time suck as I am sure you know. Personally, I find the fact that creators and their supporters rarely are the direct financial beneficiaries of their work an urgent call to action -- I have taken a hiatus from producing to do this. In the interest of rapid prototyping to get the urgent answers we opted to ask other film organizations to select projects instead of wading through the submission process. We have about seven partners this round, and will have more next. There are no fees for the filmmaker participants. We hope that by helping them to do more than just put it up on a platform but to strategize how to maximize revenue and views, we can start to unearth best practices that can be utilized by many. Stay tuned.

  • Ted Hope | April 23, 2013 10:35 AMReply

    Hey "Frequent Shopper" & Larry, thanks for responding. This is a pilot program and we are trying to figure it out what can work best for the most people. It will evolve. This is a first iteration. Like anything else this lab takes time, money, and labor to put on. Submissions are a major time suck as I am sure you know. Personally, I find the fact that creators and their supporters rarely are the direct financial beneficiaries of their work an urgent call to action -- I have taken a hiatus from producing to do this. In the interest of rapid prototyping to get the urgent answers we opted to ask other film organizations to select projects instead of wading through the submission process. We have about seven partners this round, and will have more next. There are no fees for the filmmaker participants. We hope that by helping them to do more than just put it up on a platform but to strategize how to maximize revenue and views, we can start to unearth best practices that can be utilized by many. Stay tuned.

  • frequentshopper | April 1, 2013 10:54 PMReply

    So less than 600 films are picked up each year in the USA by "distributors"? This is a done deal by invitation so apparently there was no call for submissions. I don't know what if anything they are charging for this workshop, but it is by invitation only so it doesn't matter. Kind of ironic to empathize with the situation and propose to solve it by an invitation only, no submission, workshop, huh? I mean the people who are the insiders at SFFS, are the the best ones to be the entrepreneurs? I don't know. Maybe they are the least motivated.

  • Larry | April 1, 2013 5:20 PMReply

    Estimates say that 60,000 films a year are made in the US. More then 99% never see distribution much less make a profit. Filmmakers should be learning to distribute and monetize their films starting with the first 5 min. short.

  • Dan | April 1, 2013 3:30 PMReply

    The point of digital DIY distribution is to cut out the middle man. There is no need to pay for lab seminars and or cutting deals with VOD companies UNLESS they are the producer like Netflix. Just get a $200 account at VimeoPro and DIY. 'Assist" makes it sound like filmmakers are disabled somehow...