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by Bryce J. Renninger
August 12, 2011 3:53 AM
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The Kickstarting Never Stops: Three Sundance Films Are Looking for Distribution Dough

Calvin Lee Reeder's "The Oregonian."

Filmmaking may be democratized by more-affordable technologies, but it still costs a hell of a lot of money to get your film seen. From making prints to booking theaters to sales agents to publicists, the expenses stack up. From the 2011 crop of Sundance films, three are currently searching for funds to get their films out to a wider audience.

U.S. Dramatic Competition film "On the Ice" joins Park City at Midnight alums "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" and "The Oregonian" in a quest for funds from, yes, People Like You. Take a look at what they're looking for below.

"On the Ice"

The Project: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's "On the Ice" debuted as part of the U.S. Narrative Competition and Native Showcase at this year's Sundance Film Festival, won a Crystal Bear in the Generation 14+ youth section of the 2011 Berlinale. In "On the Ice," set in the ice-cold reaches of Barrow, Alaska, two young Iñupiaq men, Qalli and Aivaaq, must cover up the death of a friend of theirs -- a death that was partially their fault.

Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $80,000

Distribution Plan: From Kickstarter: "Despite the success we’ve had on the festival circuit, traditional distributors are scared of a film with no famous faces, set in a community far outside the mainstream. Awards or not, they don’t want to take a chance on a small, independent film without recognizable stars to help sell it.

"It’s been great taking this film all over the world and introducing it to audiences, but we didn’t make this film just to play it in festivals. So we’re finding another way. Through Kickstarter we’re hoping to raise enough to be able to release the film in at least ten theaters across the country.

"Many great films over the past few years never made it to theaters because the industry couldn’t find a place for them, but with your help we can prove that it is possible for a film like ours to succeed - that audiences will come to a film with a fresh voice, a story full of suspense and humor, with characters and a world unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. We think 'On the Ice' deserves to be seen, and we hope you do too."

Kickstarter Page


"The Oregonian"

The Project: Calvin Lee Reeder's creepy atmospheric "The Oregonian" creeped out the Kickstarter staff as well as audiences at Sundance and beyond. The film sends the viewer into the deep forest in the Pacific Northwest, where a host of surprises -- a lost and wandering woman, an intimidating trucker, a woman with strange powers -- await.

Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $8,500

Distribution Plan: Able to find theatrical distribution with Cinemad Presents and digital distribution through the Sundance Institute, "The Oregonian" writes: "With the money we raise here we will be hiring a publicist, printing posters and hopefully running a few ads in local weeklies. These things will get the word out and we need that. The Clinton Street theater in Portland is an amazing venue, but it's way cooler when people are actually there. So, in an attempt to fill some seats and make people aware of its very existence, we need some help!"

Kickstarter Page


"Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same"

The Project: Part of Sundance's Park City at Midnight genre program, Madeleine Olnek's "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same," about the troubles of a group of intergalactic visitors in the New York lesbian dating scene, had audiences rolling in the floors. Now, the film is setting out on its own course to bring the film to a larger audience.

Amount Project is Looking to Raise: $7,000

Distribution Plan: She's looking more for finishing funds than money for self distribution. Says Olnek on her Kickstarter page, "While the film is in watchable shape -- and getting great responses -- I need money to finish the details and get it ready for distribution. It's not much, and it will allow me to really get the film out there to the underserved lesbian space alien community. There is already interest but only if I do the final push and get all the i's dotted and t's crossed. I really appreciate anything you can give. I believe in making films for as little as humanly possible -- and in making them as funny, interesting, and great as inhumanly possible."

Kickstarter Page

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8 Comments

  • Amnethyst | April 2, 2012 12:58 PMReply

    Hello, can anyone help me with where i can look to help a friend get his 2 films looked at? They are produced independantly and soley by my friend, and are called Weed Wolf and Alabama Sasquatch, they are needing a person to take a look at the films and see if they can help with the distribution of the films. Check them out at facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Weedwolf/138724382825307.

  • Shay | September 9, 2011 5:16 AMReply

    This is all such BOGUS information , filmmakers, from the GROUND UP do some RESEARCH, Sundance and the other 7000 film festivals are scams, and this so called news, and everything else is just to dupe you out of your hard earned dollars.
    Sundance is a big scam fraud, if you don't know what this is about , do yourselves a favor and find out what other filmmakers are realizing, hear their own words.
    Scam Fest the Movie
    http://sundancefilmfestival2012.com

  • Marcus | August 15, 2011 10:46 AMReply

    What's wrong with VOD and low-budget online promotion? Not every film should be in theaters. $80k is asking a lot from people.

  • Harvey Part 2 | August 14, 2011 6:19 AMReply

    Tom, please let us know which distributors you are referring to? I think there are 1000 film makers who'd love to meet this utopian distributor wonderland.

  • Tom | August 14, 2011 4:34 AMReply

    IFC, Zeitgeist, Cinema Guild, Kino, Oscilloscope, Strand, Film Movement, First Run, Magnolia, Variance, New Yorker, Shadow, Balcony, Sony Classics. To name a few. Plenty of others are out there as well.

  • Greg | August 12, 2011 12:23 PMReply

    Heddy B, what company are you with that is putting out films without famous faces. Would love to know. Please identify your company, and let us know what films your company has been a part of. Don't talk about it, be about it.

  • Heddy B. | August 12, 2011 7:36 AMReply

    Amen to both of y'all. I work at an indie distributor and we pretty much ONLY release films with no famous faces set in communities far outside the mainstream. *That's what we do.* I think Tom may be right that by "traditional distributors" they mean "big distributors" (which is fine, but if that's what they're after I don't see why this is on indieWIRE).

  • Tom | August 12, 2011 4:39 AMReply

    I'd really love it if the filmmaker of ON THE ICE could list just 5 "great films" over the past few years that never made it to theaters because "the industry couldn’t find a place for them." Just 5. That's all I ask.

    The idea of a distributor being "scared of a film with no famous faces" is ridiculous. Unless the filmmakers are looking for a deal with Warner Bros., there are dozens of companies out there that release films "with no famous faces." My guess is, if the distributors passed on this film, its because they didn't like it. Right or wrong.