For filmmakers unfamiliar, or in the process of becoming knowledgeable about the distribution landscape, it is iW's hope that these profiles will serve as a tool in that process. The companies polled in today's roster as well as those early last month made important recommendations. Most agree that it is vital to understand how a project might fit into their overall distribution strategy.
The surveys themselves include examples of each company's slate, advice for filmmakers, names of people who handle their acquisitions (if applicable), distribution platforms they handle, the rough proportion of their roster that is acquired via film festivals and the specific festivals that they target.
Distributors typically attend numerous festivals - the big ones (Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, SXSW, Tribeca), in addition to regional and niche events, though usually on a lesser scale. While it's commonly accepted that it's usually necessary to have buzz at one of the major fests to sign a deal with one of the big names in distribution, many outfits will attend other events that fit into their strategy, such as genre or documentary.
Perhaps not a surprise, some companies were more forthcoming in what they shared than others (all information provided in the individual profiles are from the companies themselves). Still, there is certainly insight to be had. Samuel Goldwyn Films said that, "While we do not focus on specific kinds of films, we are partial to those which cater to underserved audiences."
IFC Films, which is the American home for dozens of titles both domestically made and those from abroad said, "IFC Films prides itself on its diversity when it comes to the types of films we acquire and bring to audiences." In addition to their large array of non-English content they also focus on work from home, noting "We release American independents of all shapes and sizes including many more low and micro-budget films than anyone else."
Kino Lorber shared this about their company: "We deliver the classics and 'the classics of tomorrow' through highly curated selections played in cinemas around the country." Continuing they added, "Roll up your sleeves and get to work…we look upon our filmmakers as partners and advance a D.I.T. strategy (Do It Together)..."
Readers of these profiles may also want to check out iW's general tips for festival and distribution strategy, inspired by the "Ask the Experts" panel indieWIRE hosted at the HSBC offices in Midtown Manhattan over the summer.
Without further adieu...
New Distributor Profiles:
Previously Published Profiles:
[Micah Sachs contributed to this article.]