Coelho puts MySpace on hold for Festival gamble

January 11, 2009

After first signaling that he was ushering in a new era of filmmaking and distribution, Paul Coelho is apparently re-thinking the distribution plans  for  Experimental Witch.

When I first heard about it, I looked forward to following  Coelho’s crowd-source filmmaking experiment for Experimental Witch, when he announced his plans to solicit MySpace friends to help make the film, and then distribute the film in partnership with MySpace. The plan sounded innovative and fresh, and his announcement of the winners of the MySpace competition signaled this might really work. I had visions of a new model for filmmaking and film distribution.  Very exciting stuff!

Turns out, the monumental shift I was anticipating may be a while coming. Coelho appears to be sliding back towards the classic ‘festival first’ mentality. It seems a “major European Festival” is considering accepting the film as long as it’s not shown anywhere else first, including on the internet. Coelho, hoping to grab critical attention, as well as a possible theatrical distribution deal, by showing the film at major festivals, announced he’s delaying the MySpace premiere while he woos the festival circuit.

This is turning into to a textbook case of old-world film distribution clashing  against, rather than embracing, new-world approaches to reaching audiences:

Old-world: Exclusivity.  Filmmakers allow their films to be trapped by a festival vs. New-world:  Open and accessible.  Filmmakers insist on distribution freedom.

I wonder if the day will ever come when festivals drop this archaic requirement of  our-festival-first exclusivity, and realize that festival audiences are not necessarily the same as global audiences, and that one doesn’t negate the importance of the other. 

I can only imagine the MySpace filmmakers that contributed to Experimental Witch, not to mention Coelho’s fans, are disappointed in the delay.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.


Film distribution: old world vs. new world

October 2, 2008

I’m back from taking some time off from work and blogging and facebooking and twittering and MySpacing and virtually everything else.  It felt good to unplug and get away for a while, and enjoy the beauty and quiet of nature during the unfolding of Autumn in New England. 

Now it feels good to dive back in.

If by chance you haven’t yet read this wonderful 2-part article from IndieWire that discusses film distribution in the old world vs. the new world, I urge you to take the time to do so: part 1 and part 2.

Links: interesting happenings in indie filmmaking

July 6, 2008

As competition for audiences, especially for indie films, becomes fiercer than ever,  the exploration of alternative methods for finding audiences and attaining distribution is increasingly becoming the focus of discussion, and in some cases, the deciding factor in actions, for independent filmmakers.  Here are just a few recent samples:

  • An award-winning indie filmmaker pulls out of his distribution deal with IFC Films and opts for self-distribution. [via Cinematical]
  • The discovery and distribution film festival, From Here To Awesome, announces DIY Days, a series of workshops and panels focused on film funding, creation, distribution and sustainability.  FHTA will also soon announce which films have won a spot in the festival showcase.
  • An indie filmmaker (full disclosure: he’s my client), having already bought into the idea of joining the conversation with film audiences, takes it one step further by opening his own blog and recruiting actors whom he has directed to blog with him.
  • A group of filmmakers, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists and consultants is putting together “a two-day conversation” to talk about how new technology is changing the business of making film.

Vote for your favorite AWESOME film

April 18, 2008

Audience voting has begun in  From Here To Awesome – a Discovery and Distribution Film Festival . Over 70 films from around the globe are participating in the fest, including shorts, features, and documentaries. Some films are making their world premiere at FHTA. At least one film is also an entry in the Tribeca Film Festival. All the films have embraced the “embed-and-spread” philosophy of reaching out on the Web to find and build an audience.

Check out the film’s FHTA submission videos to discover why the filmmakers think their film is awesome. Rate their videos, favorite, subscribe to their various on-line presence points and help determine which films get a variety of distribution opportunities.

March 31 deadline for From Here To Awesome film submissions

March 27, 2008

Filmmakers, you’ve got until next Tuesday to submit your film to

 From Here To Awesome – a discovery and distribution film festival.fhtalogo2.jpg

 If you’ve been struggling to find and build an audience for your film, if you’ve been unsure or unsuccessful with distribution alternatives, if you’re seeking new methods for building buzz about your film, then this festival is for you.  There’s no entry fee!

‘From Here To Awesome’ update: how festivals fail; and an awesome solution

February 21, 2008

From Here To Awesome

Short films and mobile distribution

February 18, 2008

In his review of an article about Robert Redford’s support for reviving the short film genre by distributing them via mobile phone platforms, M3’s Chris Thilk thinks the successful business model for mobile distribution of short films will be subscriptions for ad supported programming with carrier agreements. He may be right.

And, as it happens, mobile distribution is just one of the many distribution platforms available to filmmakers participating in From Here to Awesome – a discovery and distribution festival. So if you’re a filmmaker with a short film or two, submit your short to the festival and be a part of the cutting edge on mobile distribution of short films.