The “Albuquerque film and media experience” (AFME) ran for 8 days & ended today on June 8, 2014. One of the final panel discussions was called, “Financing your film & distribution” held at the Hotel Cascada. The panelists included, Mark Min, Bob Singer, Peter Touche, Yvonne Maria Schaefer, Joshua Michael Stern & Sylvia Caminer. These experienced filmmakers gave insight on how to finance your film & get distribution for it.
Native American SAG/AFTRA union member, Roscoe Pond attended this panel to gain more information so that he could gear his screenplay “Tribal Cop” into production. Roscoe wasn't the only filmmaker in the audience today. Peter Touche asked how many were in the film industry. 90% of the audience raised their hands in the air.
The first topic was how independent filmmakers stood outside the major Hollywood studio system. All the panelists had worked in Hollywood as well as in the foreign distribution markets. The conversation went toward the power that is “Video on Demand” (VOD). It is cutting into the market where many productions go into limited theater release, along with VOD at the same time. More & more film stars are going independent because they want to be seen with VOD.
Independent money is higher now than it ever was before. European production not high because distributors want U.S. release first so they can make money in Foreign markets later. The competition is getting fierce each year because anyone can make a film with their own computers. It is all about “passion” & how much noise you can make around your production. Film festivals now have major competition. An example is “Toronto”, where over 400 films were submitted & only 200 were chosen. A handful of movies get lost in the shuffle.
There was talk about “packaging” your film before going to a distributor. That means, movie stars attached to independent film productions. It has to be low budget along with valued actors or actresses. Most actors with “name value” will come down from a $10 million pay check, only if the screenplay story is good. Also, talent agents look for incredible roles for their acting clients with independent films. A lot of that talent take back-end deals of production contracts. When the film makes money back, the acting talent receive a percentage of the profits.
There were so many questions to ask that Roscoe Pond only got to ask one. He had asked about crowd-funding a production. The panel agreed that it was a great idea, but you have to research organizations like “kickstarter.” It all depends on how you budget your film and where you want to go with your project. Movie & TV stars are bringing their productions to “kickstarter” & get funding.
The time went by so fast that we all wished there was another hour to discuss the indie film industry. AFME did a wonderful job organizing panels like this for the struggling filmmakers.