Rethinking Indie Distribution

This year at both Sundance and Slamdance, many of the discussions have focused on the issue of the changing distribution landscape, a conversation that has been playing out in a variety of venues over the last several years, both in response to the crisis in the Indiewood model and to the multiplication of distribution channels.

One of the most thorough explorations of these discussions comes from Scott Macauley in the Filmmaker Magazine blog, where he reports on the Slamdance/Open Video Coalition summit.  Among other details, Scott points out what seems to becoming conventional wisdom about the changing role of festivals as more and more films receive “online premieres” or use social networking tools in order to build interest, with Slamdance director Paul Rachman arguing that film festivals should serve as educational and networking opportunities: “Filmmakers should come to a film festival and leave completely educated the morning after they return home… A filmmaker should go back home, start emailing, picking up the phone, getting in a van and going somewhere with their film.”

But as usual, one of the major emphases from Jon Reiss, Lance Weiler, and others was the emphasis on transmedia storytelling and the need for indie filmmakers to create experiences that will operate on multiple platforms.  Christy Dena cited Peter Greenaway as an example to suggest that this can include art installations, in addition to web series.

Scott also reports on the New Breed videos, which are also asking a number of similar questions about the future of distribution.  Interview subjects include Brian Newman, Dan Mirvish, Jon Reiss and Ira Deutchman (here is part one).

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