Seattle Office of Film + Music


WITH A LITTLE HELP, SELF-DISTRIBUTION CAN BE A VIABLE OPTION FOR NEGLECTED INDIES

Hollywood Reporter
As the indie theatrical market continues to struggle, more producers and financiers are shouldering the distribution burden themselves. “The way the independent landscape is right now a lot of good quality independent films don’t see the light of day,” says Stephen Raphael, a New York-based consultant who worked on the indie drama Ballast, along with filmmaker Lance Hammer, after it won an award at Sundance. “We ended up releasing it in 25 markets and in nontheatrical and arts institutions, at universities,” Raphael says. One of the year’s success stories, Valentino: The Last Emperor, went DIY so the filmmakers could retain key rights. Truly Indie, a Dallas company owned by Marc Cuban and Todd Wagner, helped them “four wall” the initial release (rent out the theaters). After a month riding a wave of favorable reviews and publicity, Truly Indie handed off Valentino to L.A. consultant David Schultz, who then booked it in theaters in 125 different cities for a gross of about $1.7 million. Truly Indie isn’t alone in helping facilitate self-distribution. Such for-hire outfits as Freestyle Releasing and Vivendi Entertainment are filling the gap left by the demise of indie players like Warner Independents and Picturehouse.


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