Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

October 21 at 8:33am

How Big Brand Sponsorship Saved Our Indie Film (pt 2 of 2)

By Ted Hope

Guest Post by Amy Lo.  Yesterday Amy started the tale of Planet B-boy‘s march into brand sponsorship and how they teamed up with Samsung.  Today she concludes with how it was a win/win and some thoughts towards the future.

Taking the long view
We were relieved that our immediate need for post production funds was met, but our proposal also kept the door open for a much bigger fish to fry: distribution. Our initial strategy was the typical indie film non-strategy of keeping the film under wraps, doing a big premiere at a festival and waiting for any offers to come along. With Samsung unexpectedly involved at an early stage, we started thinking about how we could partner with them to bring the film out, either with or without a traditional distributor. We came up with a plan for live dance events combined with the film screenings, a 25-city tour presented by Samsung.

In the meantime, we finished the film and got it into competition at the Tribeca Film Festival. We had a magical outdoor premiere on the riverfront with Fab 5 Freddy as emcee, live performances, and breakdancing lessons before the movie. More than eight thousand people turned out. We’d made it an event. We knew we could be on to something.

We pushed Samsung and came so close – with no less than the Chief Marketing Officer for North America behind us – but internal politics and timing ultimately thwarted further P&A support. Planet B-boy still had a great run with distributor Elephant Eye Films, held over in NY theaters for 10 weeks and spreading to about 50 other cities. We threw some fantastic events, too.

Working towards the future
I’m convinced there’s a still lot further to go with sponsorship and indie film, particularly for distribution and the hard work of getting finished films to audiences. Folks like Rooftop Films , Alamo Drafthouse , and Range Life are making movies more of a communal event. Film festivals, too. Brands get behind those curators without dictating programming, so if a filmmaker’s vision is clear and resonates with audiences, why not experiment with individual film releases, too? Or theaters? Kind of like the old days of TV – Wild Kingdom never had anything to do with insurance but the show’s always been presented by Mutual of Omaha. Sponsorship’s coming back for indie music , why not indie film, too?

Samsung didn’t take any ownership or approvals of the film, and our deal with them paradoxically, became our best guarantee of creative freedom, no strings attached. Sponsorship wasn’t our plan at the outset, but by focusing on the film first, by preserving its quality and originality, we had something for others, both audiences and sponsors, to get excited about.

It most likely won’t happen the same way for me again on another film, and on each project, we as producers have to be more resourceful and more imaginative than ever, looking at every option. I’m telling you this story because the lesson learned is: You never know who might save you. When some doors close, just find new ones to knock down.

Amy Lo is a 2010-2011 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow. Through her production banner Mental Pictures , she develops and produces feature films, documentaries, and new media, focusing on director-driven original stories. She can also be found on twitter @amy_lo .

For more on this subject check out: “Can Brands & Indie Films Collaborate Without Sacrificing Integrity Or Goals?

  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print


leave a comment
  1. Shenan / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    This is an interesting topic to think about. I am reminded of Brazilian films that usually involve a lot of brand/corporate sponsorship to be finished. Just look at the end credits on Brazilian films (and sometimes in the logos before the film starts) and you will usually see several corporate and foundation logos being shown. I've seen banks, oil companies, and other types of companies.

    So this may be something for

  2. Shenan / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Got cut off on the previous post:

    So this may be a new avenue of funding that could be explored much further by American (and other countries') indie filmmakers.

  3. FollowMyFilm / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Thank you again for a great two-part post, Amy. Now, here's the BIG QUESTION: how do us domestic/relational drama folks embrace what you're talking about? LOL

    I know it can be done and someone sharp and entrepreneurial like you will come up with the answer. It's just so much nicer to have “cool,” relevant, and/or niche content from the start, something to think about before one writes the script….

  4. Amy Lo / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    I think you should always start with a story you believe in and find a way forward, whatever that may be. Brands are certainly not right for most films, but the broader point I was trying to make is that on each film you need to be open-minded and creative in making the most of what you got – figure out your strengths and go from there. Good luck!

  5. FollowMyFilm / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Thanks, Amy!

  6. Jeffrey Winter / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    At The Film Collaborative (http://www.thefilmcollaborative.org), we've been trying to rope in big brands for distro sponsorship for a long while, and in my experience they aren't truly open to ONE OFF projects, but if there is a SLATE there is a much better chance. Right now we're talking to some companies of similar profile to Samsung, but around “themed slate initiatives” like Latino film, Black film, and LGBT Film. Unfortunately, I feel like trying to get a big sponsor for a single indie film may be more trouble than its worth, but if you crack the nut…please do let us all know!

  7. Lisa / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Hi Amy

    Thanks for the inspiring and informative post. Question: How long did the process of getting Samsung on board initially take? And how long from the yes to the money in the bank? Lastly, were they interested in how the money would be spent, or how you came to the sum you came to be asking for?

    Many thanks,

  8. Amy Lo / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Hi Lisa, things went faster than expected but it was a little over three months from initial contact to signed contract. There were no questions about the fees!

  9. Robin / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Hi Amy,

    working on a similar proposition at the moment, trying to generate money for charity through youtube with a 'non-worthy' comedy project and big brand sponsorship is likely to take a big role in pushing us forward. Nice to know it actually can be done. Well done.



  10. Ted Hope / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Please note that this email address is expiring. To ensure that you will still be able to reach me, please be sure to immediately update my email in your address book to ted@doublehope.com

    Thank you.

  11. Qun Lu / Oct 21 at 8:33am

    Think about the
    side of a tote Replica
    as a blank painter’s canvas on which
    to print your business logo. That canvas is spacious, <a<br>href=”http://www.copyluxury.net/herm…“>Hermes
    meaning there is lots of room to
    display Lancel
    whatever marketing message you need to
    get across to your audience. You can use the ample space to its fullest
    potential by <a<br>href=”http://www.replicahandbags-2u….“>Marc
    Jacobs Handbags

    choosing huge, bold
     print, bright colors as well as a
    captivating message.<a<br>href=”http://www.replicawatches2uk.c…“>Replica
    Aigner watches
    Laptop computer messenger bags Givenchy
    come in lots of different styles. There is laptop
    computer backpacks, <a<br>href=”http://www.handbagshermes.us/m…“>Marni
    handbags laptop computer briefcases, & lots of more. You
    can get any of them that match you style & fashion for better travel
    conveniences. Men love to wear the <a<br>href=”http://www.replica–watches.co…“>Replica
     and <a<br>href=”http://www.replica–watches.co…“>Patek
    Philippe watches
      is one of the most replicated watch brands
    worldwide, behind only <a<br>href=”http://www.breitling-watches.c…“>Breitling
    watches uk

     and Panerai. Omega watches tag
    heuer watches
    are popular, and hence there is
    a large range of Patek Philippe Omega replica watches available. These watches
    range from poor Chinese copies to the latest high-end Swiss ETA replicas with
    all the bells and whistles. <a<br>href=”http://www.rolex-replicawatche…“>Rolex
    Replica Watches


Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!