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July 16 at 8:15am

THE ECONOMY OF SELF-DISTRIBUTING BLUEBIRD

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 5.30.05 PMAbout 3 months ago we made the decision to self-distribute BLUEBIRD in North America. From the beginning, our goal was to make an intimate, quietly affecting ensemble drama. For writer/director Lance Edmands, there was a specific kind of feeling he was trying to express with the film. There was a unique sense of loneliness, solitude, and isolation that was linked directly to a region of Northern Maine and the culture that permeates the area. Lance grew up in Maine, and he felt that these melancholy emotions stood in stark contrast with the great rugged beauty of the state. We wanted to explore that conflicted feeling in way that would resonate personally with a viewer.  It was important to us to maintain the subtle, quiet tone of the film both in the way we made it and the way we brought the film to an audience. With that in mind, we spent the last year considering various distribution offers and scenarios as we traveled with the film to festivals. [...]


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May 5 at 2:30pm

Trust Is The Key To Collaboration

By Sean Durkin

Xcannes2005_08I started writing this post to ask for help with a kickstarter campaign for our new film, “James White,” but what I began to explore became much more personal to me.  I started to reflect on the past 10 years and how my partners and I got to this point. Josh, Antonio and I started Borderline Films in 2003 while students at NYU. Our goal was bold, but simple – we would all be directors and we would each make our first feature films exactly the way we wanted to. And so the journey began with us only knowing one thing for sure: that we couldn’t do it alone.

It was a blind, naive ambition, and 10 years later, almost to the day, we were in principal photography on Josh Mond’s film ‘James White’, our third first feature, following ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’, ’Afterschool’ before that. [...]


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February 12 at 3:30pm

Creating “Live” Films Can Be Artistically and Financially Fulfilling

By Sheri Candler

Originally published on www.thefilmcollaborative.org

TheMeasureofAllThingsScre_RyanJohnson_180 (2)There is a lot of talk in independent film circles about the need to “eventize” the cinematic experience. The thought is that audiences are increasingly satisfied with viewing films and other video material on their private devices whenever their schedule permits and the need to leave the house to go to a separate place to watch is becoming an outdated notion, especially for younger audiences. But making your work an event that can only be experienced in a live setting is something few creators are exploring at the moment. Sure, some filmmakers and distributors are adding live Q&As with the director or cast, sometimes in person and sometimes via Skype; discussion panels with local organizations are often included with documentary screenings; and sometimes live musical performances are included featuring the musicians on the film’s soundtrack, but what about work that can ONLY be enjoyed as a live experience? Work that will never appear on DVD or digital outlets? Not only is there an artistic reason for creating such work, but there can be a business reason as well.

In reading a New York Times piece entitled “The one filmmaker who doesn’t want a distribution deal”  about the Sundance premiere of Sam Green’s live documentary The Measure of All Things, I was curious to find out why a filmmaker would say he never plans for this work to show on streaming outlets like Netflix, only as a live event piece. I contacted Sam Green and he was kind enough to share his thoughts about why he likes creating for and participating with the audience of his work and why the economics of this form could be much more lucrative for documentary filmmakers. [...]


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July 9 at 8:30am

Words Of Advice For The 80%: Getting To That SECOND Film

By Jennifer Phang

When Ted and I spoke about a possible post here, he mentioned that 80% of feature film directors never get to make a second feature.  Why is that?

One reason is that it’s difficult to sustain the momentum of a crew. You are creating a whole village around a project which has an indefinite, but definitely finite, lifetime. Morale starts high, because the act of creation is invigorating, and then people get exhausted, because it’s a gigantic process, and along the way the money runs out, because the village grows and every new villager brings new skills and also new needs. And somehow you have to sustain the discipline to find the beauty in every shot, but also the momentum to finish the film.

The first time is not exactly traumatizing, but it can feel catastrophic, especially if you set out with high ambitions. It’s possibly your one chance to [...]


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February 19 at 1:00pm

Forward! Film Funding’s Future

By Rob Millis

Two changes in tech and finance are about to have a huge impact on independent film: crowdfunding and the JOBS Act.

We all know about Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, the crowdfunding platforms that have been helping independent creators launch projects. These platforms and others have already been hugely successful with DIY projects and direct-to-fan networking, yet even after years of growing popularity they haven’t come anywhere close to their full potential.

Last year the Slated networking and fundraising platform joined the market as well. Slated offers a system geared toward film professionals seeking (or supplying) investment dollars. Unlike previous crowdfunding platforms, Slated’s approach is less about DIY and more about professional partnerships. In short, they are taking crowdfunding to the next level. [...]


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January 17 at 1:00pm

Filmmakers, It’s 2013. Do You Know Where Your Jobs Act Is? Part 3

Written by Michael R. Barnard

FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS?
Part 3 of 3 parts.
 
Yesterday, in Part 2, we learned that cash is available and that the JOBS Act is going to give filmmakers an opportunity to more easily access that cash for investment to make movies and rebuild the independent film industry.

The Internet enlarged the playing field for securities offerings, whether valid or not, and for potential investors, whether knowledgeable or not.

How do you legally and ethically access that hoarded cash and encourage its investment in your well-developed movie project so you can hire people and make your movie? [...]


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January 16 at 1:00pm

Filmmakers, It’s 2013. Do You Know Where Your Jobs Act Is? Part 2

Written by Michael R. Barnard

FILMMAKERS, IT’S 2013. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JOBS ACT IS?

Part 2 of 3 parts.

Yesterday, in Part 1, we looked at the general state of affairs for raising money from investors for your movie, and introduced the JOBS Act for its potential to help rebuild the independent film industry in America.
Offering securities for your film is tightly restricted and regulated by the SEC. For every rule of the SEC that you ignore, your disgruntled investor’s attorneys will accuse you of fraud and deception and other wrongdoing. They will win, and collect good sums of money for their clients.
“If somebody loses their money in a film investment,” says Jeff Steele of Film Closings, “Nine out of ten times, they’re going to sue the producer. That’s how the world works. The difference between being sued by ma and pa investors or Accredited Investors is that Accredited Investors have better lawyers.”

For the definition of “Accredited Investors,” see http://www.sec.gov/info/smallbus/secg/accredited-investor-net-worth-standard-secg.htm

In simple terms – explanations that are more complex require attorneys – the process to raise money for your movie by legally offering securities is referred to generally as a “Private Placement Memorandum,” which usually costs about $15,000 or more in time and fees.

When you have your expensive PPM, what can you do with it? [...]


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