Hi everyone! Back with another case study in my Distribution Case Study series. Today we’re talking to Anne Renton, director of The Perfect Family, which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and has been enjoying a successful hybrid distribution run ever since.
Just goes to show you how valuable a festival premiere can be in raising initial awareness for a film, that can then lead to distribution on various platforms. You’ll notice Anne also ended up doing a self theatrical release after her festival run to further raise the buzz for her film, which in her case was money well spent.
OK with that said, over to Anne…. and let us know any questions you have in the comments section below the post. Enjoy!
WHAT IS THE NAME AND SHORT SYNOPSIS OF YOUR FILM?
The Perfect Family
Suburban supermom Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner) has been nominated for the coveted Catholic Woman of the Year Award at her local parish, and only one final test remains – introducing her family to the Board for the seal of approval. Now, as she finally faces the reality of the nonconformist family she’s been glossing over for years, her meddling reaches hilarious new heights in this heartfelt and honest dysfunctional family comedy.
WHAT IS THE WEBSITE FOR YOUR FILM?
This page has the On Demand Screening info:
WHAT IS THE BUDGET (or Budget Range) FOR YOUR FILM?
WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL DISTRIBUTION PLAN FOR YOUR FILM?
My producers Cora Olson and Jennifer Dubin and I understood the realities of independent film distribution, so we always knew we may need to self-distribute. Cora and Jen had done that on their previous film, so were well equipped to handle it. We had hoped that we might have gotten a deal that made sense for us. If so, would have sold the film, but self-distribution was the next plan.
HOW DID YOU END UP DISTRIBUTING THE FILM?
Cora and Jen headed up our self-distribution strategy. We teamed up with Variance Films for our theatrical release and our day-and-date VOD release went through Gravitas. Our lead actors all participated in press for the film. Kathleen Turner was incredible with all the press she did and was totally on board with our strategy so pushed the VOD angle at every opportunity. Although our theatrical numbers were probably about what one could expect with the small distribution budget we had, our VOD numbers were more significant. We did DVD release with Virgil Films. We also were able to sign a deal with Lifetime Movie Network (the film just aired last month).
WHICH FESTIVAL DID YOU END UP PREMIERING AT AND HOW DID THAT HELP YOU TOWARDS YOUR DISTRIBUTION GOALS?
We premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. That premiere enabled us to get significant press on the film and also allowed our sales agent to invite distribution companies to the screening. (which ultimately led to the distribution deals we got!)
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE OBSTACLES YOU ENCOUNTERED WHEN TRYING TO FIND DISTRIBUTION FOR YOUR FILM?
I think in terms of looking at traditional distribution, I feel the film fell into a category of not being “indie” enough for the bigger independent distributers and too small a film for the larger distributers. So although we did have distribution offers we were unable to find a deal that made sense to us.
WHAT RESOURCES OR TOOLS DID YOU FIND MOST HELPFUL?
Very early on the process I worked with Stacey Parks as I was putting the film together. As it was my first film it was incredibly valuable in understanding the different models of distribution and how to set up a film for the best possible chance of success. It was also extremely helpful to have input on cast and how meaningful they would be in a US and foreign market. I also have found Film Independent to have a lot of great resources for all aspects of filmmaking. I found our script consultant Ruth Atkinson though a recommendation from Film Independent.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED THAT YOU DID NOT EXPECT?
During our festival run we screened at several big festivals. All the screenings were sold out, often with lines around the block and people being turned away. We had 5 sold out screening at Tribeca. One thing I learned was that festivals may be kind of a false sense of ultimate audiences. Festivals have the bandwidth to really promote your film and set of an aura of specialness around it. People are excited to be there and therefore bring that energy to the screenings. In the ‘real’ distribution world you can’t have that reach without millions of dollars behind you. You are competing for attention from films that have distribution budgets 100 times what you have. Although I did not expect our theatrical screening to have numbers like Tribeca, it was such a different experience to the festivals and, I was not expecting that.
IF YOU HAD TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Well, of course you only know things in retrospect, but I think if we knew for sure we would not find the right distributor we may have planned our distribution right after our Tribeca screening. That way, we could use the press and exposure of that festival to roll into a theatrical release.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS FROM HERE?
The film is still playing at international festivals and we are just getting going with International distribution. I am looking forward to the next project to take all I have learned and apply it with the knowledge I have now!
Any questions you have for Anne or me, please put them in the comments section below!