With Sundance kicking off a lot of us start reflecting on whether when you have a completed film, is it the ‘right’ choice to wait for a premium festival premiere and what impact will that have on the distribution of your film.
I’m getting these questions a lot lately since there’s a rash of Tier 1 festivals approaching – Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, and Tribeca in the next few months…
For me, the short answer is that seeing how tough it is to get noticed in the marketplace for docs, dramas, comedies, and art house, YES it’s worth the wait of maybe 6 months to try and get a festival premiere.
When presenting a client’s film to buyers (In these genres) they always (always!) ask me – which festival are you premiering at?
So yeah, I recommend it!
If I have a horror film, I also look at horror fests. If I have a doc, I also look at doc fests. This is of course in addition to the usual suspects Tier 1 fests.
One of my films got into SXSW and it took all we had to wait patiently for six months waiting to hear back knowing full well it could be in vain. But we got in! And it will make a HUGE difference in the outcome of the film and the career of the filmmaker.
On another film that I’m consulting on, while waiting for festivals we are testing the waters with international sales agents since this particular film has huge international potential. Where we’re holding back is introducing the film to domestic buyers.
In short, I think sometimes people jump the gun because they can’t bear to wait it out but personally I like to play the long game and reap the benefits of patience :)
What about you? Are you currently in the process of waiting it out for festivals or jumping the gun to get distribution (any distribution!)…?
Let’s discuss in the comments section below…
On that note, I’ll wrap things up for today. Those of you braving the cold in Sundance – I hope you have a great time!
I’ll speak to you all again soon….