How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love VOD
Video On Demand is the fastest changing area of independent film distribution, with new companies and routes emerging every day, but is there money to be made by handling those rights alone? How do you go about it? What terms do companies offer? What will it cost to self-fund a theatrical to promote the VOD & DVD, what are the different VOD windows you need to exploit, and what kind of returns can be expected? American The Bill Hicks Story was an opening night film at SXSW 2010, and the filmmakers made the decision to theatrically release the film themselves day-and-date with VOD. The film was TopTen in iTunes Indy & Doc charts for almost two months, and is seeing significant returns from Pay-Per-View in 100 million homes on the Time Warner Comcast cable network. The filmmakers will take you through the process from festival premiere to VOD launch with actual numbers and input from their theatrical & VOD partners, an independent film rep and president of major distributor Magnolia Pictures.
Orly Ravid, Founder, The Film Collaborative (TFC). Orly is a 12-year industry veteran whose experience in film ranges from festival programming to acquisitions & domestic licensing and distribution, as well as business affairs and foreign sales.
The Film Collaborative is (www.TheFilmCollaborative.org) the first non-profit organization devoted to the distribution of independent cinema and related filmmaker education. TFC has already worked with over 100 filmmakers on films such as SXSW-winner WEEKEND, Oscar shortlisted WE WERE HERE, Revenge of the Electric Car, Sundance winner UNDERTOW, Sundance film and Oscar nominee GASLAND, SXSW Winner MADE IN CHINA, to name a few. Orly regularly moderates or speaks on panels at film festivals and film schools regarding new technology and digital distribution and advised Sundance on and contributes to its Artists Services initiative.
Matt Harlock is a British director whose films have been screened widely at festivals and on television. Matt and Paul Thomas co-produced/directed ‘AMERICAN The Bill Hicks Story’, an animated documentary which US premiered at SXSW 2010 and went on to win several festivals (Dallas, Little Rock, Downtown LA, Bologna). It was released theatrically in the UK (2nd highest grossing doc of 2010), Australia and made an impact in the US due to it’s innovative ‘day-and-date’ theatrical/VOD strategy.
Eamonn Bowles is President of Magnolia Pictures, the distribution arm of Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment. Bowles started Magnolia in September 2001, with partner Bill Banowsky, concentrating on independent and foreign films acquired and released on a modest scale and amassing specialized theatres strategically around the country. Early film successesincluded the Israeli film, Late Marriage, the French thriller Read My Lips, and the controversial documentary Capturing the Friedmans. In 2004, Cuban and Wagner, formerly investors in the company, bought the company outright, merging its theatres with the Landmark Theatre chain. Magnolia has since been a pioneer in developing alternative distribution strategies, such as the day and date multi-window release, to create efficient economies for the increasingly challenging theatrical marketplace. Some of Magnolia’s more prominent releases include Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior, Control Room, Woman, Thou Art Loosed, The World’s Fastest Indian, Jesus Camp, The Host, Pulse, End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, Bubble and Crazy Love among others.
Prior to his work at Magnolia, he was president of Shooting Gallery Pictures, the distribution arm of Shooting Gallery, where he oversaw the Shooting Gallery Film Series, acquiring and distributing Croupier, A Time For Drunken Horses, and Eureka, among numerous others. Before joining Shooting Gallery in 1998, he was Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Marketing at Miramax and also served as Chief Operating Officer of Shining Excalibur Pictures, the entity formed by the Weinstein brothers to distribute Larry Clark’s controversial Kids. At the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Bowles served as Head of Distribution, where he was responsible for the release of The Wedding Banquet, Much Ado About Nothing, Eat Drink Man Woman, The Madness of King George, and Go Fish. He has also served as main programmer for the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival and New York’s famed repertory theatre, the Thalia.
Nolan Gallagher is CEO of Gravitas Ventures, which he founded in 2006. Gravitas has released more than 1,000 films on Video on Demand (VOD). Through its relationships with studio and VOD operators, Gravitas can release a film into over 100 million North American homes. Previously, Nolan held marketing roles at Comcast, Warner Bros., and General Cinema. Nolan is from Cleveland, received his MBA from the USC, his undergraduate degree from Boston College and can be found on twitter @GravitasVOD.
As the founder of Variance Films, Dylan and the Variance team work directly with filmmakers to put the best independent films into theaters across North America. Variance’s model focuses on grassroots marketing, outreach, and “event-izing” theatrical runs, allowing for high visibility at a fraction of the cost of the typical independent theatrical release. Dylan endorses Hendrick’s Gin and Roland TR-808 drum machines, particularly when used at the same time.