Judi Levine presents Working in the US Indie and Studio Film Industry.

Judi Levine will be sharing her insights and learnings about how to navigate the challenging distribution digital divide which has never been so important as now.

Q: What has been your experience with your recent film and navigating its direction in our challenging changing distribution business models.

In the short period between 2012 when The Sessions was distributed world-wide by Fox Searchlight, to 2018 when Please Stand By and The Catcher was a Spy were released in the US, there has been a major and daunting transformation of distribution for indie films.

No longer can we rely on the traditional process of premiering at a film festival, selling it to a distributor and seeing our precious work hit the big screen in cinemas across the country, before it eventually moves into various digital online outlets.

Instead, indie filmmakers are trying to stay in the game by going directly to the online platforms for distribution. Online platforms are also producing their own content, and we have to work harder than ever in negotiations with sales agents and at markets in general.

Compounding the challenge of creating film and TV content that will stand out in an ocean of available product, is the ease with which that content can be generated.  Smaller, affordable high-def cameras ­– even iPhones – have led to a mass supply of product, all of which can easily be uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo where it can draw the attention of thousands of viewers for insubstantial sums of money, and where audiences can often view it for free.

By contrast, the cost of theatrical release mostly far outweighs the ability to draw revenue and is becoming less and less appealing to distributors. Instead, they opt for a day/date release whereby they open in cinemas with limited release – perhaps on as few as 25 screens or less around the country – and concurrently with an online release, leaving producers to wonder how on earth they can possibly derive enough revenue from theatrical distribution to repay their investors.

Adding to this frustration is the fact that none of the online distributors – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu eta – will share any statistics about the viewership or revenue they are achieving and producers are increasingly left in the dark about the financial success of their films. In truth, many times an indie film may only be screened in a handful of cinemas for one short week in order to qualify for awards season because awards means more “ticket sales” even if those tickets are only virtual via online platforms. Even more difficult is trying to work out how to derive an income in this ever-changing market.

This current landscape is daunting and changing on a weekly basis. It is almost impossible for indie filmmakers to keep up. Many of us continue to have a passion for creating films with complex characters and beautifully crafted imagery, fully imagined for the big screen and the task of financing, producing and releasing will only be realized if we can ride this ever-changing climate with information, passion and determination.

Members: $145 +gst
Non-members: $195 +gst


Sat. 6 October 2018

10:00 am – 5:00 pm AEST

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