More often than not, I ignore them as the feeling I get is that it's little more than someone wanting to get to our list of filmmakers. At best, it's someone with a sincere desire to assist filmmakers in reaching audiences and making some actual money, but it's not apparent these "distributors" have fully thought out either the economics or the marketing. Most damning is the cursory website check, plus 5 minute Google search, that highlights the lack of a track record that would give me any confidence in what they're offering.
However, I think I'm changing my "ignore them" strategy to a "hit them up with questions" one. By doing this I hope I won't miss the opportunities that might be viable for filmmakers (and our festival). Although, deep in my gut, I don't think that's going to happen, as savvy folks can really just go directly to the filmmakers themselves if there's a film they really believe in.
What I know this will do is inform companies contacting us is that we take distribution and the careers of our filmmakers very seriously. Festivals should be kind of like doctors in that we should always strive to "first, do no harm".
Questions I'm asking:
What type of films are you looking for? How are you finding the films? How are the rights for the film handled? Or is this more of a service deal? If filmmakers are giving over any rights, what is the time period for those rights? How wide is the release? What's your average release window? What marketing is included? What is your marketing to release window? Do you have any marketing partners? What is the revenue split? Who are your investors? What's your companies break even point? Is it an exclusive deal, or can filmmakers partner with others? Can filmmakers still do a simultaneous release of their film through other channels (digital, DVD, etc.) as it's being released theatrically?
Yes, it's been almost two months since my last post. But, I'm back baby, and my mojo is ready to do the damn thing.