Liz Manashil was the manager of Sundance Institute's groundbreaking Creative Distribution Initiative and worked in impact distribution for many content creators during her time at Picture Motion. Prior to Sundance and Picture Motion, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the Hulu series JUST SEEN IT, which she also helped produce and direct. As a filmmaker, her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere. Her second feature, SPEED OF LIFE, was released by Giant Pictures, can be seen on Showtime. Liz spends her time advocating for filmmakers to have healthy and productive relationships with their distribution partners. Full Bio »
The barrier of entry into filmmaking has never been lower, and the opportunities for distribution have never been higher. While the channels of distribution have never been more diverse and accessible, the education for filmmakers of how to best utilize those channels is often hard to navigate. Is theatrical or VOD your best bet? Will the film festival circuit help you? What can a distributor do for you? And how much money are indie films even making these days?
With so many different opportunities and new platforms arising constantly, how do you choose the best path for YOUR film?
Content still over-saturates the marketplace and standing out has become particularly difficult. Independent films that find success in this landscape do so by being creative, by approaching distribution in unconventional ways, and by uncovering platforms and strategies that others might not have considered. Creative distribution takes a good amount of work and forethought, but it’s also fully possible for any filmmaker who’s up for thinking outside the box. First, it will be important to have a better understanding of the free and paid opportunities to market your film, connect with distributors, build audiences, and team up with collaborators who will help amplify your efforts. Let us give you the tools you need.
Liz Manashil was the manager of Sundance Institute's groundbreaking Creative Distribution Initiative and worked in impact distribution for many content creators during her time at Picture Motion. Prior to Sundance and Picture Motion, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the Hulu series JUST SEEN IT, which she also helped produce and direct. As a filmmaker, her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere. Her second feature, SPEED OF LIFE, was released by Giant Pictures, can be seen on Showtime. Liz spends her time advocating for filmmakers to have healthy and productive relationships with their distribution partners.
Liz will walk you the options you have to creatively distribute your film and strategies you can implement to build your audience and optimize your film’s release. She’ll begin by outlining the state of distribution today, how it’s changed in recent years, what success looks like now and what’s realistic or normal for independent films. She’ll then go into what ‘creative distribution’ means and how it can benefit you as an artist. She’ll teach you about film aggregators as an option for distribution, including how to find good ones, and red flags to watch out for. She’ll then discuss tips for finding traditional distributors. She’ll go over different types of distribution rights you might not have considered before and explain how to determine which distributors could be the right fit for your film. Liz will also talk about how to navigate distribution contracts and the main clauses and sections to look for. She’ll then teach you ways to market your distributed film to build your audience, with both free and paid strategies. Next, she’ll delve into impact distribution as an option for releasing your film. She’ll go over what it is and how to use this method to run a successful screening tour. Finally Liz will talk about how you should be adjusting your distribution goals post-COVID and use this time to your advantage.
With the lessons and strategies Liz lays out, you’ll be armed with an large array of ideas and practices you can apply to your own independent film to give it a release and audience you might not have thought possible
Distribution is constantly changing. Whether you are a first time filmmaker or a seasoned veteran, the landscape and the market are both constantly in flux. I'm so excited for you to join me in our session about alternative forms of distribution. I'll give you a bird's eye view of how to get your film out, how to build audiences, and how to make a difference with your movies.
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
For many independent film producers and filmmakers, approaching financiers and securing financing for your project presents one of the biggest challenges in the entire filmmaking process. How do you build your team, bring in development funds, attach name talent and work with rebates, sales estimates & distribution to attract financing all while compiling a plan to mitigate your financial risk? It can be overwhelming for a producer, especially given the ever changing landscape and the increasingly competitive nature of independent film. Your goal as a filmmaker or producer is to make your project more financially attractive to investors over everyone else presenting projects to them. What many filmmakers and producers don't know is that there's a "sweet spot" in a film budget range that will help you raise funds successfully and get the ROI your investors are looking for. Setting the budget for your feature film at between $250,000 and $2 million it opens up a variety of options for you to be able to attach the talent you're looking for, the distribution you need and make your investors money. But first, you have to understand the financial blueprint to get you there. Franco Sama has produced 25+ successful independent feature films between $250,000 - $2MM. He has worked with Oscar winner Christine Lahti, Dane Cook, Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, David Arquette, Brittany Snow, Vivica Fox, Michael Madsen and many more. He's worked with first time directors and experienced directors and has seen all scenarios when it comes to putting together financing for films. Franco knows first hand every step of the financial model needed to make a movie profitable and he's bringing this knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. You will learn how to approach your film from the investor’s point of view so you can not only get the money you need for your project but, most importantly, how your investors can get that money back with profits. You will learn how to build a team around your project that will not only make investing more attractive, but also assure you don't make mistakes when you go after funding. You'll learn the type of funding that is available to you and how to approach the investors attracted to and interested in each type of financing. You'll dissect how to get agents on your side to attach talent to your project and how to work with attorneys. You'll also learn the most effective distribution options for this type of film budget. Drawing from his nearly two decades of experience, Franco will teach you how he gets his dozens of projects financed, distributed and turning a profit, and why he stays in the “sweet spot” range between $250K-$2M. Give yourself the competitive advantage to understand the types of investors you need to approach, how to approach them, how to get talent attached, and, ultimately, how to get your film made, distributed, and profitable so your investors return again and again!
Learn directly from Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom (Short Term 12, Louder Than Bombs, It Follows, Friends With Kids)! Film festivals. They are one of the best ways to network, market your film, get feedback from judges and audiences, and most importantly, get your work seen. Even better, winning awards at festivals can help you gain major recognition and momentum as a filmmaker. But, if you haven’t submitted a film or attended a festival before, it can be a daunting task to try to get your film into a major festival such as Sundance or South by Southwest. What festival do you choose? How do you submit your film? What happens once you make it into the festival? How soon should you be booking accommodation? Questions like these often prohibit filmmakers from entering the ever-important film festivals. But fear not – we’re here to give you a breakdown of the process of getting your film into a major festival, what to expect once you’re there, and how to give yourself the best chance of making a good impression. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Amanda Johnson-Zetterstrom will guide you through the navigation of getting your film into a major festival. Amanda spent years heading up production and development at NYC production shingle Animal Kingdom. Having co-produced Destin Daniel Cretton’s film Short Term 12, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at SXSW 2013, as well as shepherding over 7 films into major festivals, Amanda knows the ins and outs of what it takes to get into a major film festival and what to do once you’re there.
Let's get one thing out of the way immediately: It's not just Hollywood anymore. Actually, let's take it one step further, it's not just the United States either. If you're a filmmaker, screenwriter or producer seeking to sell and/or distribute your content, looking to work on a consistent basis and, hopeful in building a long lasting career in the industry, you must be paying attention to what's happening around the world. The international entertainment industry now contributes to over 70% of the theatrical releases and box office receipts across the globe. And many estimate that number will grow over the coming years. But it's not just film that has seen this global expansion, television and digital content has exploded outside of the U.S. as well. Not to mention, many of the streaming platforms are now looking for film, television and other short form content that will play with a U.S. audience, but will be especially popular in specific regions overseas. So where do you begin to look where others aren't, expand your prospects and give yourself a competitive advantage? Well, right here, of course! For many, navigating the international market presents a black hole. Where can one find producers, financiers, representatives and development execs who serve these markets? How do you know what the trends are and how you may best serve them? How do you know the mandates of streamers, distributors and sales agents? Do you have a story already in hand that can be tweaked to serve an international audience? You may be surprised. We could fill 20 paragraphs with what Alexia Melocchi has achieved in her 25 year career in the entertainment business. Alexia is an accomplished entertainment industry professional with a long proven track record of success within both the domestic and international arenas. A vital contributor to the LITTLE STUDIO FILMS brand, Alexia Melocchi's expertise and footing in the entertainment industry began in the international marketplace, as both a sales agent and buyer’s representative for eleven territories, giving her diverse exposure to all types of films and functions in the entertainment industry. As a consultant she currently uses her professional relationships and expertise by providing screenplay development, packaging films, securing co- productions and arranging for US and international distribution for her clients. A regular participant at most major film and television markets as well as festivals around the world, Alexia Melocchi still pursues international acquisitions and uses a global film marketing approach for the projects of her clients as well as the films she has and is producing under the Little Studio Films banner. During her tenure as a sales agent she sold more than 50 movies to profit on behalf of her producer clients, and acquired more than 100 major studio and independent films on behalf of the Distributors she has ongoing relationships with in Italy, Greece, Latin America, Spain, France, Germany, Japan and Scandinavia. She recently handled territorial sales for Unstaged, the Duran Duran live concert film directed by David Lynch, the Italian American film American Fango directed by Gabriele Altobelli and the Australian feature Bathing Frankie directed by Owen Elliott. Alexia will teach you everything you need to know about the international marketplace and how to use your English speaking talents to get paid as a director, writer or author by international companies. She will give you an overview of the global film business including trends and how to tell global stories for a global audience. She will take away the fear and anxiety and the time suck of figuring out how to find, meet and engage international producers and financiers. She will explain the film markets and explain which ones to attend and which to skip. She will teach you the proper cultural etiquette when dealing with international decision makers. Of monumental importance, she will show you how to pitch yourself and your projects to the international marketplace and how your pitch may differ from U.S. targets. Plus, you will get a handout of resources and links for foreign resources Alexia goes over in her webinar! This is a comprehensive look at the international market and how to navigate the landscape toward opening up the world for new possibilities as a filmmaker, screenwriter, author or producer. Praise for Alexia "Great information. She covered a lot of ground and it was one of the most informative Stage 32 webinars I've attended. Thank you!!" - Debbi M. "Concise and to the point, great information on international markets, I will apply this knowledge to my debut film's development." - Francisco C. "Great advice. She really demystified a lot of what's involved. Thank you Alexia!" - S.J. "A lot of great info, but also a new way of thinking, a fresh perspective to help advance my career! Thank you!" - John E. "Great energy and to the point info. Loved it." - Sebastian T.
Let's face it, executives, producers, managers, agents, financiers, and gatekeepers in general are busy. Between meetings, reviewing content and business plans, and working with their clients and colleagues, time is at a premium. But, that doesn't mean they're not on the lookout for new material and talent. In fact, that's their job! Still, to sort through all the people and content that they confront and are presented on a daily basis can be a daunting task. They want those people and material that stands out immediately. And that's where a killer query letter or a memorable and meaningful cold call can make a huge difference and set you apart from the crowd. Talk to any executive and they'll tell you that they receive dozens if not hundreds of query letters a day. Because most of them don't have an attention grabbing subject line or little to no personalization, almost all end up in the trash. But, any executive will also tell you that if a subject line grabs them, or if the query letter shows the recipient that this was a personal, non-mass, attempt to get their attention, you have a very real shot of doing just that. The same holds true for cold calls. Having a solid, wise approach and knowing exactly what to say will give you the best chance of breaking the ice and securing the conversation you were hoping for. It's all about creating intrigue, interest, and value while approaching your subject from a place of selflessness and thoughtfulness Wendy Kram has over 20 years of experience as an entertainment industry executive, consultant, and producer, developing and producing projects for Disney, Universal and Sony Studios, HBO, Showtime, Lifetime, NBC, ABC, CBS and USA Networks. Her credits include Mad Money with Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes, the award-winning miniseries Sally Hemings: An American Scandal for CBS with Sam Neil, and current projects she's producing with Anonymous Content (the company responsible for True Detective, Mr. Robot, The Revenant, and Spotlight). As the founder of L.A. FOR HIRE, an international consulting firm, clients come to Wendy for her expertise in script development and the ability to connect projects with Hollywood A-list talent and decision-makers. With longstanding industry relationships, Wendy understands buyer and creative talent needs, and has direct access to principals at the major studios, networks, streaming providers and agencies. Creative Screenwriting Magazine ranks Wendy and L.A. FOR HIRE as one of the industry’s premiere script consulting firms. Wendy will teach you all the tips and trade secrets she's learned pitching projects and dealing directly with executives. She will show you how to craft a logline, pitch, and powerful statements for just about any situation. She will show you how to deliver your message with power and control while being engaging and confident. She will instruct you how to not only get by the gatekeepers, but to get them to remember you - to become an ally. She will show you how to avoid novice mistakes that will lead to dead ends. She will teach you how to develop leads and then how to create and nurture these relationships. Wendy will show you how query letters and cold calling can become powerful tools in your arsenal. Wonderful class - simplified and helpful information that can be applied immediately for better results. The examples at the end are totally worth it. - Cate C. One of the most generous presenters imaginable; outstanding! - Virginia Y. Wendy was really excited to be involved which was great! - Brent B. Very interesting and engaging. I loved it. - Jason A. Wendy was terrific, on point, and insightful. The Q&A was incredible. Thanks again. - Maria L.
We all know that America is bursting with talented filmmakers. Are you an independent filmmaker, cinema or digital media student, D-I-Y filmmaker or videographer? Do you have great ideas, a few skills and few filmmaking friends? Maybe you can shoot a short movie, but can you finance one, find an audience to watch it, or promote and sell it? Raindance Film Festival Founder and social media maverick Elliot Grove comes to New York to bring a fresh look at breaking into the film industry to get your movie made and seen by others. Elliot has produced over 700 short films, 6 features and trained thousands of new and emerging filmmakers around the world. Discover how to use the Raindance method and social media to build audiences, source financing and screen films. CHARGE YOUR SMARTPHONES! Join @stage32 and @RaindanceNYC and #IndieFilmNYC for this information-packed one-day seminar. DOORS OPEN at 9:15 am.
Stage 32 and Vail Film Festival have joined forces to bring you an exclusive FREE virtual Q&A with top female filmmakers from the festival! Now, no matter where you live in the world you can tune in! The 2020 Vail Film Festival took place online from May 15-17, and had a special focus on female filmmakers. In addition to film screenings, the festival included filmmaker Q&A sessions, a filmmaking workshop, and a women in film panel discussion featuring leading female producers, actors, and directors. The 2020 film program will showcase narrative features, documentaries, short films, and student films. This year's lineup includes films starring Simon Pegg, Annette Bening, Juno Temple, Alexandra Daddario, Wendie Malick, Danny Trejo, Maggie Siff, Sabrina Carpenter, Natalie Zea, Jay Mohr, Jason Ritter, Kristen Vangsness, Rose McIver, and more. The lineup for the 2020 Vail Film Festival is unparalleled, and we encourage Stage 32 members to attend the virtual festival and support their fellow filmmakers. As part of our partnership, Vail Film Festival is offering Stage 32 members an exclusive 25% off discount on all-access passes to the online festival. Stage 32 members can use the code stage32 at checkout. For more info and to purchase a pass to the online Vail Film Festival please visit: www.vailfilmfestival.com