Exploring New Distribution Models for Independent Films Including the Latest: Virtual Theatrical

Hosted by Kristin Harris

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Kristin Harris

Webinar hosted by: Kristin Harris

VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment

Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Ms Harris currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. In addition to her duties at Good Deed, Ms Harris has spent time teaching at UCLA Extension, and maintains an active speaking and guest lecturing schedule, having participated in panels, mentorship programs and events at SXSW, Cannes, and LAFF. Ms Harris is an alumna of UCLA where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Theater closures brought on by the global pandemic are now leading exhibition and distribution communities to work together and think outside-the-box in order to preserve the arthouse theatrical landscape. Imagine a world without arthouse theaters. It’s a bleak concept for cinephiles and filmmakers alike. In a world where landing a traditional, theatrical commitment from a distributor is like winning the golden cup, what are our options when none of those theaters are open? More so, how do we keep independent theaters, already operating on thin margins, alive to fight another day and provide filmmakers, producers and financiers viable options to make profits on their films? Thankfully, there's a new an exciting option to explore.

Navigating a successful theatrical release is an enormous challenge, in and of itself, when exhibition is operating normally. Add in a global pandemic and those challenges rise even higher. What are the options? Does your distributor simply claim force majeure and rush you into the home entertainment landscape? Will the home entertainment revenues be hurt by the lack of theatrical exposure? How do theaters survive and make money when they can’t have patrons at their physical locations? In times of crisis, it’s always impressive to see innovation born of necessity. Behold the birth of the "virtual theatrical" release, which has emerged and become a key player in these virtual times. But what is that exactly? How does it work? Can you make money and are other digital platforms willing to accept theaters playing in their sandbox? It’s the new Wild West. 

Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. Kristin has been at the forefront of this emerging distribution option "virtual theatrical" and will bring her experience to the Stage 32 community for you to understand what it is, how you can make money for your film from it and if it's right for you.

Kristin will go over the current theatrical distribution landscape which has been affected by the COVID19 pandemic and discuss current available options for your film's distribution. She will introduce a brand new type of distribution, virtual theatrical, and break down the players, how it works from a macro and micro level and how it makes money. She'll go over how to navigate this new reality and how virtual theatrical folds into traditional and non-traditional release plans, reporting and logistics. She'll go over the pros and cons of a virtual theatrical release and help you decide if it's the right thing for your film. She'll also discuss what the future holds for distribution and buying habits in the current environment. These are challenging, yet exciting times for the industry and especially for those working in independent film. Kristin will give you all the current information and guide you through all scenarios including virtual theatrical to assure that your film has the best chance at profitability.

 

Praise for Kristin's Stage 32 Webinar

 

"Very informative and have learned a great deal. Will definitely put to use for our Feature Film Projects. Thank you!"

-Haskell A.

 

"The webinar was cutting edge and valuable information"

-Angela G. 

 

"Very good practical information detailed enough to get the lay of the land on this topic."

-James P.

 

"Great info in a new age."

-Mary M.

What You'll Learn

  • What Has Happened With Traditional Theatrical Distribution During the Pandemic?
    • A quick overview of the traditional independent theatrical landscape
    • Where are we now that physical locations have closed? Both from the perspective of exhibition and distribution.
    • What are the options?
    • Why is supporting the independent ecosphere so critical?
  • The Birth of the Virtual Theatrical
    • What is it exactly?
    • Who are the players?
    • How does it work – Macro and Micro?
    • Real world case study examples: EXTRA ORDINARY and LUCKY GRANDMA
    • But can this thing actually make money?
  • Navigating this New Reality
    • Reporting and holdovers
    • Consumer and exhibition learning curves
    • How does virtual theatrical fold into traditional and non-traditional release plans?
    • What about the majors and how is exhibition adapting?
    • Will this exist after theaters re-open?
    • How long can my film remain in virtual theatrical release?
    • Will theaters become direct competitors of major transactional platforms?
    • What about awards qualifying?
    • The risk of oversaturation and importance of curation
  • Is a Virtual Theatrical Right for my Film’s Release?
    • Pros and Cons
    • Logistics
    • The effects on PR, Marketing and other release mechanics
  • Where Do We Go From Here?
    • Predictions for the future
    • What looms ahead in the coming months?
    • How are indie distributors adapting for the 2020/2021 slate
    • Buying habits in the current landscape
  • Q&A with Kristin

About Your Instructor

Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Ms Harris currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated, LOVING VINCENT. In addition to her duties at Good Deed, Ms Harris has spent time teaching at UCLA Extension, and maintains an active speaking and guest lecturing schedule, having participated in panels, mentorship programs and events at SXSW, Cannes, and LAFF. Ms Harris is an alumna of UCLA where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature

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The landscape of distribution has shifted dramatically over recent years and continues to change in this post-pandemic world. If you have completed your feature film and are trying to secure distribution, it can be difficult to even know where to start, much less which option is the best fit for your specific project. Is theatrical, streaming, or VOD your best bet? Will the film festival circuit help you? What can and should a distributor do for you? Before making a decision, it’s important you understand what options are actually available and what the distribution marketplace really looks like today. While there are more places than ever to go to for distribution, there’s also more competition for your project to be noticed by distributors and, once distributed, for viewers to decide to watch your film over the other thousands at their fingertips. Moreover, with so many companies and services in this space, it can be difficult to determine which companies are actually on the up-and-up and which will treat your film with the respect it deserves. If you’re trying to get your film picked up right now or hope to have your feature project distributed in the future, the most important step is to understand what the landscape looks like today and what your options actually are. Let’s break it down for you. Kristin Harris is a seasoned entertainment executive who has spent the past 15 years in the independent distribution space. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as VP, Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award Nominee, TO DUST, and the Academy Award nominated LOVING VINCENT. Kristin has been at the forefront of distribution as it continues to evolve and is bringing her experience to the Stage 32 community. Kristin will teach you how film distribution currently works today, what options are currently available to you and your feature film, and how to best navigate this world to ultimately get people to watch your project. Kristin will begin with an overview of how distribution works today before diving into the primary release models and options currently being used, including a discussion of which model is the best fit for your specific film. She’ll explain the rights and revenue streams you need to understand and will then lay out the primary players and platforms currently running, including all rights distributors, festivals and theatrical, digital home entertainment, non-theatrical, and streamers. Finally Kristin will go over how can you work on connecting with your audience from the very beginning to make the most of your own distribution.   Making decisions regarding distribution for your film can be a daunting task, but Kristin is going to give you the most up-to-date and comprehensive breakdown of what distribution looks like today so you can be armed with facts and strategies when finding the best release strategy for your own film.     Praise for Kristin's Previous Stage 32 Webinar   "Very informative and have learned a great deal. Will definitely put to use for our Feature Film Projects. Thank you!" -Haskell A.   "The webinar was cutting edge and valuable information" -Angela G.   "Very good practical information detailed enough to get the lay of the land on this topic." -James P.   "Great info in a new age." -Mary M.

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