The Film Collaborative: A Cheaper Way to Navigate the Distribution Maze?
How can a filmmaker choose between distribution service providers?
How can a filmmaker, considering a split rights deal, sift through the all the choices to make an informed decision?
Here's how one filmmaker put it: "In Indie distribution you can go out and hire a pricey consultant that seems to withhold information and contacts to lure filmmakers along with the proverbial distribution pot of gold, or you can attempt to wade through all the landfill that exists on the Internet yourself (it’s all there but good luck!).”
– Mark Hug, filmmaker of Lovers In a Dangerous Time
Now there is another possibility. Orly Ravid (pictured above while participating in a Florida Film Festival "New Frontiers in Distribution" panel I moderated in 2009) and a few other experienced sales agents, distribution vets and filmmakers have started a not-for-profit organization known as The Film Collaborative to provide education and distribution services to members. You should check out their website and talk to others before joining, but apparently, for under $200 you can become a member and get a preliminary consultation (in addition to many other services). If you want, you can then select from a menu of additional services for indie filmmakers, including more detailed consulting to let you know all your options, with expert advice that can help you to analyze and implement. They also offer direct digital distribution for either a 15% fee or nominal flat fees (starting around $500). Apparently The Film Collaborative can even get your films onto Cable VOD (through various partners without taking extra commissions for that) and they say they can get your film onto iTunes in the same way Distribber does. In short, this new not-for-profit offers to look at your film, sift through it all and present what these distribution execs and filmmakers would do, all in a cheap and transparent way, so filmmakers can determine for themselves where their film sits and take action where it best makes sense.
To read more about The Film Collaborative, here is a June 27th, 2010 blogpost.