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Thompson on indie distribution — video-on-demand and service deals part of emerging models

August 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 am

Variety’s Anne Thompson reports that “Indie film’s easy-money era is over, but new opportunities are emerging.”

“These days, any seller hoping to land a distribution deal at a fest or market like Toronto in September realizes that only a few lucky winners will land a seven-figure minimum guarantee from a studio specialty division.

“With New Line Cinema, Picturehouse, Netflix’s Red Envelope and Warner Independent scratched off the potential buyers list, only the most commercial, accessible and Oscar-worthy Toronto offerings will be cherry-picked by the studios’ specialty divisions….

“… But another set of indie distributors is still in the hunt for product. As Picturehouse’s Bob Berney deliberately builds the foundations of a new-model distrib, the indie sector is checking out several alternative distribution models. IFC Entertainment and Magnolia Pictures’ video-on-demand/theatrical releases, for example, have proved so successful that more distribs say they will emulate them. And frustrated filmmakers are increasingly turning to customizable — but costly — service deals to execute their own release plans.”

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