"How I Learned to Stop Counting on Miracles and Love Self-Distribution"


What exactly is a distributor anyway, and how hard is that job, really?

No businessperson would willingly create a product with which they literally had no way to go to market.

Yet indie film, day in and day out, continues to do this. We make films hoping for a miracle: we want to make an artistically fulfilling film, go to Sundance, win an award, and watch the money come rolling in. Well, as someone that has made an artistically fulfilling film, gone to Sundance with it, and won an award, I have to tell you: a miracle is not a business plan. We chose to self-distribute our film. And it was the best decision we ever made.

Now, we were luckier than most; I have some incredible partners on the film in question. The It Gets Better Foundation, dedicated to supporting at-risk LGBTQ youth, partnered with us before the festival to help promote to our core audience and remains a potent advocate on social media and in the LGBTQ community. We have the support of the Sundance Institute, which helped connect us with a partner and investor that absolutely loved the film and saw its potential to reach an audience. As a result, we have been able to mount a robust and effective marketing campaign for our own film.
But there’s nothing stopping you from doing the same thing, if you plan properly from the early stages of making your film.

--Ross Putman

Ross will hold a robust debate about film distribution in today's market.  Challenging the notion of what a "distributor" really is.  Aggregation vs. true distribution.  He'll share his pragmatic approach to the new reality of filmmaking in the age of  Netflix, Hulu, etc.  


The panel discussion with Ross will start with a special screening of his film "First Girl I Loved," which won the “Best of NEXT” audience award after its premiere at Sundance 2016. This screening is free to the public.  Seats are very limited.  As such PASS holders will receive priority consideration.