Skip to content


Your cart is empty


Get the latest Ink & Cinema articles and showcase announcements. (Be sure to check your email to confirm your subscription.)

Article: Film Marketing & Distribution Guide

Film Marketing & Distribution Guide - Image of Old Film Reel Rolls

Film Marketing & Distribution Guide

The Film Marketing & Distribution Guide is an archive series of audio interviews with film industry experts, which were recorded for the Ink & Cinema podcast between 2013-2014. 

Modern Movie Distribution (with Jason Brubaker)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

In this interview, Jason shares...

  • Why you no longer need the traditional middle-man in independent film distribution.
  • Why all filmmakers should set up a crowdfunding campaign and how to use it beyond raising money.
  • 3 things aspiring filmmakers can do today to get closer to making, marketing, and selling a movie.
  • The one thing you must have to be able to direct distribute your film.
  • What you need to have in place to build a community of buyers.
  • Leveraging the social window to get your movies seen and sold.

Jason Brubaker is an independent film producer, an expert in internet movie distribution, and previously worked as the Manager of Acquisitions for Chill. He is focused on helping you make, market, and sell movies more easily by growing your fan base, building buzz, and creating community around your title.Finding a traditional distribution deal is increasingly challenging. Nobody knows this better than Jason. After failing to garner a traditional distribution deal for his first feature, he figured out how to market and sell his movie online. With his easy to follow, step-by-step system, Brubaker shows independent filmmakers how to maximize movie profits without the middle-man! Jason is a contributing author of "The Independent’s Guide to Film Distributors", and the founder of Filmmaking Stuff, a professional resource for independent filmmakers, which provides tips on screenwriting, producing, crowdfunding, directing, movie marketing, and film distribution. His articles on independent movie marketing and distribution have been featured in "Film Slate", "The Independent", and "Movie Maker Magazine".

3 Essential Filmmaking Skills You Must Master to Successfully Distribute & Sell Your Films from Jason Brubaker

1. Become an Internet Marketer
Or team up with someone who is. Why? Because there will come a time when there is no delineation between the Internet and your television. Or your mobile device. As a result of these changes, you will need to drive targeted Internet traffic to your desired point of sale and convert these visitors into customers.

2. Learn How to Crowdfund
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign requires social networking, real-world networking, and Internet marketing. Aside from raising money, your goal is to test all your movie concepts before you dive in both feet first. And, if successful, your goal is to snowball your supporters into one giant mailing list so you can gain their support for your next projects.

3. Build Your Audience
Your audience is your business. Marketing nerds have a saying, “The money is in your list.” It is now no different to filmmakers. Your ongoing goal is to create work that encourages people to sign up for your mailing list and become a fan of you and your movies, for life. Then with each project, your ongoing goal is to continually grow your list.

Free Filmmaker Checklist
The Filmmaker Action Pack
How To Sell Your Film For Maximum Profit
Connect with Jason: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | YouTube

Film Festival Publicity Strategies for Your Movie (with Amy Grey)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

In this interview, Amy shares...

  • The essentials elements of your PR toolbox.
  • What’s required for a successful film festival campaign
  • The benefits of garnering media attention for a film in vertical markets.
  • Having an awards strategy action plan.
  • Raising awareness for the filmmaker, as well as the project and its subject matter.
  • The principles behind creating persuasive material.
  • A technique to ensure your film is remembered and enhance your publicity results.
  • When to hire a publicist and bring them onto your project.
  • How to select the best publicist for you and your film.

Amy Grey founded Dish Communications in 1991 with the philosophy that relationships are at the heart of public relations. As a result she has not only been successful in developing a loyal clientele, but also has been the publicist of choice for the International Documentary Association (IDA), Television Critics Association (TCA) and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA). Amy has chosen to build both her career and company around what she is passionate about: film, television, and music. She has overseen the PR campaigns for numerous award-winning films including the Academy Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, and Emmys, as well as festivals like Sundance, Toronto, and Tribeca.Amy is proud to represent artists, directors, and producers, and give them the individualized campaigns that help further their careers.

Film Festival PR Toolbox from Amy Grey

The essential elements you need to successfully publicize your film.

1. Production Stills
Photos sell your film. Ensure you have plenty of images available of the film and crew, especially the director, as well as posed shots of the actors

2. Filmmaker Statement
A statement expressing your passion and what motivated you to make the film

3. Film Synopsis | Logline
A summary of your film that conveys the key story in only two sentences

4. Press Release
A professional press release specifically written to be of interest to journalists and media

5. Website
An internet presence that captures the “brand” of your film and includes a trailer, a downloadable electronic press kit (EPK), and information on screenings 

Connect with Amy on Facebook | LinkedIn

Best Practices for Indie Film Marketing & Distribution (with Sheri Candler)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

In this interview, Sheri shares...

  • How to easily stay up-to-date on all the latest tools and resources available to independent filmmakers.
  • Why building a personal-brand identity, and cultivating and engaging an audience is essential to sell your film.
  • The 2 things you must do before acquiring investors or making your film (or you risk not getting your movie into the marketplace).
  • Why the standard indie distribution model doesn’t work, and what to do instead to ensure your film’s success.
  • Tips for leveraging festival publicity to make money with your film.

Sheri Candler is a digital marketing strategist who helps independent filmmakers build identities for themselves and their films. Through the use of online tools such as social networking, podcasts, blogs, online media publications and radio, she assists filmmakers in building an engaged and robust online community for their work that can be used to monetize effectively. Sheri also directs digital marketing strategy for The Film Collaborative promoting their work as an educational resource for independent filmmakers, a fiscal sponsor, and a non-profit film sales and distribution company. She is the co-author of "Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul" a book of case studies which chronicles the different paths filmmakers are taking to bring their films to audiences.

5 Best Practices for Indie Film Marketing & Distribution from Sheri Candler

1. Learn to research relentlessly. There shouldn't be a term or tool being used in the independent film space that you are unfamiliar with. When you encounter a new one, look it up, and learn about it. It is integral to your job.

2. Understanding marketing concepts and distribution paths are key components of your work. Whereas selling to a buyer who then took a film out to the market was normal procedure in the past, today's producer needs know all of the different avenues to bringing a film to an audience.

3. Building an authentic personal brand identity, and cultivating and engaging directly with an audience are essential components of your marketing. Your following in the social space is an asset to any project you work on.

4. Crowdfunding is fast gaining acceptance by audiences. For ultra low-budget films, patronage, rather than investment, is a healthier and freer way to support an artist. Producers need to be aware of how crowdfunding works and how to conduct a successful campaign. 

5. Building up attention at a film festival and not providing a mechanism for an audience to be able to watch/buy the film at the same time is not the best strategy. Have a distribution plan in place that can be activated very soon after awareness of your film has been built. Languishing on the festival circuit hoping for a sale is not the best route to monetization.

Access the Film Collaborative Resource Place.
Connect with Sheri: Facebook | Twitter

Curate Your Film with Fandor (with Liz Ogilvie)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

In this interview, Liz shares:

  • Tips for designing and implementing a great marketing campaign.
  • Exciting changes, innovations & trends in marketing indie films.
  • New opportunities for filmmakers in Emerging distribution models.
  • How Fandor helps filmmakers.
  • How filmmakers can make money in collaboration with Fandor.
  • How to submit your film and work with Fandor.

Liz Ogilvie is Director of Market Programs for Fandor, a San Francisco-based company that is the leading online curation service for independent and world cinema. With over 15 years experience in the entertainment industry, Liz Ogilvie's main goal is to make Fandor a household name.Previously, she founded the marketing agency CrowdStarter, where she worked on release campaigns for a wide range of distribution companies. She has worked in executive roles at Tribeca Film, B-Side Entertainment, and New Video Group and serves on the IFP Advisory Board.

Connect with Liz on Twitter

Distribute Your Film with VHX/Vimeo OTT (with Jamie Wilkinson)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

In this interview, Jamie shares insights and tips on using the VHX platform (now Vimeo OTT) to:

  • Cultivate a group of fans eager to buy your content.
  • Give your fans what they want and connect directly with your audience.
  • Build a meaningful relationship with your customers.
  • Sell your film directly to your audience online.
  • Build your own marketing power.
  • Create proof of market viability.
  • Use web traffic analysis to make better informed decisions about your distribution strategy.
  • Bundle content to increase revenue.

Jamie is currently the co-founder and CEO of VHX, an online self-distribution platform. He won a Primetime Emmy (Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media) for his work on Star Wars Uncut, a crowdsourced recreation of the much-loved original.While working at Rocketboom in NYC from 2005-2010, Jamie helped create the Know Your Meme video series and Internet culture database, and sold the site to Cheezburger in 2010. In 2007 and 2008 he taught the Internet Famous Class in Parsons' Design & Technology graduate program, where your grade is a function of your online popularity. Jamie is interested in Internet culture, viral media, community development, and funny videos. VHX is a direct-to-fan distribution platform built for premium video that empowers artists to sell their work from their own websites, directly to their audience. Everything that used to be sold on DVD can be sold on VHX. VHX believes artists should make more money from their work, and has helped creators sell their films, documentaries, standup specials, live concert footage, lectures, web series, and more.

Data-Proven Strategies to Boost Film Sales & Conversion Rates from Jamie Wilkinson

Offer Special Savings

Raise awareness about your project by offering special savings for a limited time. When they’re substantial (we’re talking 50% or more), and last a short time (a few days or less), offering a special savings opportunity has a proven record of increasing sales – and not only by a little. On average, offering steep, short-term, “flash-sale”-style savings on VHX resulted in 4x higher conversion rates and 6x more sales week-over-week.

Share your savings voucher with your social media audiences: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LiveJournal, Instagram. If your movie is being mentioned on reddit or The Pirate Bay, chime in and share a savings voucher. If a blog or publication is writing about your movie, design a customized “MagazineName” voucher - it will make the purchase feel even more special. Awareness is key!

Offer Subtitles

VHX data shows that films and video content with subtitles consistently outperform and sell more than those without subtitles. Why? Increased traffic + a higher conversion rate.

  • More people can see your film. Subtitles open the door to your potential audience, who are in multiple countries and speak many languages. On the VHX platform, 48% of sales come from outside the US.
  • Increased traffic driven to your site from associated countries. Fans in Japan, watching your movie with Japanese subtitles, tell their friends about your movie. That added community immediately grows the potential buzz and social media reach of your content, as fans bring fans to your site.
  • More people coming to your site will buy your film.Your international audience is on average twice as likely to purchase your film after visiting your website when subtitles are available in their language.

Connect with Jamie: Twitter | Personal Website:

Theatrical Distribution for Indie Filmmakers with TUGG (with Nicolas Gonda)

Listen to the interview on YouTube.

UPDATE NOTE: TUGG closed its doors in January 2020.

In this interview, Nick shares...

  • How to turn your screenings into a complete film experience that engages your audience and allows you to create a deeper connection with your community of fans.
  • How to get your films into theatres without financial risk or any major upfront costs.
  • How to successfully promote your event screenings and sell more tickets.
  • Ways to monetize your theatrical release or event tour.
  • How to set the right ticket price for your film and audience.
  • How to quickly and easily increase revenue with your theatrical release.
  • The 3 stages of a theatrical release strategy.
  • The #1 thing you must consider with your theatrical release.
  • How much prep time is required to execute a successful release campaign.
  • The deliverables every filmmaker needs to provide to an exhibitor.
  • The first step to get started with your theatrical release through TUGG.

Nicolas Gonda is a respected producer and co-founder of TUGG, a web-platform that enables audiences to choose the films that play in their local theaters, empowering viewers to have an active role in movie distribution, and which provides an opportunity for filmmakers to theatrically distribute their films without financial risk or high upfront distribution costs. Nick began his film career as an intern at Focus Features, where he became involved in Academy Award winning films including The Pianist and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In 2005, Gonda began working with Terrence Malick, and has since become a key member of the iconic director’s inner circle. He’s worked on The New World and is a producer on the films Tree of Life, To The Wonder, and Knight of Cups.

5 Steps to Theatrical Distribution with TUGG for Indie Filmmakers from Nicolas Gonda

TUGG is a platform that allows filmmakers and fans to host special movie events and screenings in theatres throughout the U.S.

1. Create an Event
Choose the date and select the location for your theatrical event, and TUGG will reserve the theatre and give you a personalized event page to pre-sell tickets for your screening.

2. Spread the Word
Promote the event to your fans and community with online and offline marketing. Coordinate with alpha influencers in the event locale to lead the promotion of screenings through peer-to-peer engagement in their community. The audience can be targeted for optimal word-of-mouth.

3. Meet the Required RSVPs
Sell enough tickets before the event deadline and your screening will be confirmed. If the threshold isn’t reached, the event will be called off and no one will be charged.

4. Host Your Theatrical Event
Turn your screenings into exciting events and complete film experiences with special in-theatre introductions, discussions, Q&As, musical performances, raffles, and more.

5. Generate Revenue
TUGG is financially risk-free – theatre rental, ticketing, and print shipping costs to filmmakers are completely paid for by event pre-sales. Ancillary products can be sold on a direct-to-consumer basis through sales on event pages.