"There's this mythology that at Sundance Harvey Weinstein will walk into the screening and write you a check for $1 million," says Matt Dentler, producer for the South by Southwest film festival. Only 5 percent of the 122 feature films in competition at Sundance – in 2007, culled from 3,287 entries – get any sort of deal, major or minor. Some odds.
"Everyone wants to get their film seen," says Portland-based director Cullen Hoback, whose documentary "Monster Camp" screened at the IFF Boston. "Number 2 goal: Getting to make another film." That means, at least, breaking even to pay off any investors.
"On Broadway" has the advantage of recognizable stars, national release after IFF Boston, DVD or otherwise, is likely. The movie is already slated for a European première at the Galway Film Fleadh in July, and media attention at fests can help ink a bigger deal. But straight-to-Internet download is a more likely – and cheaper – route to finding viewers, whose independent tastes can be targeted.
"Theatrical distribution is not viable for most films," says Danielle DiGiacomo, documentary film coordinator for Indiepix. DiGiacomo says low-budget filmmakers often end up losing money on a distribution deal.
Indiepix.net "releases" select movies for "download-to-own"; members burn DVDs from their computers. Filmmakers receive $10 per sale, DiGiacomo says, and are freed from the "full-time job" of promoting their films. Similar indie-friendly download sites include SuperIndieFilms.com, Jaman.com, indieflix.com, and greencine.com.