Unique marketing for films stressed

Indie pros spoke Sunday at the American Film Market’s distribution panel, stressing the importance of marketing each film in its own unique way as an important piece of the distribution puzzle.

“The movie really defines what the release is going to be and how you’re going to strategize and plan a campaign,” said Mark Burton, president of IndieVest Pictures.

Burton provided the aud with specifics on IndieVest’s “Saint John of Las Vegas,” set for release in February, which will benefit from stars Steve Buscemi and Sarah Silverman’s upcoming TV skeins.

Likewise, producer Leslie Urdang, president of Olympus Pictures, discussed the shingle’s first release, “Adam,” starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne. Fox Searchlight bought rights to the pic after a successful bow at Sundance, which Urdang described as “one of those experiences you only hear about, where you step out of the screening and your phone’s ringing and the sales agent is waiting at the curb.”

“There are enormous opportunities out there right now,” Urdang said of indie distribution, “but they require a lot of hard work… to cut through the noise.”

For last year’s Cinedigm theatrical release of “The Narrows,” produced by Urdang, filmmakers arranged a live Q&A session with stars Vincent D’Onofrio and Sophia Bush, during which aud members in 15 screening locations could text questions to the stars.

Panelists also including Ted Mundorff, CEO of Landmark Theaters; David Shultz, CEO of Vitagraph Films; and Jon Reiss, author of “Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution in the Digital Era,” all provided insight on indie distribution, including viral campaigns and video-on-demand.

Reiss pointed to recent box office phenom, “Paranormal Activity,” which benefited from a groundswell of niche marketing that was specific to the film.

“The big thing that I would say is that every single film should have its own distribution strategy,” Reiss said. “If you look back at the beginning of cinema, movies started this way.”

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