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Reader: The reality of the indie film industry




About Griffin Swartzell's May 2 cover story from the Vail Film Festival, "Off script": The economics of independent filmmaking remain largely unchanged from the 1990s.

And one shouldn't bank on "If you love it, someone else will love it" when it comes to funding, either commercial or documentary (or somewhere in between). Filmmakers must early on ponder who will pay to see it, what will be seen and how, where and for how long ... think of it just like a book proposal for which an author tailors a game plan to secure a publisher.

There are a lot of "made" pictures that languish in post-production or are shown at various film festivals throughout the world — and many remain largely relegated to the festival circuit. Unless they are fortunate enough to break out at one — and even that scenario has its limitations.

As a former distribution and marketing executive and consultant for The Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation, an iconic indie maverick that has produced more than 80 motion pictures, and for numerous indie filmmakers, I think there should be a mortuary dedicated to quality, completed films that never gain a distributor.

The "structured Hollywood studio system" to which you refer, prefers not to fund movie production except those limited to Marvel blockbuster and franchise brands. They do prefer to make their money negotiating large fees to rent their enormous distribution and marketing muscle for theatrical, ancillary and digital, similar to the methodology used by Clorox, Nestle and Unilever to elbow their way onto the grocery shelf (i.e., theater exhibition).

The key to raising money to fund indie production these days lies in hungry overseas markets — with the right product and audience, there is plenty of money available in exchange for international and domestic distribution rights.

— Stan Friedman, Colorado Springs

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