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Old January 5th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Philadelphia, United States
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When is the best time to look for a distributor?

I'm almost done with a 50 minute documentary. It should be totally complete in June. It's about Latino immigration to suburban Philly and I think the content and length would make it good for classrooms so I'll be looking for an educational distributor. I've never tried to get a film distributed before. Question: when is the best time to get a distributor? I sometimes see films sold by distributors and it has a list of festivals and awards the film has screened at/won. Do people wait to get screened and win prizes before picking a distributor in the hope of getting a better deal?

This question has some urgency because I want to submit the film to the Southern Circuit filmmaking competition and they dont accept films that have a distributor. I have a fine cut of the film and would ideally submit to the competition next year when it's actually complete, but at the same time, unless their is an advantage in waiting for a distributor, I plan on looking for distributors starting this summer.

So, my original question: when is the best time to try and get a distributor? As soon as possible or is it worth waiting to see if a film does well in festivals?
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Old January 5th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #2
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Re: When is the best time to look for a distributor?

Here's what I'd do, play it to various groups of people then have them fill out a questionaire, like they do with feature movies.
Think very carefully about your questions and leave space for general comments.

By the description of your project, there must be some controversial material in there, so select your audiences carefully, no family or friends.

What you're looking for is, anything you overlooked, didn't explain or cover properly, left out, misrepresented etc.

50 minutes is a long time for classroom attention, maybe break it into 2 or more parts and provide printed discussion points for teachers,
you have to make it easy for them.

Waiting for the results from film festivals for distributors to quote, could go either way. I wouldn't count on having those.

I'd make a 1 minute trailer with a cliff-hanger to close, and get it out asap.
You could put it on line and send links to every distributor you can think of around the world.
When one gets interested, maybe put in a provisor to hold it until after the festivals.

If they ask about foreign language versions, say 'certainly! which ones and when do you want 'em?' .. and figure it out later :)

30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
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