Indie Film (Distribution) Is Dead

It really sucks to be in independent film right now. Another "indie" label has bit the dust...

June 5, 2008 - LOS ANGELES -- Paramount Pictures said Wednesday it will combine its marketing, distribution and production functions with indie label Paramount Vantage. Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures, said in a statement provided Wednesday that the combination of the two Los Angeles-based units of Viacom Inc. will be more efficient.

The merger will initially result in the loss of three executive positions, said a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

It was unclear if further jobs might be lost or when the combination will occur, the person said.

Paramount Vantage, which produced the double Oscar-winner "There Will Be Blood" released last year, is the latest indie movie label to be merged into the larger operations of the same company.

Time Warner Inc. said last month it would close its Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures film studios and eliminate 70 jobs.

That followed the layoff of 450 people at New Line Cinema, which was absorbed into Warner Bros.

These companies of course call their "indies" under $25 million (or so), which doesn't compute to true indie filmmakers - BUT, I'm not talking about production here. I'm talking DISTRIBUTION which is the end game and in reality the hardest part of the entire process.

For example, I finished my last indie feature film back in 2006. Got foreign distribution rather quickly (which is not the normal case I assure you), but we just signed a domestic DVD deal in the last few months. So two years to sell the film. And we're actually lucky. 95% of all indie films NEVER SELL. Even films that play at Sundance.

Indie filmmaking is a lot of fun. But as a business model it has never been good and with these recent events it's virtually dead I'm sorry to say.


2 comments to "Indie Film (Distribution) Is Dead"

  • Indie Distribution can be invigorated..
    Red Envelope NetFlix productions makes it easier to sell your independent DVD online. It is the easiest alternative as of now..

  • Yeah Red Envelope is a great alternative. But really I am talking more about theatrical distribution. It's tough.

    There are lots of DVD opportunities out there although none of them pay anything to speak of, so it's very difficult to ever make your money back.

Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and And speaking of, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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