There is no such thing as art without audience. A motion picture does not even exist without its impact on human viewers. As an independent creator without established lines of distribution, how do you build an audience that yearns for your specific stories? How do you keep them excited about your stories of the future? In today’s market, your response to this question may be the difference between a “one & done” and having a long, sustainable career as a filmmaker. Rather than answer the question in hypotheticals, I will instead take look at a film that has been particularly innovative in their building of a core audience. Hopefully from this others will be inspired to create their own authentic KickStarter campaigns within their self distribution efforts. Ownership equals accountability: DIY distribution and marketing liberates a filmmaker from an evil third party who might mis-package their film, deliver it to the wrong audience, or even worse not give their seedling the attention it deserves. While this ownership sounds grand in theory, there are 2 catches: (1) there will be no-one else to point the finger at if your film fails and (2) you are going to have to do much more work. Yes, at IndieStreet we champion a group mentality and “do it together”(DIT) over “do it yourself”(DIY), but even on IndieStreet if your film release does not meet your expectations, there is really only one person that is held accountable. Your sisters and uncles and cousins in the Indie Street family will help as much as they can, but this is your baby. The two IndieStreet partner filmmakers we will feature probably couldn’t be any more different individuals or have more distinct films. The first, “Cam Girlz” directed by Sean Dunne, tackles selling sex on the Internet and emerging forms of human connection. The next, “Tanzania: A journey Within” directed by Sylvia Caminer, documents an African voyage and the resulting personal and societal inner reflection. One of their crowd building campaigns was in the middle of production and the other was leading up to a limited theatrical release. The differences between these two documentaries and their directors only strengthens my encouraging argument: No matter the stage of your career or the stage of your film, you have the ability to execute innovative & authentic strategies to build a sustainable audience. Film 1: Cam Girlz Documentary (www.camgirlzdoc.com) Director: Sean Dunne – (Oxyana, winner of Best new Doc filmmaker at Tribeca 2013) Promotional Campaign: Crowdfunding campaign that doubled as an audience building promotion. Sean completed a $65,000 KickStarter campaign by partially targeting an untapped audience market. Stage of film during campaign: in Production 1. So Sean, After deciding on your subject matter for Cam Girlz, did you take time to figure out the core audience for your film? If so, how did this help in these early stage promotional efforts? The great mystery and challenge of being someone who makes films for an Internet audience is figuring out exactly who is watching your films. It’s really important for a director in my situation to understand their audience, so I can more effectively hone my message toward them during fundraising and marketing. It’s not always going to be the case but with Cam Girlz we have a bit of a double edged sword in terms of audience – film lovers who have followed my work through the years and the built in viewership that the women we are documenting bring to the table – with very little overlap. The Kickstarter campaign was the perfect opportunity to bring those audiences together. One of the strategies that really helped was launching the campaign after we had a good portion of the film shot and had teasers and trailers in the bag. We needed to show both audiences how we were going to treat this subject matter, not just imply it. In the end that’s what led to the film being successfully funded. 2. This was your second successful KickStarter campaign. What can you share about your experience to date with crowdfunding (as a community growth tool)? What we learned with the Kickstarter campaign for Oxyana was that it was about so much more than just raising money. The Kickstarter established a dialogue about the issues raised in the film and ultimately proved to be PR that we could have never otherwise afforded. Even if the dollars came up short, we were raising awareness about the social issue and attracting passionate supporters even before the film was made. That first campaign helped us identify our core audience and build a grassroots effort that led us to Tribeca, and eventually, to successful self-distribution. Without traditional resources at our disposal all we can do is absorb and assimilate, so when it came time to fund Cam Girlz it was a no brainer to go back to Kickstarter. This time around we really understood the power of crowdfunding and what it meant for growing our audience. 3. The path for Cam Girlz is still unwritten, but can you discuss why you decided to jump into a self self distribution path with Oxyana so shortly after it won awards at the Tribeca film festival? The idea of taking Oxyana on the film festival circuit for a year or more seemed unnecessary given where my audience comes from in the first place…the Internet. Rather than chase something that others said we were supposed to, we decided to trust ourselves and what we knew. We knew we had the means to self distribute and some good buzz coming off our success at Tribeca, and we knew that all of the initial deals that were put in front of us were bullshit. Putting our film into the machine would have only slowed the process of getting it to a wide audience. So we stayed small, focused, and in the moment. Eventually we had an epiphany of the obvious…that the film should be available to audiences while it still had all this momentum. And the decision paid off. There are a lot of old guard ways of doing things that filmmakers blindly subscribe to when it comes to getting your work out there. We don’t have to be beholden to festival programmers or sales agents anymore. We need to take the opportunities in front of us, and not be afraid to start from scratch and make this more sustainable for ourselves. We have personally been lucky that Oxyana has been successful, but honestly, even if our means of distribution was an utter failure, I’d wear it as a badge of honor. I’d rather retain ownership and fail hard than buy into a system that never gave a fuck about me to begin with. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sean’s final statements should hit home for all filmmakers. Do not be afraid of failure or of what someone will say if a big studio does not pick up your picture. With current technologies, by branding yourself as a filmmaker or group of filmmakers, you can become your own studio machine. This is of course only if you put out quality content and focus on building your audience in authentic ways like Sean and his wonderful producer, Cass Greener, have done. By tackling a unique subject matter, Sean and Cass have not only fed their craving for spelunking the caverns of human character, but they have also tapped into a whole new market. Probably half of the audience of Cam Girlz will be from the world of internet sex, not from the already saturated indie film community. In my opinion, at least a quarter of them will be so intrigued by the film’s non-boob storyline that they will start to follow the film’s director and his career. Easily thousands of viewers that probably have 0 interest in indie film, but now they have an interest in Sean Dunne. This new audience segment, on top of the fans from Oxyana, on top of the fans from IndieStreet and even this simple post will all roll Sean over into his next film and continue to grow his core audience even further. Uncovering an untapped market segment isn’t easy, but if you are a great storyteller and you focus on strategic audience building at the early stages of your film…you can create a sustainable filmmaking career and gain some invaluable Indie street cred like my man Sean Dunne. -Jay Webb
2016 was quite the year - one full of turmoil and disappointments. Sadly, 2017 has basically been exactly like last year except x1000000 in craziness. We have to do what we can to find any glimmer of hope possible. This is exactly what filmmaker Sean Wang’s sparkling indie gem “3,000 Miles” offers - a filmic glitter of touching beauty and hope. At only 5 mins, this sweet doc chronicles, via a visual montage of snippets of a city in motion and voicemail audio, Wang’s year living and working abroad in New York City. The story is told through voicemail messages left by his mother, from July 2016 to just recently, checking in on him over the course of a turbulent 12-month period in modern American history. Scenes of the city, reminders of the Trump administration, the feeling of simultaneous opportunity and oppression of being in a foreign country all emotionally seep through a beautiful concoction of words and images. Please take 5 minutes out of your day to experience this moving portrait of time, history, place and family…and hey, why not give your loved ones a ring afterwards!
The last couple of years have seen an explosion of lyric music videos. They are less expensive and easier to make than regular music videos and they keep fans on the channels of artists rather than give them the opportunity of exploring unofficial sources. So, it has become somewhat of a custom for well known artists to do one or two lyric music video for tracks they are also planning to release. Most of them are quite straight-forward. Some, however, are rather creative. Here are three fresh releases, worthy of your time! Green Day – Too Dumb To Die A very beautiful collage style video with a retro look, this promo is an absolute joy to watch. Smart use of typography fusing brilliantly with the simple yet effective animations, all incorporated in MiraRuido's aesthetic. The director is actually called Joseba Elorza and comes from Basque County in Spain. He studied to become a sound technician but his evening hobby of working on collages later prompted him to become an illustrator/animator.
Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do Before there was the super expensive video everybody liked to talk about, Taylor released this beautiful ode to Saul Bass a.k.a 'the man who changed graphic design'. Created by ODD and produced by Taylor herself, together with Joseph Kahn, director of her official promo, this lyric video is (we think!) waaay more witty and interesting than the live action one.
P!nk – What About Us A more low budget lyric video but with a very special approach to the actual typography. Mimicking handwriting, the words become harder to read in the songs' more emotional and dramatic moments. As a matter of fact, a number of fans have complained that the promo defies the whole idea of a lyric music video whose purpose should be to see the actual words that are being sang. But it is this precise illegibility that makes it stand out - not to mention perfectly fits the song's message (that of a deteriorating relationship). Even more so, it also beautifully compliments the stirring live action video directed by Georgia Hudson.
About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"
One of Indie Street / Indie Street Film Festival's absolute favorite documentaries from the past year has FINALLY reached the big screen! Winner of the second annual ISFF award for Best Feature Documentary, UNREST has landed at IFC Center in NYC! If you missed the premiere event this past weekend, don't fret! Filmmaker and subject of this poignant and beautiful study on ME/CFS and chronic ilnness, Jennifer Brea, will be in-person for a Q&A after the 7:50 screening this Thursday, September 28! Believe us, you'd be crazy to miss this opportunity! For more information on tickets and screening times, head to IFC Center's website. And be sure to watch the trailer for the film below!
If you love short films, then you've most definitely heard about Jim Cummings' 2016 ultra-successful Sundance-winning short film THUNDER ROAD. If you haven't, then you've probably been living under a rock and that's no good. First things first, if you've not seen this short film, remove the rock from on top of you, stop everything else you're doing and experience one of the best, most emotional rides provided in a short film....pretty much ever. And if you've seen it - heck, watch it again right now! At Indie Street, we can't get enough of this short - it even won the inaugural Indie Street Film Festival Best Narrative Short Jury Award. A film fit for all the acclaim in the world! So, what could literally be better than this film? Um, probably the potential of A FEATURE LENGTH VERSION OF IT. Yes, you've heard me right. The team behind THUNDER ROAD are at it again and are looking to raise the money to fund one of the best filmic ideas of all time. If you appreciate any level of film, story, innovation, perseverance, creativity, Springsteen, and talent, you've GOT to donate to this cause right now. Over an hour of ace storytelling and camerawork will be gifted to all film lovers around the world. What more could you want?? Head to the THUNDER ROAD Kickstarter NOW and get donatin'!!!
We're ending the summer in a quirky breezy way with an arts & crafts style video! LAMAR + NIK go back to the simple yet witty concept that made them famous. Before lyric music videos were even a thing, they made this dazzling piece that featured the song's words made of gigantic cardboards. “Magnolia” was everything we loved about indie, low budget productions...not to mention it was also environmentally friendly given the letters were made from discarded cardboards from grocery stores. For The Shins' new video, they chose another tactic - yet, it's still as ground-breaking and impressive: filmed on a white backdrop, edited, then printed out. “Half A Million” was created with 5,566 stickers, hand cut from 4,868 frames and animated by sticking them down on top of each other at each of the 40+ locations. Great concept and an awesome twist for a video based on a band performance!
About Maria: "Multimedia in Human Form. Media researcher. Journalist. Filmmaker. PR and Social Media Mind. Cinephille. TV Shows aficionado. Books Lover. Music Video guru and former curator of the 2Pause.com project"
Hard to believe that the 2nd annual Indie Street Film Festival started almost a month ago already! The good news is that this means only 11 more months until the 2018 edition! While we are already excitedly counting down the days until next year, it doesn’t hurt to start collecting and watching some awesome indie films to bide our time. A good place to start? With some of the best short films of this year’s fest - one's that are already available online! This week we are proud to feature filmmaker Caitlyn Green’s short AUGUST - an experimental mediation on a woman waking from a fever dream, deep in Lousiana’s swampland, where it has been August for 16 years. An audience favorite, AUGUST had a superb run on the festival circuit, including playing at Slamdance Film Festival, and was recently featured on Short of the Week. Kudos to an innovative short that we were proud to program and share with NJ audiences! If you missed out on watching in Red Bank last month, check out the poetic narrative now on Vimeo!
I've got both good news and bad news. The bad news? If you missed the soon-to-be cult hit DAVE MADE A MAZE on Opening Night of the 2017 Indie Street Film Festival...well, let me just say: BOY, DID YOU MISS OUT! But hey, the good news? The jaw-droppingly innovative indie film that everyone is raving about is NOW AVAILABLE to watch in theaters AND online on VOD! Red Bank audiences absolutely loved this impressive feat of story and cardboard, saying that it was a festival defining film for ISFF....and now is your chance to join the fandom. This is one quirky, crazy, fun and one-of-a-kind film that has something for everyone. Believe me, you don't want to miss this one! Watch the trailer below and then head to the film's official site to check out showtimes and where to watch online!
Starving for some delicious indie cinema? Well, all you hungry, hungry film lovers…today is your lucky day! Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker’s Indie Street Film Festival hit BARBECUE launches on NETFLIX globally….TODAY! If you had the fine honor of attending the screening in Red Bank last July, as well as the community cookout held afterwards at Bow Tie Cinema, you’d know that it was definitely one of the most “appetizing” highlights of this year’s second edition fest! If you missed out, well, no fear! Take those rumbling bellies and head to Netflix to treat yourself to one tasty, culturally eye-opening documentary. The award-winning film premiered at SXSW 2017, was a crowd favorite at ISFF and is set to take the online foodie community by storm with its VOD release. Giving its audience a journey around the world through the eyes of cooking and barbecue, Salleh and Tucker show us so beautifully that food can bring the world together, in an almost religious way! It's exactly what we need right now. Join the cinematically delicious cult movement - don't delay! For more info, head to the film’s website or check out the filmmakers’ latest interview with Australian media. Oh and watch NOW!
The past week was a whirlwind of creative energy, community-boosting moments, innovative films and overall, a seriously cool culmination of indie spirit in Red Bank, NJ at the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone! And after an inspiring 5 days, the team behind Indie Street Film Festival was beyond honored to announce this year's award winners! "Like Me", directed by Robert Mockler, was named the best narrative feature and "Unrest", directed by Jennifer Brea, took the top prize for best documentary feature as we concluded five days of film screenings plus a wide array of special events and entertainment in Red Bank, New Jersey. Short film winners included Best Narrative Short – "Hold On", directed by Christine Turner and Best Documentary Short – "Little Potato", directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan M. Miller. Best Animation Film was awarded to "Pussy", directed by Renata Gasiorowski. The jury, including noted film critics, producers and filmmakers Alison Willmore (Buzzfeed), Dominic Davis (Rooftop Films), Heidi Reinberg (Producer), Leah Sapin (Human Rights Watch), Meredith Alloway (Writer), William Cusick (Filmmaker/Programmer), James Belfer (CEO, Cartuna), James Siewert (Award-Winning Director/Animator) and Ben Wiessner (Producer, Ornana Films), also presented Special Jury Awards for Best Editing to "Fish Story", directed by Charlie Lyne and Best Comedic Vision to "Business", directed by Kati Skelton. Red Bank artist and resident Gerda Liebmann earned an Audience Choice award for Best New Jersey Film for her first documentary, "You will be Persecuted". Audience Favorites included Best Narrative Short – "Resolutions", directed by Tamara Fisch and Best Narrative Feature – "Life Hack", directed by Sloan Copeland. Among the many discussions presented, notable panels included Adaptation, which included festival Advisory Board Member and noted Actor/Producer Arian Moayed (Rock the Kasbah) and Oscar-winner Mara Kassin, and Meet the Programmers, featuring Larisa Apan (Hamptons Film Festival) and Opal Hope Bennett (Nantucket Film Festival, Doc NYC). A community mural project at Kitch Organic, an appearance by special surprise guest Actor Amir Arison (The Blacklist), a community barbecue, provided by JBJ Soul Kitchen following the screening of "Barbecue", a documentary directed by Matthew Salleh, and the world premiere of "Brothers", the latest work from New Jersey filmmaker Jack Ballo, about two brothers who lived off the grid for four years in the woods of Sayreville, NJ filmed using only the camera in Ballo’s iPhone, were also festival highlights. “The films we’ve shared made us laugh, cry and hungry,” noted Jim Scavone, Executive Director of Red Bank RiverCenter, and the festival’s Managing Director. The films were screened and the special events held at multiple theatrical venues in Red Bank, including the historic Count Basie Theatre, the Two River Theater, Bow Tie Cinema and Red Bank Middle School. Winners from each feature film category will enjoy a shared 1-week theatrical release in NYC. At the awards presentation, Indie Street Film Festival’s Artistic Director Jay Webb confirmed the event would return to Red Bank in 2018 and planned a long-term commitment and partnership with sponsors and the local arts and business communities. Webb also posed a rhetorical question, asking attendees why support for independent artists and filmmakers was important. "In a world of digital content overload that demands more curation and leaves us less physically connected, gathering people in the community around film screenings and the arts is something our whole team believes is of critical importance,” Webb concluded. “Audiences in a theater or at a live art event in the presence of the creators will feel the shared emotional vibrations of the exhibition and truly become a part of the story. Offering locals, especially young people, these types of shared creative experiences can help them learn to accept human differences and not be afraid of them.” For more information about the screening of films from the festival, or how to connect with Indie Street Film Festival organizers, artists and filmmakers, visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org or follow us on social media!
Oh man! We're less than 2 weeks out from the second annual Indie Street Film Festival! What could be more exciting?! We know: more killer indie news surrounding the fest! ISFF has just announced their special screening slate for this year and if you're an indie film lover, dance enthusiast, or just a Michael Caine fan, you're gonna love this pretty sweet lineup. The New Jersey premiere of the 2017 Slamdance fav "Dave Made a Maze", a breakout film directed by artist/writer Bill Watterson, will open the 2nd Annual Indie Street Film Festival on Wednesday, July 26. Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj’s "Polina", featuring Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche will be the closing film on Sunday, July 30. The NY/NJ premiere of "Coup D’Etat", directed by Lisa Addario/Joe Syracuse and starring Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winner Michael Caine and Katie Holmes, and "Person to Person", written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa and starring Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson and Philip Baker Hall, will also screen at the fest set for July 26th through the 30th in Red Bank, NJ. “From a live art performance by local artist Ronnie Jackson, who carves New Jersey landscapes and scenes into surfboards, a cookout after the screening of the documentary Barbecue with local sponsors, to a Liquid Lights creative workshop, we know festival attendees will enjoy what ISFF brings to the community,” noted ISFF artistic director Jay Webb. “What sets this festival apart from other film events is the integration and cooperation of Red Bank’s venues, restaurants and bars, retail shops and the local arts community which all gel to make the ideal atmosphere to celebrate the creativity of independent filmmakers.” "Dave Made a Maze", featuring Nick Thune as Dave and Meera Rohit Kumbhani as his girlfriend, Annie, is the story of an underachieving artist who builds a fort in his living room only to wind up trapped by fantastical pitfalls, booby traps and critters of his own creation. Ignoring his warnings, Annie leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission. Once inside, they find themselves trapped in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur. In "Polina", a promising classical ballet dancer about to join the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet discovers contemporary dance, a revelation that throws everything into question on a profound level. "Coup D’Etat" is the story of a sixteen-year-old American girl who develops a pen pal relationship with Anton Vincent (Michael Caine), an island nation dictator, who unexpectedly seeks refuge in her suburban garage when he is deposed by his own people. "Person to Person" follows a variety of New York characters as they navigate personal relationships and unexpected problems over the course of one day.The festival will present more than 60 independently produced narrative, documentary and animated films, panel discussions, Q&A’s with filmmakers, live art, an interactive community mural project, a community cookout, and both live and DJ music performances. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets/passes, please visit www.indiestreetfilmfestival.org!