AUDIENCE BUILDING CASE #2: "Tanzania: A Journey Within" from Sylvia Caminer. A large portion of our population has thankfully grown past the phase of only wearing bracelets to feel like we are agents of change in the world. Today the Earth is small enough and access is great enough for every individual to truly make small changes that can accumulate to create huge impact on life and planet. Filmmakers are some of the most dynamic multi-taskers of our world society, and on top of that they already have a solid medium with audiences they can inspire to make important world changes. With most all film projects, a director must envision some type of change he/she wants to inspire in the film’s eventual audience. Whether it is changing their perspective, making them laugh, or giving them insight into the world around them, your story should have a designed emotional shift for those you share it with. Having a grasp on this desired viewer transformation not only helps a filmmaker determine their core audience, but might also lead toward partners that will help to champion the film and build a larger base of fans for the future; not to mention it might do some good to your world. In the previous post, I interviewed director Sean Dunne and we discussed how crowdfunding campaigns can double as a tap into new audiences. Sean is a very progressive filmmaker who has made films built for the Internet, and has a very steadfast notion on where the future of his films’ distribution will lie. This week I spoke to another IndieStreet partner filmmaker, Sylvia Caminer: an Emmy award winning producer/director whose experience is very distinct from Sean’s. Sylvia has much more experience (20+ years) in film, but when it comes to emerging digital distribution models, she admittedly has as much to learn as the rest of us. However, Sylvia’s experience definitely gives her a great edge with strategic planning and overall instincts. With her most recent documentary, “Tanzania: A Journey Within” Sylvia found a non-profit partner and a theatrical distributor who supported her vision…the result was an innovative, socially responsible, marketing campaign that has already afforded her film considerable success. “But a Movie Ticket, Save a Life.” Learning from seasoned filmmakers like Sylvia is a practice that any level director or producer can benefit from, so listen up. J.Webb: Sylvia, When did you first have the notion of somehow tying a social cause into your film? Can you talk a bit about the journey that ended with this simple, but powerful campaign? Sylvia: Before we even began filming in Tanzania we had the idea of trying to find the right cause to get involved with. Once we were in Tanzania filming so many different ideas presented themselves ... clean water, education, poverty and of course malaria. One of the film’s subjects, Kristen, had started her charity "Malaika For Life" which sells beautiful handmade African bracelets whose profits provide malaria medicine for Tanzanians who cannot afford it. She’d had quite a bit of success with her "buy a bracelet save a life campaign" and so when I heard about what Malaria No more was doing and how affordable the medicine was I naturally came up with the "Buy a movie ticket, save a life" campaign whereas we use a portion of the proceeds from every ticket sold to provide a life-saving malaria treatment for a child in Africa. This campaign is in effect for the theatrical release of the film and our distributor, Heretic Films, is totally onboard! With further distribution we hope to target another need in Tanzania to partner with. I truly love documentary films and how so many of them get you riled up and wanting to get involved. Our campaign gives the audience an opportunity to act on their emotional ties to the subject, giving them the ability to use their purchasing power to support a cause and literally save a life. J.Webb: There are lots of new ways for young filmmakers to start building an audience, it can get overwhelming. As a director/producer who has had many films secure traditional distribution deals what is your take on the changing landscape of film and emerging distribution models? Sylvia: I can't believe how different distribution has become. There are so many options it is a bit mind numbing. I find every project quite unique and there is no longer a set path for a truly independent film. You can literally create your own path. The uniqueness of every film’s path is actually what made the IndieStreet group attractive…the ability for the group to be supportive and flexible in many different ways depending on what was best for each specific film. The good news about all of the new DIY digital distribution is that it is much easier to get your film out there and available. This does make it much harder to get your film noticed because of all the noise and clutter in the film market. A producer definitely has a lot more work to do in distribution these days and you really should budget time for that. I have been working pretty much non-stop on distributing Tanzania since January as well as getting the narrative feature I produced "Grace." into the market place. J.Webb: Please talk about how the campaign with malaria no more help to build your audience for this film, and maybe even for future films. Sylvia: Malaria No More definitely has a lot of followers so having them tweet about the film and be formally behind the campaign adds a legitimacy to it. We reached malaria awareness supporters that would have otherwise not known about the film. However it isn't really an easy homerun - we are just a small part of what MNM is working on and they were pretty much consumed with their World Malaria Day campaign in Africa on 4/25 the day we opened in NYC. I think if this had not all happened at the same time the partnership could have been even more productive, so again it’s a lesson in timing. I do hope to work with them or other NPO's in the future, as I really support the idea of using box office to get behind causes that matter to us. J.Webb: How did you find it working with a non-profit during your release? How would a filmmaker go about starting the process of getting an NPO on board to help push their film and cause? Sylvia: I think it is really important to find a cause that makes sense and doesn't feel forced. Although our film is not a "malaria documentary" I believe the tie-in is quite strong because of Kristen Kenney's bout with malaria in the film and her ongoing commitment to the cause. Through Malaika she has already provided malaria medicine for more than 22,000 people. That just goes to show the power of social media and how moving images can support a cause. It is really important to be on the same page as the NPO and have a clear understanding of how you plan to move ahead together. I also recommend setting up a calendar before all of the craziness begins-lead time is really important. While it is probably a little easier to find a relatable cause to a documentary in Africa than a narrative drama or comedy, it is certainly a worthwhile exercise to explore these types of partnerships early on. Forcing an NPO partnership does not make sense, but it is just one of the many innovative techniques you can work into your crowd building strategy. If you have a dark drama about a specific type of drug abuse, check to see if there are any organizations that might raise awareness. If you have a comedy based on a farm, maybe there is a farmer’s group that will love it and want to promote it. With a small amount of research and discovery work, you may just be able to create a partnership that will help your film’s numbers, and also make you feel even more wonderful than you already do when your film reaches its audience. Even if Sylvia’s Tanzania film had not received the positive reviews it had, the number of lives her efforts have helped to save from a needless disease would be buzz worthy and something to be seriously proud of. The story of a positive social campaign may prove to be as far reaching as the film’s story itself. Jay Webb IndieStreet.com @indiest_films “Tanzania: A Journey Within” website: www.tanzaniathemovie.com You can set up a screening of “Tanzania: A Journey Within” in your community through the wonderful new theatrical platform provided by TUGG!
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!