By Simon de Bruyn

Distribution guru and Fringe patron Peter Broderick kicked off the 2008 SPAA Fringe conference in Sydney by telling delegates they need to take more responsibility and control over the distribution of their projects.

In his session on Hybrid Distribution, Broderick explained: “The old world of turning over a film to a distributor has gone, and in the new world you need to take more responsibility; even if you don’t make more money, you need to take more control.”

The presentation was similar to his session at Fringe last year, in that he drew on a range of case studies – mostly a range of docos including Faster, Heveltica, King Corn, and Australian doco The Burning Season – to illustrate his key points.

However, last year where he seemed largely concerned with events such as screening parties to build DVD sales, this year his views had broadened out to encompass further strategies to attract “core audiences”.

He talked about several filmmakers he had worked with that had listed the whole “ecosystem” of audiences that would be interested in the film, and about specific strategies to reel them in. He said filmmakers could market the film through special interest groups, community newsletters, and – as always – online.

“It’s not a question of whether you film is any good, but as long as your core audience likes it,” he said. “You could announce the film to your core audience a year before you finish it to build buzz and interest. And then one it is finished you could hold community screenings in towns and suburbs, while selling the DVD online.”

He was speaking to delegates in one of the first sessions for SPAA Fringe, after the conference had been officially opened by Screen Producers Association chief executive Geoff Brown and NSW Film and Television Office chief executive Tania Chambers.

Broderick had also contributed to the launch, by turning the keynote session on its head by declaring that the delegates themselves were the keynote speakers. Microphones were then passed around the somewhat bewildered audience to introduce themselves, flog their wares, ask for crew, or talk about people they wanted to meet at the conference.

Click here to read Peter Broderick’s recent guide to the "new world" of distribution.

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