DIY is pronounced the same in American
Why is it that whenever a Canadian feature film is released in theatres, the press centres on the bleak outlook of the industry? Interviews with the filmmakers feature numerous gripes: There’s no star system, you need international sales, creative control doesn’t equal financial success, investors run screaming, and distributors are going bankrupt. If you’re a film producer like me, a shiver of schadenfreude runs through your system as you pore over each article.
Good news: It’s happening in America too!
While you steel yourself for your next round of development funding take a little joy in the troubles befalling Sundance favourites, Steven Soderbergh and other Cannes auteurs: No distribution deal and poor international sales. Or the problems of Paramount Vantage, Picturehouse, Warner Independent and ThinkFilm: Bankruptcy.
In a recent NY Times article (“No Film Distributor? Then D.I.Y.“) it was noted that as options for American filmmakers were evaporating, director Randall Miller, whose film “Bottle Shock” bowed at Sundance, was taking on a 12-city run on his own. While the upside of this daunting venture was complete control over marketing and exhibition, the downside included stress, hard work and millions of dollars in debt. You see, Mr. Miller was able to raise $10M from private investors for the theatrical release.
Even though it’s spelled the same in American, DIY is a lot more expensive there!