Doc Blog

Peter Broderick is a kind of Johnny Appleseed of the idea that independent filmmakers should take more control over their own distribution. He has given lectures at major film festivals all over the world and will be participating in Doc Roundtables at TIFF. Here he weighs in as the ninth participant of our industry survey.

Q: What changes do you see in the documentary marketplace?

BRODERICK: Traditionally, filmmakers have had little or no control of how their films are brought into the world. However independent they were during production, they too often became totally dependent during distribution. Now a New Age of Distribution is dawning with unprecedented opportunities for filmmakers. For the first time they can reach viewers directly, both in the United States and overseas. Through online and offline partnerships, they can effectively access niche audiences, and build a base of supporters for current and future work.

Q: What advice can you give doc makers on navigating distribution?

BRODERICK: Don't hope to get distribution, make it happen. Design a proactive distribution strategy customized to your content and target audiences. Develop hybrid approaches that maximize revenues by simultaneously partnering with distributors and selling films directly from your website. Before signing anything, make sure you've done your due diligence. Today, no one can stop you from making a film and reaching your audience.

Q: What do you hope to get out of Real to Reel this year?

BRODERICK: I'm looking forward to discovering more cutting-edge examples of how filmmakers are seizing control of their distribution. I'll share these with my clients, include them in my presentations, and feature them in the book I'm writing on the Distribution Revolution.

Tomorrow morning watch this space for a lengthy response to these questions from the documentary sales agents Jan Rofekamp and Diana Holtzberg of Films Transit.

[Blogged at an absurd early hour in a state of pre-festival insomnia].
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