Manhattan Film Festival

Will Revenue Sharing Change what a Film Festival Means to a Filmmaker?

In the past the hope of every filmmaker was to get accepted into a festival and land a distribution deal. While that hope has not changed, the odds have. Since the advent of digital filmmaking the number of films produced every year has increased exponentially. This has made the odds of being accepted into an established festival much less. Even the filmmakers accepted into these festivals are not landing the coveted distribution deals they once did. Digital filmmaking has changed the industry. Luckily for the better.

New festivals have emerged to address the increase in the number of films produced and modern technology has created new revenue streams giving filmmakers an opportunity to make their own breaks. There is no longer that need to be “picked up” in order to succeed. Does this change what a film festival means to a filmmaker? We believe in some ways it does. Festivals are still extremely important to the marketing efforts of filmmakers. With an increased number of independent films available to consumers getting your film reviewed to go along with festival laurels will help it stand out from the crowd. The networking opportunities festivals offer are also important and it is great to celebrate your achievement. So how do we feel the role has changed?

While filmmaking is an art your completed film is an investment and a business. As a business you need to identify sources of revenue. We mentioned earlier modern technology has created new revenue streams for filmmakers. One of these are digital revenue sharing platforms such as the YouTube Partner Program or iTunes. Revenue sharing has been a game changer for independent content producers and we believe it is a game changer for the festival circuit. We launched our Filmmaker Revenue Sharing Program in 2011 to stunning results. The program generated thousands of dollars that went directly back to the filmmakers and our attendance increased by 700%.

We feel when filmmakers promote their screening they are also promoting our festival and should be compensated. The revenue earned is technically sent out as affiliate marketing payments which avoids any contractual complications. We have found this added revenue has helped filmmakers launch new productions, submit to more festivals, etc. At the end of the day both parties benefit from revenue sharing. The filmmaker earns a percentage of their box office and the festival enjoys larger turnout. It is a win-win situation and if it catches on will change what a film festival means to a filmmaker.