How to build communities around indie films?

Uploading a video to different VOD platforms in the wild wild west of digital distribution is a good first step to make your video available, but you’ll need a little help from your community.

We’re both creators and content consumers. So let’s always put ourselves in the viewer’s seat. Today, there’s you and your favorite film —and because of the Internet and social media—you probably have a better idea of what films you’re looking for. More and more often you’re going through whatever platform, device, or distribution medium that’s convenient to find what to watch next.

In an on-demand world, the majority of search is by program title, not platform name (Youtube, Amazon, iTunes)  

So how do we make our films/videos relevant in this new world? We need filters to sort out the noise and offer us the most relevant content we desire – communities.

In this article of I will present case studies from Distrify Media. I’ve been helping Distrify to create communities for indie filmmakers. We’ll look at how communities helped creators reach millions of viewers online.

Niche Blogs – Curating Indie Films

Distrify Media together with Rotterdam Film Festival introduced IFFR Live. A series of 5 film premieres that were screened simultaneously in 40 cinemas across Europe and on-demand. Atlantic, by Jan-Willem van Ewijk, was one of the films we helped promote with our affiliate program.  Jan-Willem premiered his film simultaneously at the IFFR Film fest and online in the UK, Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Poland, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  

Atlantic is a film about the desire for freedom, a young fisherman sets off on an exhausting, perilous journey across the terrain he knows best: the ocean. And not by boat, but on his surfboard. Breathtaking, poetic, and exciting.

Before Atlantic was premiered at Rotterdam Film Festival, the creators reached out to their immediate potential audience, and it was the surfers who made the film a viral success. The news about the film spread quickly through the Surfing community, with a big boost from the Italian surfing site –

4windsurf signed up as an affiliate and embedded the Distrify Media Player on their site, calling for viewers to catch the film online for a limited time.

Multiplier Effect – Virality

This proved to be a wildly successful method for creating a huge buzz and brought Atlantic volumes of thousands of trailer views in 2 days and soon-to-be followers.  The article  created what is called “blog multipliers.” Bloggers quoted 4winds, which in turn attracted more people and created a growing audience.

4wind and other blogs served as curators, filtering for their audience the most relevant content they know would interest their fan base.

2. Using Distrify Media – Muvies platform to get more eyeballs on your film

When we started working with different LGBT content creators and distributors, we reached out to Lizzy the Lezzy and LGBT News and recruited them into the Distrify Media Muvies Network, our affiliate program that allows publishers to promote films from Distrify Media and earn a revenue share for referred sales. Lizzy and LGBT News embedded the Movies Facebook app and instantly created a community-driven VOD channel on their popular Facebook pages. These promotions were shared widely and drove great sales for different LGBT films.

Essentially Lizzy and LGBT News are curating content for their fans with a lot of dedication, and attention to what their fan base really wishes to consume and watch. They are the filters and the gatekeepers of digital content.

With the support of these publishers and a growing group of fans, we launched a successful campaign and build up a groundswell of word-of-mouth promotion for LGBT Content that is to this day one of our most successful verticals, thanks to these curators. We now see more VOD platforms adopting our strategy and also work with curators like Lizzy and others to promote the creator’s content. 

3. Film Festivals – Using DIstrify Media VOD platform to curate and recommend films

To be successful you need the reach of a general entertainment service, but the focus of a niche. As curators —and on-demand filter—film festivals can help their audience find the kind of films they look for. With our Jewish vertical we wanted to reach out to a specific niche audience where the Jewish communities are widespread. So we recruited UK Jewish Film Fest, Europe’s biggest Jewish Film Festival, Miami Jewish Film Fest, and Washington Film Festival.

Using Distrify Media’s Muvies platform, we offered the programmers to curate their own content and embed them on their site and Facebook pages. The result is a growing relationship that goes on month by month, filtering and curating films for new audiences.

The festivals are now more than ever are opening up to the possibility of hosting VOD channels as a way to promote their events and films.

4. Large audience Publications

The Danish production Love Addict is one of our best sellers on Distrify Media, the film was shot in the US following a romantic obsession that questions if the emotion is healthy. One of the stories was shot in NY so we thought the best match would be METRO, one of the most read newspapers in NY delivered to millions of New Yorkers for free on the city subway. Distrify Media has been working with Metro’s film section and together we launched LOVE ADDICT online.

The article drove thousands of viewers to watch the embedded trailer and has generated a volume of sales for the creators but also generated attention and engagement for the film.

For more information, you can check out this enlightening presentation on VOD curators and filters of content 

Be sure to check our blog for valuable information on fan creation, content virality, VOD best practices, the importance of data, and more, it’s free and it’s on the interweb for you to consume and digest.

Join Andy at Diagonale. Festival des österreichischen Films

With hundreds of VOD options – which is the best or right for your film? SVOD, TVOD, AVOD, PPV, EST, etc The acronyms seem to increase faster than the revenue. 2015 is the emergent year for VOD in Europe but where are the opportunities and what should we avoid?

Andy Green, Managing Director at Distrify Media, will discuss where the VOD sector is succeeding and where it is not. What are the trends and who is actually making money? By reviewing how Distrify Media creates revenues for Video Suppliers we will discover where to focus digital distribution tactically and be confident in establishing a long-term strategy where distributors, producers, sales agents, and marketing executives can best employ resources.

So if you’re in Austria check it out –

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