Annie Roney on Adapting to Changes in Distribution

Fascinating interview with Annie Roney, founder of a distributor called ro*co films, discussing the evolution of film distribution, specifically for documentaries. The questioner, Chris Dorr of Artist Services, asks her what the "most significant" change is she's observed. Her answer:

The most significant change is the cultural and mainstream embrace of the [documentary] genre.  I have witnessed a genre thought to exist only on public television, achieve marquee theatrical success, with all of the ancillary platforms and press that come with it.  Although I wouldn't say documentary films have become mainstream, they have garnered a certain cache among film lovers.  Everyone, these days, seems to want to be involved in a documentary...or at least talk about the one they saw on Netflix last week.
Which brings me to the second biggest change ... digital; the good and the bad of digital.  Digital platforms for these films have democratized how and when they can be seen.  It is no longer only in the hands of a few powerful gatekeepers of media distribution as to whether or not a film can get out into the world.  The consumer gets to decide.
We are in a challenging transition period, though, where broadcasters who used to not only be the bread & butter for the documentary filmmaker but also the gatekeeper to audience, are buying fewer documentaries and paying less for them.  The good news is that digital is an alternative, but it takes real work to drive the viewers there.

Filmmakers and anyone working in indie film distribution should read the entire interview on Sundance.org. Annie also explains the important elements the distributor needs for everything to be a success. "The best scenario is when we have decided to work together prior to her film festival premiere and we are ready to capture interest from the initial burst of momentum.  With this kind of distribution the sky is the limit on how many people we can engage, beyond our schools and universities base."

'C.O.G.' - Premiering at Sundance 2013

C.O.G., Sundance 2013

C.O.G., Sundance 2013

Another one of my most anticipated films of Sundance 2013 coming up. What does C.O.G. stand for? We've got to see it to find out. Starring Jonathan Groff (seen in Taking Woodstock, The Conspirator, "Glee") adapted from a short story in David Sedaris's 1997 essay collection Naked about a "lost soul" on an apple farm in Oregon, directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez. "This first film adaptation of David Sedaris's work tells the story of a prideful young man and what’s left of him after all he believes is chipped away piece by piece... Writer/director Kyle Patrick Alvarez proves more than up to the challenge as he delivers a finely wrought story that remains true to both the author’s voice and his own. Jonathan Groff perfectly embodies David and imbues him with abundant wit that masks the uncertainty that he hides. C.O.G. is a funny and poignant portrait of a lost soul searching for himself among the amusing characters in life's rich pageant." From the Sundance.org film guide.

'The Spectacular Now' - Sundance 2013

The Spectacular Now, Sundance 2013

The Spectacular Now, Sundance 2013

One of my most anticipated films premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival this January - The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt (of last year's Sundance hit Smashed as well as Off the Black) co-starring Shailene Woodley (The Descendants, "Secret Life of the American Teenager") and Miles Teller (Footloose, Project X) as high school lovers. "After being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter (Teller) gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky (Woodley) hovering over him. Not a member of the cool crowd, she's different: the 'nice girl' who reads science fiction and doesn't have a boyfriend. She does have dreams, while Sutter lives in a world of impressive self-delusion. And yet they're drawn to each other." From the Sundance.org film guide.