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                                        DISTRIBUTION GURUS PANEL at HOT DOCS

                                    L- R: Winnie Wang, myself, Rachel Gordon and Scott Glosserman.

It was great to be on an IRL panel again at Hot Docs, one of my favorite festivals (really conducive to meeting people - they do a great job providing space for making connections). People felt it was very informative and all three of us panelists (me, Rachel Gordon and Scott Glosserman) wouldn't shut up. This was helped by the amazing panel prep that Winnie Wang did. A nearly full house with lots of talk about setting goals and creating your own path beyond a dependence on gatekeepers in this down sales market. We also talked about how funders and film orgs need to step up to start funding independent film distribution and marketing and not just fund development and production. EG helping to take care of the full life of the films that are funded instead of just helping those films get made and then letting the filmmakers fend for themselves. Hot Docs did not record the panel - but I did - something all filmmakers should do on their Q&As, even if just on an iPhone. You can then use this for content later. I’ll be sharing a link to a transcript of the panel soon and D-word said they would put the audio up online. I'll be sending links to both of these in the near future. 

Note -I know this is a no-brainer - but so many filmmakers don't do it:  If you don't have a photographer - just get someone to take photos during your Q&As for social - usually people are nice enough to do it - but try to get someone who feels they are good at it. This time I lucked into a cinematographer in the audience to take photos and I traded my books for a few shots!

8 Above, DPA and TFC hosted a great Hot Docs party at Casa Mezcal.
I also got to spend a day at the Hot Docs Forum. I feel you can learn a lot about the current landscape (not to mention learning how to better your pitches) by listening to other filmmakers pitch and seeing the industry's reaction. I’m hoping to write more about this later - but I wanted to point out this excellent piece about the Hot Docs Forum and pitching Forums in general by Brian Newman in his newsletter last week. Speaking of how you can learn a lot about the industry from pitch forums, Brian comments on what he calls the "Pitch Forum Industrial Complex" where filmmakers pay a lot of money to receive unhelpful feedback and platitudes about unpromising collaborations (btw - if you don’t - subscribe to Brian’s newsletter - I highly recommend it). Check it out and let me know what you think.