The Secret to Turning an Unknown Film Into a Worldwide Sensation

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The hope of every independent filmmaker, or any filmmaker producing outside the Studio system is to get his film bought at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Market (May 14-24). Although the audience reaction accounts for a lot, in order to sustain a filmmaking career, it all comes down to making films that sell. Author of "The Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution," Stacey Parks, has been selected as a panelist at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Distribution. No matter how great a film is, if it doesn't get Distribution no one will ever know about it

According to the Sundance Institute, only 3% of the films that apply to the Sundance Film Festival get in. And out of those, only about 10% get Distribution deals. That leaves thousands of disappointed filmmakers. What can they do?

The hope of every independent filmmaker, or any filmmaker producing outside the Studio system is to get his film bought at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Market (May 14-24). Although the audience reaction accounts for a lot, in order to sustain a filmmaking career, it all comes down to making films that sell. Fortunately, filmmakers can learn what distributors want In advance, and then make films that appeal to them, and thus the market at large.

Stacey Parks, former Foreign Sales Agent for independent films went to every major film market and sold hundreds of films to worldwide theatrical, broadcast, and DVD distributors; films that had not premiered at big festivals like Sundance or Cannes. She recommends two things:

1. Know your target audience: without this single ingredient it's almost impossible to get any type of distribution for an indie film unless it has that big festival pedigree.

2. Put aside part of your budget In advance for Marketing your film later. Unless you get your film picked by a Studio mini-major, you'll need to be able to invest in some marketing, to get your film noticed.

In her book "The Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution" (Focal Press), and on her website Film Specific, Parks gives away scores of tips and resources, gained from her years of experience at the William Morris Agency, to working the front lines at Film Markets around the world, Stacey shares insider info on what it takes to succeed as an independent filmmaker in the global distribution arena. As a private coach and consultant, Parks has already helped dozens of filmmakers make profitable films, and ultimately close distribution deals for their independently produced films.

"Distribution. No matter how great a film is, if it doesn't get Distribution no one will ever know about it," says Stacey Parks.

Stacey will be a panelist at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, May 21 at 4pm. She will also be speaking and signing books at the British Film Institute in London on May 26, and at Barnes & Noble Tribeca in New York City on May 28.

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