July 2009

Three Approaches to Marketing an Independent Film

Three independent filmmakers discuss how they succeeded in marketing their films.


Sterlin Harjo, director of "Barking Water" (above), marketed his film through the Internet and by taking it on the road.

Completing a film is a Herculean task—especially for independent filmmakers. So it’s tempting to feel that once the film is in the can and ready to be shown, the hard work is over. But getting a film ready to be seen is only half the battle; one of the biggest filmmaking challenges still lies ahead: marketing your movie. This month, The Independent takes a look at three filmmakers who took different approaches to marketing their films: Gadi Harel, co-director of Deadgirl (view the trailer here); Sterlin Harjo, director of Barking Water (view the trailer here); and Bill Daniel, director of Who is Bozo Texino?(view the trailer here).

Independent filmmakers don’t have the luxury of the publicity divisions employed by studios. Yet smart filmmaker know that a film’s marketing is crucial to its success or failure—and doing it well requires an enormous amount of time and effort.

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Should You Put Yourself in Your Documentary?

Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi explores the myth, "If the structure doesn’t work, put yourself in the film.”


Doug Block's <i>51 Birch Street</i> is an example of a filmmaker successfully using himself in his film.

Doc Doctor Fernanda Rossi explores whether or not putting yourself as a character or narrator in your documentary film will solve structure problems. Using her expertise as a story consultant for over 300 documentaries, scripts and fundraising trailers, Fernanda discusses whether your presence will make or break your film, by showing you when it works and when there may be a better solution.

Myth #4

“If the structure doesn’t work, put yourself in the film.” And everything will magically work? Not quite.

The myth in all its glory

How To Get a Hollywood Star for Your Independent Film

An interview with successful first-time director Shana Feste, whose film The Greatest screened at the 2009 dramatic film competition at Sundance.


First-time director Feste, with the cast of her debut film "The Greatest."

Filmmaker, Shana Feste opens up to The Independent about the journey that led her to make her first film The Greatest, how she got an all-star cast, and how it took 10 steps backward for her to take a giant leap forward. The film, which stars Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan, screened in the dramatic competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (view the premiere of the film here).

Sometimes you have to take 10 steps backward in order to move one giant step forward. That’s exactly what writer/director Shana Feste did with her directorial debut, The Greatest, a story that combines grief, pain, love and reveals the emotional suffering of a couple who tragically looses their teenage son in a car crash.

Production Insurance for Filmmakers: Understanding the Basics

What you need to know about getting the coverage you need to make your film.


The coverage you need depends on the type and length of film you are making.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or an up-and-coming independent filmmaker, it’s essential to research and understand the intricacies of obtaining insurance. Whether it is for a one-day shoot or an extensive project, there is an abundance of companies out there that will provide insurance packages. Unlike purchasing car insurance, buying film insurance isn’t limited to one type of coverage. Everything from the equipment to the film stock itself can have an insurance policy, which the filmmaker may or may not decide is necessary. Fortunately, after careful consideration, The Independent has narrowed it down to the main insurance policies that every filmmaker, regardless of budget, should look into.

Production insurance is probably one of the most important things a filmmaker needs to take into consideration before shooting the project. Why get insurance for your project? Essentially, there are three reasons: Legal, Contractual and Asset Protection.

Digging In: An Interview with Eugene Rosow and Bill Benenson of "Dirt! The Movie"

How two filmmakers turned a book on environmental science into an award-winning documentary.


<i>Dirt! The Movie</i> does more than just preach, it tells the story of people's relationship to the earth.

Eugene Rosow and Bill Benenson sit down with The Independent's Emily Cataneo to discuss how they were able to transform an environmental science book into a funny, socially relevant and award-winning documentary film. Based on William Logan's book Dirt, the Ecstatic Skin of the Earth Rosow and Benenson sought to create something that would make a difference without sacrificing art and entertainment, and they did just that, going on to win the audience award for the best green documentary at Sundance this year. See the trailer for Dirt! The Movie here.

Independent filmmakers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

At least, Eugene Rosow isn’t. Rosow recently teamed up with fellow filmmaker Bill Benenson to create Dirt! The Movie, a funny, socially relevant, award-winning documentary about dirt.

"Deadgirl" Trailer

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"Who is Bozo Texino?" Trailer

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"Barking Water" Trailer

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