Development! How to pick and develop a story that is both true and authentic to your experience as well as accessible to international audiences. The Raid is an easy template for something like this but something like iNumber Number is also an interesting case study in terms of why it clicked where other films haven’t.
I would see this as a couple of separate discussions on how to approach film festivals. Discussion One: How to plan a festival strategy. What do you want to accomplish? Why does premiere status matter and who requires it? If you miss your first choice, what do you do next, etc? Basic practical stuff to help people plan a realistic and helpful strategy to get their film in front of audiences around the world with the best chance to achieve their goals.
Discussion Two: The do’s and don’ts of festival submission. I find the submission and selection process is an enormous black box for filmmakers who don’t have any idea what happens once they actually submit their films, which is very frustrating given that this process ultimately decides who sees the film. Tips on how to make your movie stand out, how to best approach a programmer, what not to do, etc.
I would see this as one or more discussions on sales strategy. To discuss: How does a sales agent evaluate and assign a value to your project? How soon should you get them involved? What services should you expect them to provide? What should you look for – or avoid – in a sales agency deal? What will the costs be and what does that money actually go to?
Most people think selling your film is the same thing as it actually being released. This is not true. The delivery process can be a nightmare if not properly prepared for in advance. I see this as a panel to talk about that process and how to plan for it along with discussing how the distribution landscape works, how to distinguish between which type of VOD platforms there are out there (there are lots) and which may be best for you, etc.
Todd Brown is the founder and editor of international film website TwitchFilm.com, the Director of International Programming for Austin’s Fantastic Fest – the largest genre film festival in the USA – and the Head of International Acquisitions for XYZ Films, where he has served as a producer on films such as Indonesian action hit The Raid, Rotterdam selection Frankenstein’s Army and this year’s Toronto International Film Festival selection Spring.