Every year after the festival, we get a rash of phone calls and emails with the same general request: “How can I see that film?”
With new online distribution platforms popping up and the opportunity for self-distribution becoming more viable, it’s now easier to watch festival films, sans fest, than it was five years ago. Back in the day, the festival circuit was usually the first stop for many documentaries and filmmakers spent months, in some cases years, trying to find outlets to get their film seen. For feature-length films, the common strategy was to run on the festival circuit, find distribution, get a theatrical run or a television deal and then start selling DVDs — in that order. It took time for a film to trickle down to everyone.
All of those steps are still relevant to many filmmakers, but online streaming platforms, such as Netflix and iTunes and even Vimeo and YouTube, are changing the industry significantly. Today, some films — especially mission-driven docs like the ones we play at Mountainfilm — go straight to online streaming, which doesn’t have the same stigma direct-to-video once did. One festival film in particular this year — our Audience Choice Award winner, in fact — is already available for purchase to stream.
We’ll tackle short films another blog post, but here’s a list of some of the popular feature-length films from Mountainfilm 2014 with information about how to see them now — or at least soon.
Born to Fly will have a national limited theatrical run beginning September 10 at Film Forum in New York City and then screen at Hollywood’s Laemmle Noho 7 from September 26 to October 2. Potential audience members are encouraged to contact the filmmaking team to request screenings in their town. Check borntoflymovie.com or follow the film on Facebook or Twitter.
The Mountainfilm Audience Choice Award winner DamNation is already available to stream online through iTunes, Vimeo On Demand or most cable VOD platforms. Community screenings continue, and people can see the tour list at damnationfilm.com. International distribution plans are still in the works, but the film will be released in other countries this fall.
The star of Dear Governor Hickenlooper, Shane Davis, is planning to do 75 screenings in Colorado before November. The film is scheduled to show at ARISE Festival in Loveland August 8-10 and in Aspen as a special pre-festival screening for MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen on August 20. More screening dates and information will be posted on deargovernorhickenlooper.com soon.
In May, Variety announced that E-Team has been acquired by Netflix and that the film will be released online in the fall. Co-directed by Academy Award-winning Ross Kauffman (Born into Brothels, Mountainfilm 2005), it’s already creating serious Oscar buzz.
Shortly after Mountainfilm, the team at Emptying the Skies secured a distribution deal with Music Box Films in the U.S., and they are planning a mid- to late fall release, which will include theatrical, vod, iTunes, Amazon and Netflix. In Canada, Films We Like picked it up, and theatrical release will follow shortly after the U.S. The film will play at NewportFilm on August 28, the American Conservation Film Festival later in the fall and at international festivals in Germany, Malaysia, Budapest and others. Keep an eye on the film’s Facebook page and Tweets for more info.
An Honest Liar is playing various festivals and will have a nationwide theatrical in the fall. After that, it will be available on iTunes, Netflix and ITVS. Go to anhonestliar.com for more information.
The Last Season has announced one upcoming festival — Oakland’s Temescal Street Cinema on July 31 — and will screen at a number of fall festivals to be announced in August. The filmmakers are in discussions for distribution and will likely have more to share in the fall. For now, keep up with the film via @LastSeasonFilm Tweets or Facebook.
The filmmakers of Marmato are deep into plans to screen the film back in the place where it was made, the gold rush town of Marmato in Colombia. The Fledgling Fund has stepped up to fund extensive outreach and audience engagement, so expect more festivals and grassroots community screenings in the near future. In the meantime, Marmato’s Facebook page is active with information and updates.
Once Upon a Forest had its French theatrical release last fall, but there are no immediate plans for a large release in North America. The film is available for screenings through the distributor Wild Bunch. You can link to the film via the production company Bonne Pioche.
Point & Shoot is finalizing its distribution deal now, but the film will tour film festivals for the next few months and be in theaters at some point this fall. The film’s Facebook page and pointandshootfilm.com has updates.
Queens & Cowboys is also finalizing distribution. It’s scheduled to screen at the Cinema Q festival in Denver on July 27, and the filmmakers plan to screen at Gay Games. Watch for updates on Facebook or queensandcowboys.com.
Vessel is yet another film in the final stages of a distribution deal. Upcoming festivals include Jerusalem Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Mountainfilm in Aspen. The film won the Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award at the Nantucket Film Festival last month. The list of upcoming screenings is at vesselthefilm.com.
Virunga has several screenings scheduled in the near future, including Mountainfilm in Aspen and others in New Zealand, Melbourne and Buenos Aires. Check out the full list and keep an eye out for a big upcoming announcement and online distribution plans at virungamovie.com.