Sales and Press for Independent Films like Blumenthal

ethanbike Within hours of being notified of our acceptance into Santa Barbara Film Fest, phones were ringing and emails were...emailing? Aside from all the logistic and technical preparations of getting the film printed and ready for screening, the two main discussions of the week are Publicity and Sales Representation. For the uninitiated, here is a brief film-related definition of each :

Publicist - The main job of a film publicist is, well, publicity. More specifically, they work to generate attention and interest in the film through advertising to the target audience and promoting the film to the industry and local and national media. A publicist (ideally) can fill the theater seats with people who will help spread the word through the media (critics, industry executives, etc.)

Sales Representative - Also known as a sales agent, these guys are responsible for facilitating and negotiating the sales of distribution rights. They also work hard to fill the seats with relevant people, but their main function is to sell the film to distributors across all platforms (theatrical, DVD, VOD, etc) and all territories, both domestic and foreign.

Depending on who you  ask, people feel differently about which of these two relationships is more important when attending a festival. Some say both are equally important, and some DIY folks believe that indie filmmakers should do their own publicity (like blogging!). I've had  little experience with either publicists or sales reps, so I'll be interested to see how things go. Either way, these relationships will continue after the festival as Blumenthal makes its way through the circuit. With that in mind, all that matters is that the individual with either of these titles is passionate about the film. Funny, in a meeting this morning a producer pointed out that the same things that brings on good people to shoot, produce, or act in your film are the same traits you need in the people who promote it. The person best equipped to sell the movie is the person who truly believes in it.

Meetings abound, phone calls to make, and emails to...email?