Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

More On Hammer's Self-Distribution Of 'Ballast'

The plight of the indie filmmaker is one that has been discussed in various forms on this blog since inception. And the distribution issue is often at the center of such discussions.

That Lance Hammer, writer/director of Ballast, a film I've mentioned a few times on this blog, withdrew from the deal offered to him by IFC Films in order to maintain control of his film in the marketplace, was a really bold move - something that I doubt most first-time indie filmmakers would have the guts to even consider. Distribution is enough of a challenge with the backing of an established entity like IFC (owned by Cablevision), and it's exponentially more difficult when the filmmaker opts to drive the ship virtually solo.

I just read this article on indieWIRE posted this morning that talks about Hammer's prospects now that he's sans IFC's support. It's a worthwhile read, and certainly encouraging for other indie filmmakers, I think, especially those planning to follow Hammer's path. Not that he's doing anything new, because he isn't. Many before him have traversed down this very same path - some were successful; others weren't so much. And so it goes...

Here are some poignant snippets from the article, which I recommend everyone read:

- "IFC is a really good company," Hammer told indieWIRE last week. "The problem is the larger issue that's plaguing every filmmaker right now: The distributors don't really offer any money. That's not that big of a deal if they would allow you to have control of your project, but they don't."
- If the current art-house climate isn't challenging enough, Hammer's decision highlights the harsh reality for indie filmmakers: distribution advances, or "minimum guarantees," barely ever recoup a film's budget. Hammer says conventional distribution advances for a small film like "Ballast" range between $25,000-$50,000. "If you made a $50,000 project, that makes sense," Hammer said. "If you happen to spend more money than that, it becomes difficult to justify giving up creative control."
- "It may be a total financial failure," Hammer admitted. "But if I were to go with one of the established distributors, it'd be certain that I'd lose all my money. But if try it myself, aligning myself with very experienced, creative people, there's a chance that it won't be a failure. And then I can prove that I've done it once and I can do it again. And more importantly, other filmmakers like me can do it, too."


Read the entire article at INDIREWIRE.COM.


Post a Comment