Programs Wed 9.18.2013

How To Survive—and Thrive—in the Content Revolution

They call it the content revolution for a reason. There’s an upheaval happening for media makers, and yes, chaos sometimes ensues. Filmmakers are no longer placing imaginary barriers between working on television and theatrical films, or shooting film vs. digital – these distinctions are now irrelevant.

While so many lines are being blurred, there’s one thing that’s clear: it’s all about the power of story, and what it means to be a storyteller in this new age. It is about the moving image, whether on the big screen or the small screen. Web channels, social media bytes in their many incarnations, auteur television, TV binge watching, theatrical experiences on demand, audience participation at every level….these are all new models for the  way content is created, delivered and consumed. They bring a set of rules and require a new type of artist who can mobilize collaborators and audiences from beginning to end.

In this new environment, what does it take to create a viable career and a sustainable media ecosystem? That’s the million dollar question—and the driving force behind this year’s Film Independent Forum. From October 25-27, the most creative artists and entrepreneurs will be converging at the DGA in Los Angeles for two days of in-depth discussions, workshops, off-the-record advice sessions, and free wheeling conversations about these exciting times for filmmakers.

I am not sure that we can answer all the questions at the moment, or for that matter in just one weekend. But I do know that asking the right questions at any juncture is almost as valuable as having all the answers. And that’s what this year’s Forum is all about: facing head-on the complexities of the shifting landscape, learning to survive—and thrive—during the content revolution. Here are a few reasons I think it might be the most exciting Forum ever:

Executive Keynote Ted Sarandos

No other executive in our industry today embodies the content revolution we are currently experiencing better than Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. Having spearheaded the creation of quality original content and game-changing ways of delivering it, Ted Sarandos has revolutionized not only the way content is being created but the way it is being consumed. I am thrilled that he has accepted our invitation to set the stage for our weekend-long discussion of all things content.

Filmmaker Keynote Ava DuVernay

Writer/producer/director/distributor Ava DuVernay represents the fearless filmmaker entrepreneur that can sustain a career in this new age.  Not only is she making films that matter, but as a marketer and distributor she has also been instrumental in getting the work of other filmmakers seen. From documentaries (Venus Vs.) to indie films (Middle of Nowhere, I Will Follow) to television (Scandal), and to now studio films (the forthcoming Selma), she’s done it all! She is truly an inspiration to all filmmakers today, and I am sure she will generously share her experience.

Juicy case studies of Queen of Versailles, The Sessions, Afternoon Delight and many others
We are currently interviewing filmmakers who are sharing in full detail their journeys developing, financing, launching, marketing and distributing their films.  They will be telling it as it is (no sugar coating) at the Forum.

Masterminds behind new models and platforms for financing, marketing, exhibition, and distribution
Flying from different parts of the country, we will have Nicholas Gonda of TUGG, Dylan Marchetti of Variance Films, Casey Pugh and Jamie Wilkinson of VHX, Marc Schiller of Bond Strategy and Influence, and many others.

Insight into wisecracking on the Web
The producers behind indie comedy online sensations Burning Love and JASH will be sharing how they have successfully found ways to make a living through short-format web-based content.

Movers and shakers breaking bread
Great food from Lemonade and a sense of camaraderie between established professionals, accomplished filmmakers, and emerging artists all break bread together at our networking luncheons. It is my favorite time at the Forum, to walk around and eavesdrop on so many interesting conversations taking place.

Be there! View the full Forum line-up and register to attend. And remember, only Film Independent Members receive the best rates. Join today.

By Maria Raquel Bozzi / Director of Film Education