Free Minds Film Distribution Seminar

Independent filmmakers often pour their blood, sweat, tears, and credit rating into a project. They finally finish it, and then wonder, “How are people going to see my movie?”

But distribution shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be something filmmakers consider at the very beginning of the process. Enter the “Free Minds Film Distribution Seminar,” presented by Korchula Productions and the Prometheus Institute.

Independent filmmakers have more ways to reach audiences than ever before, and the “Free Minds Seminar” helps free market filmmakers make sense of the always changing, often overwhelming world of film distribution. During the fast-paced daylong seminar, industry experts will offer strategies, tips, and tricks that will help you attract more eyeballs to your project. The event will be followed by a complimentary cocktail reception where attendees can mingle with distributors, speakers, and other filmmakers.

Attendance is free, but space is limited, so apply today!

Last year’s seminar sold out (well, a free seminar can’t really “sell out” but you get the idea), and we expect this year’s seminar to sell out too. So if you are a highly motivated independent filmmaker with a demonstrated interest in bringing free market ideas to screens big and small, we invite you to apply right away!

And if you attended last year’s seminar or you were a qualified applicant whom we could not accommodate due to lack of room, you do not have to apply again. Just respond to this email and tell us you want to attend. If you can commit to attending the entire seminar, you’re in!

Topics will include …

  • How to determine the right distribution outlets for your project
  • How to succeed on online platforms like iTunes, Netflix, and Hulu
  • DVDs aren’t dead yet — how distributors deal with traditional retailers
  • How to cast to improve your distribution options
  • How to spot often-overlooked distribution opportunities
  • The best of the new distribution outlets
  • Sales reps, festivals, theaters, and VOD
  • Fair use in features and docs
  • How distribution deals are structured
  • Self distribution models
  • The do’s and don’ts of film marketing

What: 2014 Free Minds Film Distribution Seminar

Where: The Culver Hotel, Culver City, California

When: Saturday July 26, 2014

10:00 am to 4:00 pm (approximately)

Deadline for submissions is July 11, 2014 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Applicants will be notified no later than July 12, 2014 if they are accepted

Click here to apply

Remember–don’t just make a film, get people to see it!

Speakers confirmed thus far …

  • Michael Emerson has produced extensively for outlets such as History Channel, The Biography Channel, A&E, and The Disney Channel. Michael recently completed work on The History Channel’s critically acclaimed, award-winning ten-hour series World War II in HD, and is in pre-production on a series of new specials for A&E and History Channel. Michael has directed and co-produced many of History Channel’s award-winning two-hour television specials, including When Cowboys Were King, Hollywood’s Greatest Villains, and 70’s Fever. He has been honored with sixteen national and international awards for his film and television achievements, and was nominated for the Advertising Industry’s prestigious Clio Award. Michael is author of the book Winning the Corporate Media Wars, and he lectures extensively on media and its impact on our lives. Michael is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

  • Mark Joseph is a multi-media producer, author, and founder of MJM Entertainment Group. From 2000-2005 he worked in development and marketing for Walden Media and Crusader Entertainment and oversaw a nine member grassroots marketing team. He is the producer of the feature films Doonby and Reagan, a biopic about Ronald Reagan, which is currently in pre-production. Mark lead the marketing campaign for the blockbuster political documentary America: Imagine the World without Her, as well as its predecessor 2016: Obama’s America, the fourth-highest grossing documentary of all time.  He has worked in the development and/or marketing of 25 films including Ray, Holes, I Am David, The Chronicles of Narnia, Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Passion of The Christ. Mark received the Frank Capra Award for his work as producer of Doonby, and a GMA Music Award for his role as producer of the soundtrack for The Passion of The Christ. In 2000, he founded the nation’s first spiritually-themed short film festival, the Damah Film Festival. Mark  is the author of four books The Lion, The Professor & The Movies: Narnia’s Journey To The Big Screen, The Rock & Roll Rebellion, and Faith, God & Rock ‘n’ Roll. Mark  is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and the publisher of BullyPulpit.com.
  • Leigh Savidge is the founder and CEO of Xenon Pictures, one of the few self-distributing media entertainment labels able to offer a full-service distribution platform in North America. Savidge has also fully financed numerous narrative and documentary films and has acquired rights to a substantial library of historically important independent films. He co-wrote and is executive director on the Universal Pictures film Straight Outta Compton which is scheduled to begin production in July, 2014, and has directed two documentaries including the acclaimed Welcome to Death Row –the story of the rise and fall of Interscope’s Death Row Records. An early advocate for films targeting ethnic and underserved genres—the Los Angeles Times called Savidge “A pioneer in the film market targeting young African Americans” —Savidge’s ability to recognize opportunities previously overlooked by the marketplace been regularly noted by the Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone, the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.  Savidge created the country’s first video/ DVD label for independent films aimed at a black audience and has become a leading player in the Latin/Spanish language genre through an alliance with the Mexico City-based media powerhouse Groupo Televisa, and the U.S. Hispanic broadcaster Telemundo Networks.

  • Dean Cheley is an entertainment attorney who offers expertise in all areas of the entertainment industry, including structuring deals and negotiating contracts for individuals and corporations involved in the film and television industry.  He works with book authors, screenwriters, performers, directors and producers, as well as institutions such as studios, networks, guilds and talent agencies.  Prior to joining Donaldson, Callif  Dean litigated numerous types of entertainment disputes, including copyright and trademark infringement, rights of publicity, breach of contract, and partnership disputes. Dean is involved in deals with all the major US distributors of documentary productions, including  Netflix (Battered Bastards of Baseball, Mitt – both from Sundance 2014) Radius/Weinstein Company(20 Feet from Stardom, Supermensch), Lionsgate (The Other Dream Team), Gravitas (Foo Fighters, The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin),  Samuel Goldwyn (Vreeland – The Eye Has to Travel), Magnolia (Blackfish, Big Star)  and HBO (Gasland, The Union, Valentine Road, Case Against 8, Glickman). Dean typically runs point with distribution deals, and handles all of the documentary legal work for Cameron Crowe, David Grohl and Morgan Neville.
  • Monika Mikkelsen is a casting director who started her career working alongside two of Hollywood’s most successful and sought after casting directors, with whom she cast high-profile features, such as Nixon starring Anthony Hopkins and The Rock starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage. Under the banner of her own company, Monika Mikkelsen Casting, she has cast dozens of films including The Cleaner starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes, Nurse Betty starring Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, and Chris Rock, and Drowning Mona starring Danny DeVito and Bette Midler. She has cast films like The Collector, Pulse, and Halloween, which spawned sequels thanks to their financial success. Monika remains most passionate about independent films, and recently completed casting Learning to Drive starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson, The Face of Love starring Annette Bening and Ed Harris, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby with Jessica Chastain and William Hurt and What About Love with Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia. Monika is a member of FIND (Film Independent), the organization that produces the Spirit Awards. She is also a member of the Casting Society of America, and served as a National Board Member from 2009 to 2012.

  • Courtney Moorehead Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, feature film producer, Off-Broadway theatre director, and co-founder of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Courtney has produced for the likes of Dimension Films, the Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and Universal Pictures. She spent five years in New York City directing Off-Broadway plays, including the New York revival of Austin Pendleton’s Uncle Bob starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Courtney served as Vice President of Development for Neo Art & Logic, a feature film production company with an overall deal with Dimension/Weinstein Company. Courtney’s feature film producer credits include The Collector (Josh Stewart), American Pie Presents the Naked Mile (Eugene Levy), and Pulse (Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder). Courtney was a contributing producer during the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network, and a producer on America in Primetime, a four-hour PBS documentary series that examines the creative process behind television’s most groundbreaking shows. The series features interviews with Larry David, Norman Lear, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Jon Hamm, among others. Courtney wrote and directed The Conversation and Cute Couple, which won a combined three audience choice awards on the film festival circuit.

  • Ted Balaker is a journalist, think tank analyst, award-winning filmmaker, and founding partner of Korchula Productions. Ted is a founding producer of ReasonTV, which received the Templeton Foundation’s “Innovative Media Award” during his tenure, and is co-creator of The Drew Carey Project, a series of documentary shorts hosted by Drew Carey. Ted is an executive producer on the feature documentary Honor Flight (a Freethink Media production), which broke the Guinness World Record for largest film screening when it attracted an audience of more than 28,000 at its 2012 premiere. Ted spent five years producing for John Stossel at ABC News and three years at Reason Foundation, writing on topics ranging from urban policy to international trade. His written work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Past Speakers:

  • Clay Epstein is Vice President of Sales and Acquisitions at Arclight Films, one of the world’s leading international sales companies. Arclight has sold more than 130 films, including Crash, the 2004 Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Clay has previously held the position of Vice President of Sales and Acquisitions at The Little Film Company, where he packaged, developed, and executive produced new projects, including Wrecked starring Adrien Brody, A Doll’s House, starring Ben Kingsley, and Tsotsi winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

  • Melanie Miller is a producer, film festival director, and Vice President of Acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, a Video-on-Demand (VOD) distributor that has access to more than 100 million North American homes and more than 1 billion homes worldwide. Melanie heads up a team that distributes approximately 500 films per year through partnerships with cable, satellite, and online outlets. Melanie is also an expert in the world of film festivals and has served as program director of the Jackson Hole International Film Festival. In 2009 she launched the production company Fishbowl Films, which recently released it first feature, Detour.

  • Daniel Lindsay is the co-director and producer of the feature documentary Undefeated. The film was distributed by The Weinstein Company and won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.  Dan is co-directing and producing a documentary series for National Geographic Channel that will be executive produced by Casey Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix and Scott Free Productions. The Verité documentary chronicles people’s final days before death, celebrating their lives and legacy through documentary footage, home movies, personal testimonials and interviews with friends and family members.

  • Laurie Eddings began her career with Miramax Films in New York City, where she developed expertise in production and research  before continuing into marketing analytics and distribution.  Laurie was then hand picked to establish and run the market research department at  The Weinstein Company.  Starting at the script level through release, Laurie directed all market research activities including audience screenings, ad testing, tracking, exit polling and media relations.  As a member of the MPG team, Laurie’s focus is on International markets, where she utilizes her broad range of  research knowledge and client-side understanding, to effectively manage a range of projects, ensuring they run smoothly and deliver clear, actionable findings.

Korchula Productions is a Los Angeles-based film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Founding partners Courtney and Ted Balaker, have produced for the likes of Dimension Films, Drew Carey, John Stossel, PBS, Oprah Winfrey, and Universal Pictures.

The Prometheus Institute is a policy organization dedicated to using pioneering technology to increase civil engagement, especially among younger generations. The institute’s latest venture is SimpleGov, a revolutionary way to harness technology to improve government accountability and transparency.

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