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Independent Film ‘Waiting’ for TLA Distribution

6 Jul, 2001 By: Jessica Wolf

The waiting is over for one independent film, thanks in part to the Video Software Dealers Association’s Filmmakers of Tomorrow event during January’sconvention.

TLA Entertainment Group has picked up the independent comedy Waiting to bepart of TLA Releasing, a new label that will release as many as 12 titles a year on VHS and DVD, as well as push limited theatrical releases for some films. First Run Features will distribute all films under the new TLAReleasing brand.

Waiting will appear theatrically for a weeklong run beginning July 13 atthe Pioneer Theater in New York City’s East Village.

The VHS and DVD will bow Nov. 9 (prebook Oct. 7). The DVD price is $29.99; the cassette price is $59.99.

Executives at Philadelphia-based TLA first heard about the title while the company was setting the program for the 2001 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, says TLA director of marketing Rich Wolff.

“Raymond Murray, president of TLA video, saw it and thought it was hilarious,” Wolff says. “When we got a copy of it and discovered what alittle comedic gem it is we decided it would fit in well with our other titles.”

The company was also exposed to Waiting at January’s VSDA convention where director and Philly native Patrick Hasson and producer John Stefanic were onhand as part of the Filmmakers of Tomorrow series. The filmmakers showcased Waiting to buying groups and indie retailers as well as companies with an interest in independent product like TLA.

Stefanic credits the event for helping the film get some added attention — something every independent filmmaker hopes will happen for theiroften underappreciated projects.

“I have nothing but a success story to tell from the VSDA event, not only with Waiting, but with how much I learned,” Stefanic says. “It just made me a step ahead of the game.”

Waiting follows the beyond-the-dining-room antics of the staff of an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia and features cult favorite Tromeo and Juliet star Will Keenan and porn legend Ron Jeremy.

Stephen Bissette, president of the New England Buying Group and manager/buyer for Brattleboro, Vt.-based First Run Video helped organize andmediated the VSDA Filmmakers of Tomorrow series and is helping put together a follow-up event for next year’s show. He also personally bought 16 copies of Waiting for his store after the last VSDA convention.

The trick to moving indie product is to order and promote it as if it were a studio or major ‘B’ title, he says. “I really believe that bridges should exist between independent retailers and independent filmmakers because… we have common interests and common goals.”

That’s another good thing about the TLA label, Wolff says. TLA has a big catalog and Web presence at www.tlavideo.com that can help get product tointerested retailers.

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