Sub Rosa Hopes to Assist Other Indies21 Aug, 2003 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Sub Rosa Studios, a distributor of offbeat DVD/VHS titles, has formed a coalition aimed at assisting indie film producers and distributors to sell and market their product to major home entertainment retail channels.
Next month, nascent Global Independent Media Force, with members that include Vista Street, Key East, Film Threat, GB World and Mr. Creepo Productions, will release its first catalog featuring 14 DVD releases, in addition to urban comedy and music CDs scheduled for November release.
“We can be a permanent doorway between the true independents and major buyers,” said Ron Bonk, president and founder of Sub Rosa.
Gaining access to such mainstream distribution channels as Best Buy, Wherehouse and Tower is more than securing shrinking shelf space -- it's about representation of the little guy, according to Mike Clarke, general manager of Key East.
“Basically the ‘A' titles are picked out by all the stores and whatever space is left is delegated to the ‘B' vendors, which is what we are,” said Clarke.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Key East, which last year released eight titles, expects its association with Sub Rosa to increase business by 25 percent, he said.
“I sell mostly to the rental community, and I'm looking for additional sales in the retail community,” Clarke said. “With Ron's marketing expertise, hopefully we'll hit some people that we've been missing.”
Sub Rosa's Bonk came up with the idea for the coalition when the economics of marketing and selling “funky cult-style” titles limited his Syracuse, N.Y.-based company to four releases a month.
He said producers and distributors of ‘B'-movie material often fall through the cracks of the major retailers, which, due to time and fiscal constraints, often push these accounts to third-party vendors.
“By sharing resources and efforts it doesn't really add that much to our workload, and we can [collectively] get a lot more movies out there,” said Bonk, who envisions the coalition becoming “as strong as a studio in Hollywood.”
For its efforts, Sub Rosa will take up to 10 percent of a coalition member title's suggested retail price, with members splitting remaining revenue and related costs.
Which doesn't seem to faze Clarke.
“I'm keeping an open mind to developing relationships with [companies] like Sub Rosa,” he said.