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VSDA Show to Highlight Filmmaker Program

1 May, 2003 By: Joan Villa

This year's annual Home Entertainment 2003 convention will once again highlight independent film, inviting retailers to meet the filmmakers and spotlight the category in their stores.

Independent film producer Had To Be Made Films will organize the special FilmMaker Program 2003 (formerly called Filmmakers of Tomorrow). The program will include six seminars and the first annual awards ceremony for the Had To Be Made Film Festival on the final night of Home Entertainment 2003, slated for July 29-31 at The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

The FilmMaker Program will include seminars featuring industry executives and will focus on all aspects of independent filmmaking: content; authoring, duplication and packaging; deal memos and contracts; how to pitch and sell a film; rights, royalties and music in film; and self-distribution.

The premiere seminar, on the last day, will empanel 10 distribution and acquisitions professionals to discuss the road to distribution for an independent film. Filmmakers can also participate in one-on-one sessions with the panelists following the seminar for an additional fee and an advance reservation.

Filmmakers will also be able to meet and network with retailers and distributors directly at the FilmMaker Marketplace and they can enter their films in a FilmMaker Showcase, which will screen selected films for convention attendees. Filmmakers must sign up to participate in either event by June 12. A catalog listing for their film can also be purchased by June 12.

More information on the event schedule and pricing can be found at filmmakerprogram.com.

At the convention, retailers can also apply to host the next six-month Had To Be Made Film Festival that begins Aug. 15. Each festival covers 10 films; two are sent each month for five months.

“We look at certain criteria to evaluate if you're a good candidate to carry independent film and if you're a good promoter of independent film,” said Mike Kyle, HTBM Inc. CEO and program director of the FilmMaker Program. “We don't want to get beyond 2,000 stores. That's the limit. I'm guessing we'll be comfortable at 500 stores.”

Launched in February, the festival uses in-store displays and signage to promote a selection of films in about 100 independent video stores across the country. The films may have played at film festivals but do not have regular theatrical or video distribution, Kyle said. Consumers and retailers then vote for their favorites at the Web site hadtobemade.com, which tallies the winners, who will be announced at the awards ceremony July 31.

“We created a film festival that exists in video stores instead of theaters,” Kyle said. “What we provide for filmmakers is something they've always wanted: for their film to be seen.”

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