It's beginning to look a lot like VOD


It's that time of year when temperatures in this chilly part of Europe have finally started to rise and the whole international film industry still seems a bit buzzed by the extravaganza of the Cannes Film Festival. Many of our IFFR staffers have made a glorious appearance on the Croisette (we even won the festival DJ contest!), among other things to discuss our increased efforts to support the films and filmmakers we love throughout the year, not just during our actual festival. IFFR wants to be a filmmaker's safe haven for development, financing, pre-production, festival release, and theatrical and VOD distribution.

Together with our colleagues from the Marketing and Online departments, we are currently in the midst of devising a whole new design to make our very own website environment function as an interactive catalogue of the films we are offering on demand. In other words: we are starting to look more and more like an actual VOD platform! Keeping a close eye on new developments in the field of independent distribution - such as the recent Vimeo/VHX merger - we are working on creating an ideal blend of the well-known IFFR brand and a new world of VOD options. Naturally, we are not Netflix, but we aspire to get as close as we possibly can!

In the meantime, the appeal of our efforts seems to touch more and more IFFR alumni across the globe. At the moment, the IFFR Unleashed team has over twenty-five titles set to be released via our platform over the course of this summer, all in different stages of technical preparation and content-based marketing strategy conversations. It is a process that teaches us many new things as well; for example, a so-called 'intake form' created to gain insight into filmmakers' goals and needs proved to be too rigid and limited for one filmmaker, while other filmmakers appreciate it as a means of structuring their thoughts. Retroactively, it has made us realise there are many things we would like to know about our filmmakers even before they present their film at our festival here in Rotterdam.

Another exciting part of this initiative is the deepening of IFFR's relationships with sales agents and distributors in various territories across the world. Certain sales representatives, such as Chinese Shadows (Siti, Paths of the Soul) or Mosquito Films Distribution (Motel Mist, Second Life of Thieves), have been involved over the years with several films that premiered or screened successfully in IFFR's main programmes. Regardless of this being an efficient way to expand our catalogue, it is a particularly beautiful declaration of trust and friendship to have sales agents and producers such as these accept our invitation to collaborate on finding their films the audiences they deserve.

In our next blog, we will talk you through the process, both technically and in terms of marketing strategy, leading up to one of our first independent releases come July. One piece of insight we can already present you with based on our experiences: start thinking about what you have already before we start discussing what we'll need in addition. Whether it's subtitles (English subtitles open up a big part of the VOD world, but Spanish and French subtitles are of crucial importance in many countries too!) or niche audiences (such as Japanese pop music devotees or lovers of socially engaged documentaries), our first step will always be to explore your film’s (and your own personal) strengths and opportunities. Let’s get started!

We aim to update this blog twice monthly. In the meantime, if you are interested in IFFR Unleashed or if you have questions particularly concerning the distribution potential of your own film (previously screened at IFFR), feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

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IFFR Unleashed