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How to Distribute an Independent Film: Independent Film Distribution?

Independent film distribution is always the hardest part of filmmaking because once you have your beloved film finished what do you do with it. Many books have been written on the subject, so I would recommend going to the bookshop and checking some out. The titles and publications keep changing quite often, just like the ways of distribution, so the best way would be to go online or bookshop and choose one that you think would be helpful.

Below is a list of ideas regarding self-distribution if you can’t get a distributor or a buyer interested in your work.

Film festivals

To find the great selection of film festivals go to (amongst other websites).

Festivals are always a great way to network and meet people, however; it can be pretty tricky to get to a festival. This doesn’t mean that your film is not good enough I found out that festivals are very personal for each person judging. So it might be that your film is not what they are looking for.


These are organisations, which are in charge of organising exhibition and promotion of artists, film and video work. 

These are only UK based organisations, but it will give you an idea what I am talking about and what to look for in your own country.


Look for the websites that specialise in promoting filmmakers and video artists. There’s a load of websites, find one that suits your needs the most.  was created especially for distribution and promotion purposes for independent filmmakers. We not only offer the possibility for networking and exhibiting shorts but also everyone can create his or her profile, and you don’t even have to upload your films to have a profile.

Personally, I think that the Internet is the best tool for independent filmmakers who want to exhibit their shorts and get their name around. 


The television industry doesn’t buy shorts that often and if it does, the big guys don’t pay much. It is usually a very long and challenging process before your short is aired on TV.

However, at the same time, that kind of exposure is good for your CV. If you decide to go for TV distribution, watch out for the contracts because sometimes TV channel wants exclusive rights for your short that is never good because you won’t be able to do anything else with it.

A good thing to remember is that TV hardly ever takes a risk and most TV channels look for the same thing.  If your short is more experimental don’t expect them to buy it.

Some of the television stations that show or have shown short and experimental work include:

  • Arte, France (Court-Circuit)
  • Channel Four, UK (The Shooting Gallery)
  • Canal Plus, France
  • Canal Plus, Spain (La Noche+Corta)
  • ORF, Austria
  • Rai Sat, Italy
  • SBS, Australia
  • Sundance Channel, USA
  • TVE, Spain
  • YLE, Finland

Useful websites

Distribution tips 

  1. Set up a preview screening and invite all the programmers, curators and distributors.
  2. Try to avoid using miniDV as an exhibition format; it doesn’t guarantee the best exhibition quality.
  3. Make more than one copy of your exhibition work; it’s cheaper this way.
  4. Make sure that preview tapes/DVD’s always work correctly.
  5. Work on your promotional material. Make sure it’s clear and represents your work in the best light.
  6. Set up a website to promote your work or use for that matter.
  7. Describe your work; be clear and concise, try not to confuse anyone with your description.
  8. Keep your promotional materials brief and label everything you send.
  9. Once you get a distributor, be transparent with one another about what you want and expect from each other.
  • Research whom you are sending your work to; it might save you a lot of time and money.

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