Seed&Spark Teams With Indie Distributor for Free Seminar

An organization known for crowdfunding wants to help indie film producers distribute their films.

Seed&Spark has teamed up with Tugg, a website that lets people choose the movies that play in their local cinema, on a touring seminar that teaches producers how get their films from development to festivals to local movie theaters.

The seminar, which is being offered free of charge at upcoming film festivals in Hollywood, Las Vegas, Vancouver, and Austin, is more about developing an audience than simply making a buck.

"While financial returns are important," said Emily Best, founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, "what we are trying to do is teach a comprehensive beginning-to-end course to help filmmakers build meaningful connections with growing audiences using the tools for crowdfunding."

Tugg has allowed filmmakers to get their features into local movie theaters by pre-building an audience online. If a certain threshold of supporters purchase tickets in, say, Los Angeles, Tugg will organize a run of the film, with a majority-share of the profits going to the producers.

Nicolas Gonda, who founded Austin-based Tugg, said filmmakers approach theatrical release of their features for different purposes—some want to make money, others want to market themselves as artists.

"We give filmmakers flexibility to set their terms—that's what drives the threshold for the event, along with logistics—and then they're getting the majority share of every ticket sold above that threshold," he said.

The partnership between the groups is about helping filmmakers develop a closer relationship with their audience, according to Best. The two organizations together "provide an infrastructure for cultivating that direct connection and then reaping the financial returns of that connection."

Moreover, Best said it's not enough to simply produce a film and hope it will find an audience.

"There's a lottery ticket that a lot of independent filmmakers were sold over the last 20 years: that we're just independent projects that are tiny versions of studio films so we have to do everything the way studios are doing them," she said. "If we get to the top North American film festival and get picked up, that means success. Most of the time it does not. It actually means no financial returns ether for the creators or their investors."

Seed&Spark has a history of forging successful partnerships. Last year, it teamed up with Big Vision Empty Wallet (BVEW), an online community of artists, and Film Independent, which produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, to offer a reduced rate on crowdfunding and distribution for indie films.