Friday, February 22, 2008

Yellow Pages for Filmmakers:

A Very Specialized Directory to Non-Theatrical U.S. Distributors

Originally published by the Film Arts Foundation, "Release Print" April 2009
By Mitchell W. Block

his guide is for independent filmmakers making shorts, documentaries, and feature-length fiction films. The distributors listed in this directory ordinarily make exclusive deals to sell and/or rent copies of independent films to the educational, institutional, and home video markets; some will also license work to broadcast, cable, and web-based companies. Although some might offer a small advance or guarantee, they seldom finance production. Unlike a television/cable buyer or studio, they rarely have the resources to “buy out” a program,
in which case the filmmaker sells all rights to the film (not only for the markets listed above, but also for remakes, sequels, etc.) in exchange for production funds.

I did not include companies or individuals that function as agents or producer’s reps, or lawyers who sell works to other distributors or buyers; nor did I list aggregators (Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, National Video Network, iVideo, etc.) since they do not market individual titles.
Distributors are very selective, so it is best to talk with them before you make your film.

My first rule of distribution is that if distributors will not buy your film when it is an idea, they generally will not buy it when it is finished. Distributors tend to specialize in market niches, such as health issues, Jewish films, women’s studies, and the environment. Visit their websites before you contact them to see if they handle films similar to yours. Send a short email to those that do; describe your proposed film, give running time, format, etc., and see what response you receive.

If there is interest, the distributor will likely be helpful and can tell you about the market
demand for your subject, what similar films are being made, and where you might find funding. If you are met with silence, try again or call; perhaps your e-mail did not get to the right person.
Selecting a distributor is similar to finding a spouse. Since no distributors are perfect, you need to spend time with them to find the one who will reach the potential buyers of your work.

All of the distributors listed do one or more of the following:
Educational Distribution (non-theatrical distribution): Manufacture video, DVD, and film copies of works. Sell to educational institutions, such as churches, schools, businesses, etc., under a “Public Performance”
license. Promote with catalogues, websites, and direct marketing.
Some have thousands of titles, and others just a few. Many specialize in specific markets, such as college and library, or by subjects,
such as environment, history, cooking, and spirituality.
Home Video Distribution: Manufacture copies of works and sell to wholesalers or directly to consumers.
Theatrical Distribution: Release independent films in theaters.
Television/Broadcast/Cable Representation: License works to broadcast markets, including public, commercial, cable, and satellite networks.

Note: Most represent works for stock footage sales.

Adler Media, Inc.
McLean, VA
(703) 556-8880
Home video and broadcast agents.

AM Videos
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-0199
Educational: African-American experience.

Ambrose Video Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY
(800) 526-4663
Educational and home video: science, social studies, health, BBC Shakespeare series.

Aquarius Health Care Media
Sherborn, MA
(888) 440-2963

Educational: health care media.
Baxley Media Group
Urbana, IL
(217) 384-4838
Educational: psychological and ethical issues in health care.

Benchmark Media
Briarcliff Manor, NY
(800) 438-5564; (914) 762-3838
Distributes and produces curricular videos for release in the U.S. and abroad.

Bullfrog Films, Inc.
Oley, PA
(800) 543-3764; (610) 779-8226
Educational: environment, ecology, indigenous people, performing arts.

California Newsreel
San Francisco, CA
(415) 284-7800
Educational (nonprofit): African-American, globalization, ‘Media and Society.’

Cambridge Documentary Films, Inc.
Cambridge, MA
(617) 484-3993

Center for Asian American Media
San Francisco, CA
(415) 863-0814
One of the largest distributors of Asian-American audio/visual materials.

Chip Taylor Communications
Derry, NH
(603) 434-9262; (800) 876-2447
Educational: 1,500 titles in all subject areas.

Clearvue & SVE
(formerly Center Productions & Churchill Films)
Chicago, IL
(800) 253-2788
Educational (part of Discovery).

CRM Films
Carlsbad, CA
(800) 421-0833; (619) 431-9800
Educational: business training.

Direct Cinema Ltd.
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 636-8200
(educational) (home video)
Limited theatrical, home video, and educational: documentary shorts, series, features, TV sales.

Documentary Educational Resources (DER)
Watertown, MA
(617) 926-0491
Educational: anthropology, ethnography, sociology.
Electronic Arts Intermix
New York, NY
(212) 337-0680
Educational: experimental film, video, and performance works.

Emerging Pictures
New York, NY
(212) 245-6767
Theatrical and home video: docs.

Ergo Media, Inc.
Teaneck, NJ
(201) 692-0404
Educational and home video: Israel, Judaism, Jewish culture.

Facets Video
Chicago, IL
(773) 281-9075
Educational (limited) and home video: foreign and independent docs.

Fanlight Productions
Boston, MA
(617) 469-4999
Educational: health care, mental health, disabilities, gerontology, workplace, family issues, gender roles.

Film Ideas
Wheeling, IL
(800) 475-3456; (847) 419-0255

Filmakers Library
New York, NY
(212) 808-4980
Educational: award-winning docs.

The Film-Makers’ Cooperative
New York, NY
(212) 267-5665
Educational and home video (one of the largest): experimental and avant-garde films.

Films for the Humanities & Sciences
(Films Media Group)
Princeton, NJ
(800) 257-5126; (609) 275-1400
Educational (one of the largest): docs.

First Light Video Publishing
Venice, CA
(310) 577-8581
Educational and home video: media arts.

First Run Features
New York City, NY
(212) 243-0600
Educational, home video, and theatrical (limited): LGBT docs.

San Francisco, CA
(415) 703-8650
Exhibition, distribution, promotion, and funding of LGBT films and videos.

Icarus Films/First Run
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 488-8900
Educational and theatrical (large): curricular and non-curricular docs.

Janson Associates
Harrington Park, NJ
(201) 784-8488
Educational, home video, and broadcast sales; retains a small collection of special interest docs.

Kino International
New York, NY
(212) 629-6880
Educational, home video, and theatrical: foreign, independent, docs.

Kultur Video
(also White Star Video)
W. Long Beach, NJ
(732) 229-2343
Home video: music, dance, art, ballet, opera.

L & S Video, Inc.
Chappaqua, NY
(914) 238-9366
Educational and home video: African Americans in the arts.

Landmark Media
Falls Church, VA
(703) 241-2030; (800) 342-4336
Educational: K-12, library, college.

Live Wire Media
San Francisco, CA
(415) 564-9500; (800) 359-5437
Educational: K-12.

Lucerne Media
Morris Plains, NJ
(800) 341-2293

Media for the Arts
Newport, RI
(401) 846-6580
Educational: arts.

Milestone Film & Video
Harrington Park, NJ
(800) 603-1104
Home video: independent, art house, silent films.

Monterey Media
Thousand Oaks, CA
(805) 494-7199
Home video.

MPI Home Video
Orland Park, IL
(708) 460-0555
Home video: television, movies, musical productions, and educational content for kids.

Mystic Fire Video
(800) 292-9001
Home video: New Age docs.

New Day Films
Harriman, NY
(888) 367-9154; (845) 774-2945
Educational and home video (self-distribution/co-op): outstanding docs and other works.

New Video
New York, NY
(212) 206-8600
Home video: houses many brands, including A&E, MTM, Scholastic, and Docurama.

New Yorker Video
New York, NY
(212) 645-4600
Home video: foreign and domestic independent films.

Pyramid Media
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 828-7577
Educational (high-end).

Questar Video
Chicago, IL
(312) 266-9400
Burbank, CA
(818) 953-4153
Home video and broadcast: docs, with a historical emphasis.

Roland Collection
Harriman, NY
(800) 597-6526; (201) 251-8200
Educational and home video: international.

Seventh Art Releasing
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 845-1455
Broadcast and limited home video and theatrical: docs.

Shanachie Entertainment
Newton, NJ
(973) 579-7763
Home video: music.

SISU Home Entertainment
New York, NY
(800) 223-7478
Educational and home video: Jewish/Israeli and music.

Strand Releasing Home Video
Culver City, CA
(310) 836-7500
Home video: independent domestic and foreign features.

Terra Nova Films
Chicago, IL
(800) 779-8491; (773) 881-8491
Educational: health.

The Cinema Guild
New York, NY
(800) 723-5522; (212) 685-6242
Educational, home video, and theatrical (limited): health science, social studies, world cultures, arts and humanities, children’s and young adult, short fiction, how-to.

Third World Newsreel/Camera News, Inc.
New York, NY
(212) 947-9277
One of the oldest nonprofit distributors of docs and other works.

Video Project
Half Moon Bay, CA
(800) 475-2538; (415) 284-0600
Educational and home video: social-issue docs, educational.

Vision Video
Worcester, PA
(800) 523-0226; (610) 584-3500
Home video: Christian.

Wolfe Video
Los Angeles, CA
(800) 438-9653
Home video and theatrical: LGBT.

Women Make Movies
New York, NY
(212) 925-0606
Educational and theatrical (limited): A long-established nonprofit with an outstanding documentary collection.

Xenon Entertainment
Santa Monica, CA
(310) 451-5510
Home video: independent features, urban issues, African American.

Zeitgeist Films Ltd.
New York, NY
(800) 509-0448
Home video, broadcast, and theatrical (limited): art-house, docs, foreign.


Tony Destroni said...

great information thanks for sharing this i hope that my paginas amarillas have this too .

tom said...

This is really great post and these sites are really great i know few people who got job from these sites and i want to thanks to you for sharing your information.

Tom Levens

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