ThinkFilm stumbles

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Film distribution is a hard business. The worst part about it, in my limited time in the game, was that the public viewed distributors as the enemy, and imagined the companies raking in cash at the expense of independent theaters, audiences, and filmmakers. It was my experience that many small companies give over 50% of all profits from a film directly to the filmmaker, and bear the expense of publicity, marketing materials, shipping, etc., for films that rarely break $100,000 at the box office.

Thankfully I never worked for a distribution company that fell into the kind of mess that it sounds ThinkFilm is in – but NWFF is bearing some of the problem on the exhibition end. As of now, we’ve had to downgrade at least one screening from showing on 35mm to video since the print was curiously no longer available from the distributor (held in hoc by FedEx? we can only speculate).

Though the founders of ThinkFilm may well have thought they’d be the next Weinsteins and turn a huge profit with films like BORN INTO BROTHELS and SPELLBOUND, it is also likely they had good intentions to help quality under appreciated work hit the streets. After all, there is a market for intelligent dramas and documentaries. There are many much smaller groups out there with even riskier projects. I hope this is not a sign of things to come to other small distribution companies.

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