Hi everyone! Apologies for not writing since March. It's been a crazy few months! I'm sending updates on festivals, distribution and prizes. Short version first. Inside Baseball version below that.
Distribution: we're on the verge of signing a deal with a distributor who will put us on digital streaming and on-demand platforms such as Itunes, Hulu, Netflix, etc, and attempt to make a sale on our behalf with a TV station. No theatrical - however we are free to arrange our own theatrical screenings (see below).
I say 'put us on platforms...' but there are no guarantees any single platform will take us. We could end up on Netlflix but not on X-box, or vice-versa, or on neither but on others. The distributor seems confident they can middleman us a robust life online.
Release is tentatively planned for December, to take advantage of the Buffalo wing's annual time in the limelight as Americans eat billions and billions of wings during the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl.
Festivals: after a summer lull, fall is shaping up to be busy. We have screenings Labor Day weekend for wing buffs and the wing industry at National Buffalo Wing Fest in Buffalo. Please come if you can! Details and showtimes:
We're playing Williamstown, a Massachusetts town I only recently became aware of yet one that has a surprisingly good film fest (they world premiered FROZEN RIVER a few years ago). Festival runs October 30 to November 3. Screening date and time coming soon.
We're locked in for two more festivals in October (we're not supposed to make announcements until July, so I can't name them) and expect to play at least a few others in September, October and November.
Prizes: Jokes, recipes, sauce, music and hunting weekend getaways have been delivered. DVD and Digital downloads of the film, and categories that include those prizes, are being held up so as to not jeopardize our distribution deal. I apologize for the inaccurate delivery estimate. Merchandise has been delivered (and autographed). We plan to get all of the prizes out the door in December with release of the film.
Thanks again for your support!
Distribution: Why are we taking this deal? Were there other deals to be had? Why no theatrical?
We naively expected the success of our premiere in Atlanta (http://filmicability.blogspot.com/2013/03/2013-atlanta-film-festival-review-great.html) to blast open doors to distributors and sales agents. How naively naive we were. Though Atlanta was a feather in our cap, it continued to be a Herculean task to get distributors to even return calls and emails, much less watch the film.
(Sidenote: I find it frustrating and strange when people form opinions about films they have not seen based solely on subject matter and genre, as if a hypothetical wing documentary is the same as the specific wing documentary that is THE GREAT CHICKEN WING HUNT. I think most people are like me -- we go to films because they look GOOD, or because someone recommended them (i.e. they are good). Do I want to see a buddy film set in wine country? Maybe. Do I want to see SIDEWAYS? You bet. Do I want to see a documentary about classic video games? Maybe. Do I want to see CHASING GHOSTS? No way. Do I want to see KING OF KONG? You bet your ass.)
Nevertheless, one distributor stepped forward. A credible distributor with a solid list of films under its belt but one that specializes in the digital world and TV. No theatrical (bummer), and their business model seemed to be a numbers game -- put out a lot of films and hope some blow up. How much support would they put behind WING HUNT? I don't know. But as feelings go, I got a good one from them (A good feeling is not much to go on, but it's better than getting a bad feeling. We ran into a few shysters.) More important, with no other deal on the table, we faced a choice: take the bird in the hand or hope more birds would appear (and that we'd slay them).
Play more festivals in the fall, a fellow-filmmaker said, rack up awards, and THEN start knocking on doors. It's too early to make a deal.
This was sound advice -- for HIS most recent film. Like us, he did not get into one of the handfull of festivals that more or less guarantee attention from distributors (Sundance, Cannes, etc). (Sidenote: It's practically impossible to get into these festivals if it's 1. your first film and 2. you lack representation from a sales agent, which is usually the case if it's your first film. It's an opaque and corrupt system.) His film went on to kick ass in film fest triple-A, racking up a string of awards. However, it was THE KIND OF FILM that racks up awards. WING HUNT is not the kind of doc that racks up award. (apart from other considerations, comedy always gets the shaft.)
Wanting to release the film December to take advantage of NFL Playoff Wing Fever, and not wanting to wait ANOTHER YEAR, we moved forward with the bird in the hand.
Fear not! Little, if anything, has been lost. Theatrical was a super long shot anyway. As witnessed by the Buffalo screenings in September (see above), we can use our connections in upstate New York to arrange theatrical in mid-sized cities, and we can spend the time we would have spent knocking on distributors' doors in the fall working on PLAN B: reaching out to the wing industry to sponsor screenings in major cities. Does this sound like a pipe dream? It's a long shot, sure, but no less likely (and probably more likely, in my opinion) than finding a theatrical distributor to take a chance on a low-budget documentary that is not about a social issue.
What happens now? Lawerying and the sorting out musical rights. We hope to make an announcement soon.