Idiots' Diary #3: I’ve Decided to Self Distribute 'Idiots & Angels'

So I've decided to self distribute Idiots & Angels. The biggest hurdle is finding a cinema in NYC. There are a whole lot of films looking for cinemas and not a whole lot of cinemas, so the trick is the find one that suites my audience. Animation fans.

So I've decided to self distribute Idiots & Angels.  The biggest hurdle is finding a cinema in NYC.  There are a whole lot of films looking for cinemas and not a whole lot of cinemas, so the trick is the find one that suites my audience.  Animation fans.

A lot of people say that back in the 70's was the Golden Age of indie cinema in NYC, with venues like The Thalia, The New Yorker, The Elgin and Bleeker Street Cinema. Certainly it's sad that all those cinemas are now gone, but they've been replaced by a wider selection of film exhibitors;  you have The Angelika, The Sunshine, Film Forum, IFC, Cinema Village, The Quad, The Anthology Film Archive and Village East Cinemas.  These are just the downtown cinemas, so I believe there is a much wider selection now than ever before.

Another roadblock that I've run up against is the fact that most these cinemas prefer to deal with established distributors, because they're professional, dependable, and have other films in the pipeline.  I however do not, as a habit, distribute films, and my next film in the “pipeline” will not be ready for another 3 years.  So why should a theater show my film?  Good question.  Maybe because I've been in the business awhile, proved that I have a well-established fan base and they hope I can bring all the animation fans to their cinema.

So I began to call up all the distributors I know:  Karen Cooper, who I worked with long ago when I first arrived in NYC in the 70's.  She said her schedule is all filled up until the winter, but that's too late to qualify Idiots & Angels for the Oscars, which is another one of my goals with this film.

I'm afraid The Anthology is not quite my crowd.  They cater to the more Avante Guard clientele, so I don't think my film will fit in.  I was hoping to show it at Pioneer Cinema in the East Village (that's where I had a nice run with Hair High), but they shut down last year;  a sad loss.  The Village East Cinema had a strange message on their phone that said if you have a film to distribute describe the Title and Subject, and leave it on their machine.  Bizarre!  So I did, and never heard back from them.  I think they preferred to have an established distributor talk to them.  Dead End.  I called the booker at The Quad where my film The Tune showed back in 1993, but again they needed to connect with an established distributor unless I wanted to four wall it for $8,000.  That's my entire PR budget for NY and LA so I had to back out of that one.

That left me two options:  IFC Center on 6th Ave in the Village, and the Cinema Village, also in the Village.

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