Lisanne and James here. We’ve been getting a lot of questions & emails about how we made and (self) distributed, Indie Game: The Movie. We also just returned from a bit of a speaking tour, where we talked about this very thing (Thanks for having us: WestDoc, XOXO Fest, VIFF Forum, RIFF & CCP ).
People seemed to be really interested and responded quite well. So, we thought weʼd put out a series of posts about what did and learned.
The production is, for the most part, the product of two people. (We directed, produced, shot, edited the film ourselves. The awesome score was by Jim Guthrie). And the majority of the distribution & release of the film organized by us as well (with the help of some great partners).
Though, we are control freaks (to a point), it was never our intention to be so decidedly independent in the way we made and distributed the film. Rather, it was an organic process. As the project grew, we found we were not only able to actually take on each new task ourselves - but that it actually made more sense for this film and its audience. We did this by leveraging technology, engaging people online (very early in the process), and a through a good amount of hard work.
And it worked out ... pretty well actually.
So, over the next little while, we’ll be rolling out a case study of sorts, touching on independent documentary/film funding, making and distribution. We'll be sharing information on what we did, how we did it, who helped us, the results, the successes and the missteps.
What is Indie Game: The Movie?
If this is the first time you’re reading our blog, here’s a little background:
Indie Game: The Movie (IGTM) is one of the first feature documentaries about making video games. It looks specifically at the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their visions with the world.
To us, the film is about the creative process and putting yourself out there through your work. It’s journey, we think, many filmmakers, creators, entrepreneurs, many people can relate to. (Watch the film online here. Also, check out the games in the film, Super Meat Boy, Fez & Braid.)
Indie Game: The Movie was one of the first feature films to be born on Kickstarter. It was funded in part by two successful crowd-funding campaigns. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, where it won the Best Editing Award in World Documentary Cinema and was optioned by Scott Rudin.
Here's a very brief overview of how the film has rolled out so far...
IGTM debuted at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film won an award for ‘Best Editing’ in the World Documentary Category. It was also an official selection of SXSW, Sheffield, Hotdocs and 30+ other great festivals.
IGTM was optioned by Scott Rudin for a potential fictional television series on HBO.
In May 2012, IGTM opened at the IFC Center in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco & Toronto. It expanded into other markets, and qualified for the Academy Awards.
We organized a 15 city, in-person US tour, presented by Adobe. Running from March - May 2012, the tour was instrumental in building enthusiasm for the film and the release.
IGTM has screened in 25 countries at with 100+ community and festival screenings. The film opened theatrically in Australia, Scotland & Scandinavia and continues to screen all over the world. (See a full listing here).
On June 12th, IGTM was released online, worldwide on iTunes, DRM-free from our own website (powered by VHX) and was the first feature film to be offered on Steam (the world’s largest online video game retailer). The film spent four weeks at #1 in the documentary category and peaked at #14 of all films on iTunes, & peaked at #7 of all titles on Steam.
On July 12th, the film’s online release was expanded to include Amazon, VuDu, Youtube, PS3, Xbox, and many others, with the help of Sundance Artist Services.
On Oct 1, IGTM was made available on Netflix US and Netflix UK.
Stay tuned, and we’ll get into how this all happened. We hope that by sharing our story, and putting more information out there, other filmmakers/creators may be a little more informed, a little more empowered and maybe a bit inspired as a result.
- Lisanne & James
p.s. HUGE thank you to Chad Pugh for the title graphic (& forthcoming infographics). He is amazing, check him out here.
OTHER CASE STUDY POSTS
NOTE: If you'd like to be included on future updates and a potential and expanded eBook version of the IGTM case study, please sign up for the mailing list in the top left column.