In March, it was reported that Hollywood was set to face a loss of $20 billion in revenues due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With theatres closing down everywhere and film shootings coming to a halt, the pandemic has left behind an extraordinary financial toll in its wake.
The independent film market is reeling under the effects of the virus, as well. While most large production houses will likely recover post-COVID, things may not be as easy for independent production companies.
Let’s take a look at how the pandemic is affecting independent filmmakers and the initiatives underway to combat the impact of the virus.
Major Challenges Facing the Independent Film MarkeT
There are a variety of problems that confront the independent film market at the moment. These include:
1. Flim Festivals have been canceled
One of the biggest challenges currently facing the film industry at the moment is the cancellation and postponement of global film festivals, such as Cannes and SXSW. The Locarno Film Festival has also been cancelled. In the past, these film festivals have served as a primary marketing avenue for independent production companies. The Locarno Festival for instance is widely regarded as major platform for the indie film industry. From showcasing their work to a diverse audience to generating positive word of mouth, these festivals have played a pivotal role in marketing and promoting the work of independent filmmakers.
2. Switch to steaming platforms
Given how theater releases and film festivals are no longer an option, the only viable alternative for independent production companies is to stream their films on streaming platforms. Once again, attracting an audience is the primary challenge here. Most indie films rely on critical acclaim and buzz in the press to slowly attract new crowds in theaters. In the case of streaming services, a movie is released abruptly and may easily get lost in the sea of content currently available on these platforms.
3. no Film school shoots and lack of sponsorship
The lack of funds, along with social distancing measures, has brought all shoots to a halt. This is a major challenge for independent filmmakers along with crew members who are unable to find work amid the pandemic. Given the amount of risk associated with the film industry, sponsors are backing out of supporting indie films, as well.
Most production companies do not have production insurance that can lower the costs they have incurred due to delay in shoots. There are also no insurance policies that can provide coverage for weeks of quarantine. This shifts the financial burden on production companies instead. When filming does resume, we can also expect an overwhelming amount of competition among production companies vying for the best locations and crew. This can be major problem for independent filmmakers who do not have the financial resources to compete with major production houses.
WHAT CAN BE DOne?
It’s true that things are looking grim. However, several initiatives are being developed to counteract the worst effects of the virus and sustain the film industry. These include:
1. adopting digital film marketing strategies
In the wake of the pandemic, independent production companies must reconsider their marketing strategies and opt for digital film marketing to promote upcoming releases. Digital advertising tools such as social media marketing, content marketing, and targeted ad sets can be particularly effective in helping these filmmakers reach out to their target audience.
2. streaming sties for indie films
Efforts are underway to develop digital streaming platforms designed to support independent films as well as the theaters that showcase them. These include Theatrical-at-Home and Kino Marquee – two streaming platforms that have been designed to recreate the movie-going experience. Films will be booked on specific days and screened on dedicated web pages for each theater. Virtual screening rooms will be set up and the exhibitor and distributor will share revenues generated through ticket sales.
3. online film festivals
A selected list of indie films has been released on YouTube under an initiative labeled the “We Are One” global film festival. The initiative features programming from a variety of top film festivals, such as Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, Venice Film Festival, and more. The film festival is set to run from 29th May to 7th June. It’s open to the public and anyone can watch the films that have been selected.
Similar initiatives can work in favor of the independent film market and renew faith among investors who are currently wary of supporting indie films.
WORK WITH VANQUISH MEDIA GROUP
At Vanquish Media Group, we specialize in developing robust digital marketing strategies to promote independent films. From social media and web design to paid media, we can introduce you to a variety of solutions that help you reach out to your target audience and run a successful marketing campaign ahead of a new release.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our services.
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