Wednesday was the final day of the SAICFA, or Christian Filmmakers Academy. Once again, Extreme Meetings provided some statistics about the filmmakers in attendance. Christian Filmmakers primarily watch PG-13 rated films (39%) on DVD (71%). When they rent, they like to use Netflix (41%) and Redbox (25%). About half of the attendees see 1-2 films in a theatre per year (49%), and the rest are split between those that visit the theatre 1-2 times per month, and those who have never seen a film on the big screen.
Today’s theme was the business of film, focusing especially on distribution, fulfillment and marketing. Kirk Cameron, Stephen Kendrick, Philip and Chris Leclerc, Curtis Bowers, Collin Gunn, John Moore, David Cook, J.D. King, Geoff Botkin and Doug Phillips all took the stage to offer their unique insights into the business end of film production. One consensus introduced by Curtis Bowers is the importance of grassroots in marketing. Once people are excited about a film, they want to tell their friends. The day ended with Kirk Cameron discussing his new film, Monumental.
Trig Jacobson opened the morning with the ‘Brand Identification Model’, a simple system to evaluate your brand. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was an example: “Ben & Jerry’s serves ice cream lovers who don’t do things by halves [or halfway]. Ben & Jerry’s fills your face full of flavor so you can feel gloriously righteous about your indulgence. It is outrageously packed full of the stuff we love to love.”
Collin Gunn remarked on the importance of tone in documentaries, saying, “Theology without art is impassionate. Art without theology is selfishness.”
John Moore on distribution noted a maxim that his father had taught him. That is, wherever you are, you are an ambassador for yourself, your business, and your brand. So always be professional.
Oh, and one more thing, unanimously agreed to by the panel: if you can, win the SAICFF Jubilee award; It’s one of the best things you can do for distribution and sales. Thursday the festival begins, and the $101,000 best of festival winner will be decided. Who are you rooting for?