International investing has always been a fruitful idea for the filmmaker, you can make more money on your film than in the US, by having an international distribution company invest for you.
While film distribution houses were making deals, watching screeners, attending to clients and reading investment memorandums, a new form of free funding was born out of presales. More often than not, while presales are still common, others were getting badly burned from investments. International Co-Productions grew out of pre-sales,(see blog post on presales for more info) what exactly they were was the distribution companies taking a large amount of stake in the film’s success by acting as insurance that the film was correctly made for maximum profit.
Currently, there is a demand for documentaries and special interests films abroad, says Parks. Using common sense anybody could figure that documentaries will always be of interest. If you traveled to Saskatchewan and filmed their landscape and put some narrative to the A &B roll, you bet some international or U.S. Distribution Company would buy it. Even if they didn’t, you probably could get enough funds from the Saskatchewan government to create a documentary focused on tourism to that country. No government that doesn’t have enough tourism in their economy would turn a filmmaker down.
When it comes to financing for your film, you have to be creative in the best way you can. Although financing from a distribution company would be a better step in the right direction because only they can guarantee success and not individual investors or private people not in the distribution industry.
When selling your film abroad, it’s important to know ask and take prices by territory. Territory means country, an “ask” price means what’s market value for you to ask in terms of money for what your movie is worth and a “take” price is what is the least amount you can get.
A sales agent agreement usually has the numbers for different countries. This by far sets forth an agreement that a producer/filmmaker of an independent film has the same control as the U.S. distributor in a different country to enter in a contract with an international distributor. (Stroock, Stroock &Lavan LLP, 2000)
In Stacey Parks book, “The Insider’s Guide to Independent Film Distribution” a chart on page 36 is shown that depicts what countries ask and take prices are. At the top is the U.S. that asks for 100K, followed by the UK with 50K, and trailing along behind from 20K-25k is Germany, France, Italy and Japan. The rest of the countries’ ask price is between 10-15K.
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