7 Questions with CEO, Festival Director, and Producer, Benjamin Oberman
1. FFF: How did you get into the entertainment industry?
BENJAMIN: I started as an athlete (pairs) on the US Figure Skating Team. That led to an opportunity working for ABC Sports which lasted two years. I learned a lot, but wasn’t ready to be behind the camera. I had a professional career performing on stage more than one thousand times before catching the producing bug. I started with live production then made for TV sports events. My career evolved into producing scripted TV and film, commercials and documentaries. When I noticed an increasing number of great films failing to reach audiences beyond the film festival circuit, I started a distribution company to improve the system and champion quality films.
2. FFF: What do you like best about your work?
BENJAMIN: I love the people I meet and with whom I work. I love the stories they tell and the films I see. I love the creativity involved in all we do and the challenge of connecting films and audiences.
3. FFF: Where do you find inspiration?
BENJAMIN: I find inspiration in nature, when hiking, running, and climbing in the mountains, in the quiet moments before the sun rises, and in observing others as I move through life.
4. FFF: How would you describe your style of work?
BENJAMIN: I like to work collaboratively. Once I have a clear vision, I’m very strong in building the best team possible with everyone working toward our common goal. I think I have a quiet intensity. I rarely yell or criticize, but I expect everyone to give everything they have and to execute at the highest degree. I pull [...]
Last month I spoke about the myriad of changes that render the major platforms useless for most of your films. But it’s not doom and gloom. During times of great change come great opportunities. So let’s talk about potential solutions and the many opportunities that are available to you as an indie filmmaker.
INTERNET VOD PLATFORMS:
Since the major VOD platforms have reached critical mass and either don’t want your film, or are not a viable option due to your inability to build critical awareness among their audience, you’d think this is a bad thing. But, in the same way we saw the boutique / mom and pop shops emerge from the big box retail landscape, we’re seeing boutique / specialty platforms appear online daily. Each of these VOD sites has a targeted and loyal fan base. You also have DIY platforms such as Vimeo On Demand, Reelhouse, VHX, and DotStudioPro who enable you to have your own VOD platform and reach your direct audience. You have more options than ever that are perfect for your film. All you have to do is a little research. These companies want your films!
SMART TV, WEB, AND MOBILE APPS:
There are more platforms emerging daily than you can count and it’s difficult to resist the desire to be everywhere. Focus on those platforms that hold the audience you know is right for your film. Consolidate your efforts in those few places to maximize your revenue and begin a trend of success. These apps are connecting you with an audience who will love your film, but may or may not have been willing to watch on a computer!
Although not effective in the way social media [...]
2015 is the start of a new era for Independent Film! (Part 2)
By Benjamin Oberman
February 1, 2015
Thanks to advances in technology, access to equipment, and education, DIY (Do It Yourself) Filmmaking is a reality. However, DIY Distribution is not as clear cut. Assisted distribution and hybrid distribution strategies are a more accurate description. From my experience as a filmmaker and CEO of Film Festival Flix, here are a few points you should know and understand to give your film the best opportunity for success…
INTERNET VOD PLATFORMS:
For the past 10 years the indie community mistakenly believed digital platforms were the Holy Grail, able to save Independent Film. What we failed to realize was they were stocking the shelves with the most plentiful and cost efficient content available while building their audience base to critical mass. The shelves are now more than stacked, these platforms serve and must satisfy tens to hundreds of millions of customers, as public companies are focused on films that move the bottom line for multi-billion dollar corporations, and as of December 2014, the release of THE INTERVIEW proved they can get studio films, “day-and-date”. Indie films, barely able to recoup the cost of the intern hired to onboard the film and metadata, are lost in the digital ocean.
SMART TV, WEB, AND MOBILE APPS:
The proliferation of the Smart TV, Mobile and Web Apps and the TV /Internet connectivity devices (Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, etc.) has made the internet accessible to everyone, not just kids and tech geeks. As new digital platforms emerge daily, filmmakers and many distributors falsely believe they need to be everywhere. All marketing dollars are your burden to bear! People don’t accidently discover your film. [...]
2015 is the start of a new era for Independent Film! (Part 1)
by Benjamin Oberman
January 4, 2015
Whether you realize it or not, the world has changed. The release of The Interview at the end of 2014 confirmed my theory and signaled the end of the digital infancy. According to the LA Times and FOX Business, the “day-and-date” release of THE INTERVIEW, forever changed the game.
The close of 2014 signaled the end of an era for the Indie.
For those of you who don’t know all the details… Following the major theater chains and digital platforms canceling the Christmas release, deeming the film too risky for exhibition, the Art House Convergence community and the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, rescued Sony with a petition to screen the film and stand up against Cyberterrorism.
Not only were the participating art house theaters sold out, the initial digital release of the film on Google Play and YouTube was the top performing movie on these platforms for 2014. Before expanding to iTunes, the film set Sony’s all-time record for online sales. Following the successful release, major theater chains were angered and an expanded digital release was announced as the major digital platforms rushed in.
2015 begins a new era for Independent Films.
In the midst of this changing landscape, we see great opportunity for the Independent film community.Film Festival Flix is building a parallel universe, seeking to be your trusted resource to discover and watch quality indie, art-house, foreign language, and niche market films. We are launching a number of initiatives to champion the Indie. In 2015 be sure to check out our theatrical premiere series, award-winning films, online film festivals, short film competition, and join our [...]
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