Nova Vento Filmmaker FAQ
Are you a filmmaker and have questions about our different distribution models? Hopefully they are answered here but if they are not please feel free to send us a note and ask us anything not covered.
What are your different distribution models?
At the moment we have two models. The current model is our “Premiere” and is very basic. You send your movie, we make a deal, Nova Vento shops it to theaters. We are building another model of distribution which is our Carousel (at least we’re calling it that for now), and that model is more of a marketplace where we place your film and certain theater associations can order the elements on demand. It’s a work in progress but will allow more independent theatres access to more independent films. Watch for updates on this in the coming months.
Will Nova Vento distribute my film?
We would love to but your project must meet our minimum requirements – there may be others but these are our basic requirements:
NOTE: Yes, we know, we have even violated some of these ourselves but Nova Vento is run by humans that have learned our lessons the hard way so let’s all work for the best possible outcomes, not the exceptions.
- Must be feature length with a minimum TRT of 85 minutes.
- Must be a high quality film – look on the site for comparisons.
- Must be Clear and free of all encumbrances – make sure all of your actor deals, sync licensing, insurance, etc. are in place.
- Must be able to complete the list of deliverables (see below).
- It can not have existed on any VOD platform including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, etc.
- Sound must be professionally recorded and mixed.
Why do some movies play at some theaters and others don’t?
There are actually a number of possible explanations for this. Here are a few possibilities:
- By special request – the theater may have asked for that specific feature.
- Because the roll-out cycle of the film might not have reached that particular venue as of yet.
- You really want to show your film when the market is saturated with tent poles. Sometimes the large studios will change a schedule suddenly and smaller films become the victims of that. If you could choose between an indie film like “All Harry’s Loves” (there is no movie called that by the way) and Spiderman, which are you going to pick? Thus the theater owners dilemma, they love indies but it’s hard to pass up tent pole money.
Honestly, it stings but indie films are lucky to get into theaters at all. We have had a perfect storm of Covid, tent poles and timing lose us 90% of a show’s run at one point and it was easily one of the best movies we ever represented. Unfortunately, that is just how it goes sometimes and you hope the next one does better.
How is Nova Vento’s strategy different from the general audience distributors?
Let’s talk about a few:
- We work specifically with independent filmmakers and independent theaters. General Distributors focus on blockbusters.
- We market regionally or locally, not nationally. General distributors will market nationally to make a first weekend impact. We are more concerned about the slow burn that allows us to create a more grassroots marketing approach.
- Our marketing is event based. When we open a feature at a venue we always recommend letting Nova Vento work with the theater on creating an event. These events get the dialogue going about the movie which tends to carry over into the week, bringing more people to the theater.
- We focus on the indie crowd not general audiences.
- We make independent films too so we understand where everyone is coming from. It’s a tough road. The filmmakers have a hard time getting their films to distributors and theaters have a difficult time vetting independent films. So we do that work for everyone on both sides.
As a filmmaker, what else can I do to prepare my film for a potential theatrical release?
There is far more to showing a film theatrically than just meeting the basic requirements, there are not only some technical things but some ‘mindset’ things to take with you as a filmmaker.
- Put yourself in the mindset that you are shooting a film for a theatrical release. Everything is bigger, everything is focused on the space, make sure you are thinking scope or flat, not 16:9.
- Let go. It pays to hustle when you are making a film but once it gets to distribution it is a very different game. We prefer filmmaker involvement but when filmmakers go off and just start doing things because “Why wouldn’t this be a great idea. It’s a great idea, right?” We’ve nearly been sued for great ideas by filmmakers that decided to run off and do whatever they thought was best. So let go, let us help you through the process, and understand that theatrical distribution is a world that you likely don’t understand, and we do. Let us help you.
- Manage your expectations. In the indie world it is very rare for a film to get picked up and expanded. It happens, it has happened for us, but it is extremely rare.
- Make sure that you have put your best foot forward. Picture and sound should be top of your game, films with marketable names in them will typically take precedence with theaters over movies without a name, have all of your publicity elements in order (BTS, stills, key art, poster, etc.).
- Disclose everything to us – this is incredibly important. Have you pitched it to theaters? Did someone else have it under contract for anything at all, etc. Tell us everything, and I mean everything, about your film.
Will you accept short films?
We are not accepting short films as of October 2022, however we would like to begin offering a short films block to theaters in 2023 so short film submissions will be welcome starting in the later part of 2023.
Will you accept documentaries?
Yes, we will accept feature length documentaries. Obviously documentary films must adhere to the same guidelines as narrative features in regards to time, clearances, etc. We have missed out on some incredible documentaries due to the fact that they were already online.
What rights does Nova Vento want and what will I get from all of this?
Good question, though we do have a couple of different placement packages, we essentially work on the principle of 50/50/50. That is, the theater will take about 50% of the gross of tickets generally, then we split that with the filmmaker. A typical deal with a large distributor for theatrical will net you about 8-12% in the end, so you have to do your own cost benefit analysis and see if we are a good fit for you.
- Nova Vento only requests North American Theatrical distribution rights (US, Mexico, Canada and US military bases).
- We are not currently distributing for VOD. We work with partners who do. If we take you on as a partner we will be happy to connect you with other groups that will do VOD, network, etc.
- Terms are typically 1 year with a performance clause after 6 months. If the film isn’t performing then either side can dissolve the remainder of the term based on the details in the contract.
- There are separate terms for our Demand model and our Premiere model but we can talk with you about that on an individual basis as well.
Does entering my feature in a film festival hurt my chances with Nova Vento?
Not at all. As a matter of fact we see it as a huge bonus. What festivals were you accepted into? What awards did you receive? Were there any special events that you were a part of? In special circumstances a film festival can hurt your chances. For example, you are part of a film festival that puts all of their entries online for free. This would violate our basic requirements.
Where will my movie play?
Hopefully in every independent theater in North America but we all know that isn’t realistic. We work regularly with a very large number of theaters (both independent and chains) so the possibility is only limited by the circumstances surrounding the film. Program, content, publicity, actors, etc. all play a huge part in the adoption of the film by theaters. Something as simple as not having your trailer ready in time can cut out 80% of the chosen market.
Are you going to charge me for a bunch of extras like a $10,000 trailer?
No, if you bring elements to the table that are not up to the job such as a bad trailer or poster then we will ask you to remake them. If you cannot, then we can cut a deal to do it for you but we always do it at cost. We do not overcharge for items relating to your film’s success. That is not in the best interest of the filmmaker or Nova Vento.
Here is a list of all of the charges that could occur with a listing of how frequent they occur:
- VPF – No longer
- Trailer – If you don’t have a trailer and you can not get a clean one then one will need to be cut for you. It costs us about $1,000 and we charge you $1,000. Number of times charged so far: 0
- DCP – Hopefully you have one properly built (check the FFM Ep. 4 for help), however if you do not have one we can create it for you. A DCP will cost us about $200 in human hours and $200 to QC it in a theater. We charge $400. For this charge we do not give you a physical copy but will make it available for you to download upon request. Number of times charged so far: 1
- Theater minimum – We do charge $250 minimum per theater. This also comes out of our first costs so if a film makes $4,000 in box office at a theater then you would receive $1,000 – $2,000 to the theater, $1,000 to the filmmaker or agency, and $1,000 to Nova Vento ($250 minimum + $750 remainder). If the film makes $600 at a theater then you would receive $50 – $300 to the theater, $250 to Nova Vento, $50 to the filmmaker or agency.
If you are accessing Nova Vento through another distributor or agency then the amount will be paid to them and any percentages or charges they require will be between you and them.
What About Advertising?
We handle advertising a bit differently. We attach a Market Champion to your project. That is, we bring in someone that we have worked with that has watched your film and wants to promote it because they believe in it. You are not charged for this person though they will make recommendations that will likely cost you money. You should be prepared to spend about $500 per theater for marketing. Nova Vento will be matching this amount in P&A costs so it works out to around $1,000 per theater. Not nearly what the large distributors will spend but then again we are not talking about national roll outs are we?
Your Marketing Champion will have a history of successfully marketing an independent film. Don’t forget, many of us at Nova Vento are filmmakers ourselves.
You didn’t answer my question in this FAQ…
Then please feel free to contact us directly and ask.