Film sales and distribution is a year-round business, and film markets are the engine which drives it all. Film markets are the film version of a trade show, but with more champagne, canapés and celebrities. Every couple of months, thousands of buyers and sellers descend on cities around the world, ready to do business and hunt for the best films.
Film markets are the busiest times of year for both sales agents and distributors. In the weeks before, sales agents are frantically working the phones and hustling for meetings with buyers, to showcase their newest acquisitions, with the end goal of closing distribution deals. At the market, they set up shop in stands, emblazoned with carefully designed film posters, stacks of sales sheets at the ready, and TVs and iPads queued up with slick trailers to hook buyers into going to a screening or taking a screener to view at home.
If you’re an independent filmmaker, particularly if you’re a producer, you should go to a least one film market to see how distribution works first hand. Your film has to fight for space and attention against thousands of others for a shot at distribution. Once you start to understand what the market wants, you’re in a better place to make a film that’s going to have an audience and hopefully make money.
Below is a list of the major film markets in the distribution landscape.
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