Hereâ€™s how she profited from her do-it-yourself model: the movie had a limited theatrical release in a Los Angeles theater, aired on cable television through Showtime Networks Inc., can be rented at Netflix, downloaded on iTunes, and found on DVD via the filmâ€™s Website and retail vendors. Through these various channels, DuVernayâ€™s film, budgeted at $50,000, generated three times that amount in revenuesâ€”without a studio partner.
She expects to increase sales through international distribution company Bitterbeat, to release the film in Japan, a part of the world where underground hip-hop is hugely popular.
The film, nominated for a Black Reel Award, has been well received by her targeted audience. DuVernay is using profits from the documentary to make her next film, I Will Follow, a narrative drama starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Tracie Thoms, and Blair Underwood.
â€śIndie filmmakers can effectively distribute their own movies with more agility and precision than studios,â€ť says DuVernay, who teaches a class on self-distribution and is in discussions with Agate Publishing to write a book on the subject. â€śDo-it-yourself film distributionâ€”that is the new era. Digital allows directors to create films without studio funding, and digital distribution helps us control how our films reach the public once theyâ€™re made.â€ť
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