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Blog Posts

Confessions of a Working Director - Sept 13th, 2009


This year has been chaotic.  We wrapped Ratline and started post-production on that film.  Both Jim Wayer (Wicked Illusions) and I have been doing a lot of still photography work.  Wicked Pixel Cinema made a big splash at this year's Texas Frightmare Weekend convention.  We've formed a working relationship with for cool new Wicked Pixel Cinema apparel.  I worked on two other features: Aaron Crozier's Venganza Azteca and Jim Mickle's Stake Land.  And even though Ratline post still consumes much of my time, we launched a brand new project last month: The Cinema Edge Awards.  The grand prize: A distribution deal for your movie.

So, indie filmmakers, here's a big opportunity for ya.  Let's say you've completed a feature film.  Maybe you think the budget is too low, or the movie is too non-mainstream, or even too controversial... or maybe there are no "name actors" in your movie... so even though you are proud of the work you've done, you doubt that there is a distribution deal in your future.  Well, let's try to change that.

My company, Wicked Pixel Cinema, is a presenting sponsor of The Cinema Edge Awards - the winner of which receives a distribution contract with VCI Entertainment, a company that has been releasing feature films since the 1970's.

The Cinema Edge Awards is an independent film contest - both features and shorts may enter.  The way it works is pretty simple.  A Best Feature and a Best Short will be selected from all the entries.  The Best Feature wins the distribution deal with VCI Entertainment, and all profits from sales of the movie will be divided between VCI and the winning filmmaker, as the contract dictates.  The Best Short will appear as a bonus on the DVD release of the Best Feature, greatly expanding the audience for the short, and bringing attention to the filmmaker.

This contest is different from others in a lot of ways.  First of all, there are no politics at play here.  Every single entry goes through the same judging process - no favoritism enters into it. 

Additionally, budget - or lack thereof - is not a factor.  (Movies with six-figure budgets and movies made for six bucks have equal chances of winning.)  Name actors and mainstream marketability are likewise not factors in judging the winners.  Films are being judged on their creativity and quality of execution.  Period.

The Cinema Edge Awards are most notably different than other film festivals and contests in that the winner doesn't just improve his chances of landing a distributor... the grand prize IS the distributor!  I believe this is the only film contest in America that offers a distribution deal as the grand prize.

After your film wins big and you sign on the dotted line with VCI, you'll have to do what all indie filmmakers do - promote the release of your movie.  But you won't be in it alone.  In addition to VCI's marketing, Wicked Pixel Cinema will put all of it's promotional resources to work advertising your movie's debut on DVD.

Entry guidelines, fees, and deadline information are all right here.

Only films that do not currently have a North American DVD distribution deal should enter.  Keep in mind, the distribution agreement is between the winner and VCI, meaning if you win, you can ask VCI to fine-tune the contract to meet your interests.  For example, if your film's VOD rights are already held by another company, you may be able to strike your deal with VCI for DVD rights only.  Or if your film is already in release in Canada, you can ask VCI to modify the deal to include only U.S. distribution.  If you have questions about whether your film is eligible for this contest, just ask Jason Christ, the contest coordinator.  Contact info here.

This is the second time Wicked Pixel Cinema has presented The Cinema Edge Awards.  The first time around, the Best Feature winner was the quirky science fiction thriller, Moonlight by the Sea.  This film was directed by Justin Hennard, who has gone on to be a highly successful sound designer for feature films, including Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, the indie comedy Baghdad Texas, and the upcoming documentary The Children's War.  Justin's DVD release of Moonlight by the Sea quickly became a cult hit.  Enter The Cinema Edge Awards today, and perhaps your film will see the same success!

Thanks for reading.

- Eric Stanze