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Fan-Made Film Distribution Disruption

You've completed a film. You've taken it to festivals, earned acclaim and piqued fan interest, but received no distribution deal. Now what? Fear not, filmmaker! The convergence of a new digital dawn of funding, promotion & publicity, and film distribution is empowering filmmakers--in true indie spirit--to go it alone and equipping fans with the tools to curate cinematic screenings in spite of nil nods from studios.

Dir. Matthew Lillard's & Whitewater Films' "Fat Kid Rules The World" (premiered at SXSW 2012 and won the "Narrative Spotlight Audience Award") is exemplary of this emerging era, raising $158,000 for distribution efforts via Kickstarter and pioneering fan-fueled self-distribution on its way to 1000+ fan requests at theaters across the nation via

The new renaissance man in the world of indie film distribution may be the Fat Kid. We want to share lessons learned and tools available to support other filmmakers make their big silver screen dreams a reality.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What prompted Matthew and Whitewater to go this route and what were the greatest successes and challenges of doing so?
  2. Has this type of fan-requested and promoted distribution been done at this scale before, and what are the prospects for others who want to replicate--or even innovate further upon--this model?
  3. What makes a fan-requested screening successfully occur (i.e. be green-lighted by the theater) versus what makes makes them fail (not happen)?
  4. What type of ongoing support did Matthew & Whitewater need to provide fans who requested their film be screened in their towns? (Examples: social media best practices, local influencer identification and outreach, content)
  5. "Fat Kid Rules The World" also crafted a unique publicity model that encompassed traditional PR, digital media outreach, and grassroots social strategy. Why and how did this work?



Nathan Levinson, COO, Adler Integrated

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