Working with Tugg for your theatrical release

February 11, 2013
posted by sheric

tugg-logoWhile I was in Park City this year, I had a chance to sit down with Tugg.com CEO Nicolas Gonda to talk about how Tugg is helping independent filmmakers, as well as studios, screen their films in cinemas all over the country.  Here is an excerpt from that interview:

Q: Tell me about how the idea for Tugg came about?

NG: “It came through realization at the time, and still today, that it is difficult for audiences to engage with filmmakers on a very local level to determine what movies come to their town. We launched Tugg as a reaction to a very evident need where audiences are interacting with filmmakers on the social channels more and more and the theme around Sundance this year is community and engagement with the audience.

We want to create a user interface for every movie theater in the country so that audiences in those communities could determine what movies come there.”

To read the full interview, head on over to Microfilmmaker Magazine

Many films enjoy their greatest success both on an awareness and financial level via HYBRID THEATRICAL / NON-THEATRICAL screenings. The film “For the Bible Tells Me So” had a successful two-year run.  We (under our previous company New American Vision) worked non theatrical screenings for END OF THE LINE to screen at over 200 venues. Caitlyn Boyle worked many screenings of the film after us. The film  “Age of Stupid” made 6-figures in profit from automated house-party screenings.

Documentaries,issue-oriented films and niche films lend themselves to this model and it can absolutely be done by yourself or with a professional company, it all comes down to how much time and energy you have to do the work entailed. TFC recommends asking filmmakers who have tapped into a similar niche that your film targets for tips and advice on reaching the audience. Educational / Institutional distributors such as Bullfrog and Cinema Guild can definitely get you bookings you could not get yourself simply by virtue of having the right database, so investigate ahead of time. You may want to hold off on regular DVD and digital distribution if this is part of your plan, non theatrical screenings are a window after all.

On the THEATRICAL side, we recommend you check out our recent blog on the topic and remember there’s a lot you can do on your own (including booking theatres). We recommend comparing the realistic upside with the investment. If you can’t come close to the recoupment on the cost of theatrical booking, really weigh whether it is worth it. Beware of service companies charging too much. We did just learn of a narrative film that self-released and grossed $650,000 and will actually profit from the release overall because that theatrical screening campaign elevated the profile of the film and therefore it got the DVD, digital and TV business the investors were hoping for. We’ve been ask not to name the film, sorry.  In any case, examples like this can go both ways so be careful and get educated *before* the release.