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WATCH EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Ira Deutchman's Sundance Art House Convergence Keynote on Independent Marketing

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 23, 2013 at 3:56PM

Anyone wondering about the future of the film industry should pay heed to Ira Deutchman's warnings about sticking to the same old ways. They aren't going to work much longer. Think local and consider appointment cinema, he suggests wisely. "There's too little commercial product chasing too many screens, and too much good product chasing too few good screens." And, he sums up: "Distribution is easy. Marketing is hard. Old fashioned showmanship has got to come back."
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Ira Deutchman at last year's Arthouse Convergence
Ira Deutchman at last year's Arthouse Convergence

Ira Deutchman and I came up in the film business together in New York. I started out running the Hamilton College film society Kinokunst Gesellschaft, threading 16 mm projectors and learning that Alfred Hitchcock always filled the house. Deutchman ran one of several rival film societies at Northwestern and worked for United Artists Classics, while my first industry job out of NYU was also at 729 Seventh Avenue, in the UA publicity bullpen. I eventually went to the journalism side at Film Comment Magazine, while he continued on to run Cinecom and Fine Line Features and most recently, digital distribution company Emerging Pictures and the film division at Columbia University School of the Arts

It makes sense that Deutchman would wind up in academia--he always had a more thoughtful outside perspective on the industry than most. You can see that on full display in this must-view history of the independents as filtered through his experience. Anyone who is involved in the making, marketing or distribution of movies today should take this free video class. (If you don't have time to watch all three videos, skip to the third, where he draws his conclusions.)

Anyone wondering about the future of the film industry should also pay heed to Deutchman's warnings about sticking to the same old ways. They aren't going to work much longer. Think local and consider appointment cinema, he suggests wisely. "There's too little commercial product chasing too many screens, and too much good product chasing too few good screens." And, he sums up: "Distribution is easy. Marketing is hard. Old fashioned showmanship has got to come back."

The videos were produced by 4th Row Films with David Allen on camera and were edited by Jason Chen.

This article is related to: Video, Independents, Distribution, Exhibition, Marketing, Exhibition


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.