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  • Writer's pictureJanett Salas

How I'm Distributing My Documentary DIY


Screening My Film

As I mentioned in my YouTube video above, we screened our film a few weeks ago. It was technically a private screening, meaning invite only. Between the director, editor, the subject of the documentary, and myself, we were able to get a little under 100 people to attend.

We printed out invitations, programs, and had some snacks and refreshments in the lobby. We also had a feedback form available for people to fill out after they've seen the film. This was meant to give us an insight of what the audience thought of the documentary in more detail. It included questions on sound, archival footage, pacing, and content.

I decided to do the screening at a theater I already knew and loved: the Marston Theater on ASU campus. We've used this theater plenty of times before when the three of us worked on Hollywood Invades Tempe.

By screening the film we were able to pull in a large audience and get them excited to share it online, spread the word, and support the documentary in person by donating or buying DVD's.

Making DVD's

Making DVD's is pretty simple, it's just knowing where to go that can get a bit complicated. We didn't want home made DVD's because the printing wouldn't be the best quality and it would take FOREVER to burn them. Simply burning the screener for the event took 6 hours! So we decided to take it to professionals with greater burning capabilities. At first, I looked into commercial companies online. After noting everything I wanted: DVD prints, cases prints, menu authoring, etc, it was too expensive and it wouldn't have been available for the event.

My second option was to try to do it by a local company. Alphagraphics has done all of my printing for posters, flyers, etc and they just so happened to also do DVD duplication. They were super fast, printing 100 discs a day, so we were able to go with them. Alphagraphics could have provided the cases as well but we decided to go to Fry's Electronics and get them for cheaper and insert them ourselves.

Victor designed everything needed for the DVD's and we were able to have 50 DVD's for our screening. I registered with Square and was able to accept cards at the screening. I also put the rest of our inventory online for sale and we sold out in a matter of days.

Film Festivals

We've applied to about 7 film festivals through Film Freeway. I've applied to many local festivals including the Phoenix Film Festival. We've heard back from 2 festivals so far: we've gotten rejected from LA Movie Awards, but we've gotten accepted as a Semi-Finalist for LA CineFest.

Los Angeles CineFest


Lastly, I didn't mention this in my video but we were featured on the State Press. The article is short and simple but it was able to get the word out to an audience we otherwise wouldn't have been able to tap and increase interest.

That's about everything for now. Thanks for reading/watching and see you next time!

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