In addition to our domestic distributor, Aspiration Entertainment, we have a theatrical booker and a foreign distributor working with the Phoenix, Oregon team.
Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution and PR Services is handling theatrical booking, including national publicity and reviews for theatrical. He is working closely with Aspiration and our internal team on marketing. From Ryan’s bio:
Ryan Bruce Levey Film Distribution and PR Services offers efficient, aggressive, targeted and passionate services to independent filmmakers of all stripes. Films have included MINE 9, NOWHERE TO HIDE, THE CREEPING GARDEN, MATT SHEPARD IS A FRIEND OF MINE and clients like Frederick Wiseman, Julie Taymor, Bill Plympton, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Steve James, Sophie Fiennes, etc.
Ryan has worked for years booking indie films in art house theaters, but in the last couple years, he has had success releasing films in smaller cities — in what he sees as “under-served” markets, towns the studios might ignore.
We also experienced this trend on our tour. So many people came up to us after screenings, saying things like: “So nice to see a movie without a car chase.” “Best movie I’ve seen in a long time.” “Thank you for bringing this to our town!”
Soulful, thoughtful indie movies are made every year, but they rarely make it to smaller regions where audiences miss the opportunity to learn about these films unless a film festival or art-house programmer is committed to bringing them to their communities.
Ryan had success last year releasing the movie Mine 9 whose per screen average competed with the studio films in these smaller markets.
Ryan’s strategy is to make the communities, theaters, and audiences feel special by giving them attention, which they normally wouldn’t receive, in the way of custom promotions, press, and engagement. Based on past success, Ryan and his team of regional publicists are amplifying this strategy for the release of Phoenix, Oregon.
We will screen in 15–20 markets on opening weekend (about half regional markets and half larger markets), and we will saturate these markets with personal, direct outreach and grassroots campaigns.
I love that both Ryan and Aspiration have years of experience and success with traditional release models, but are also committed to pushing the limits of what is possible, especially with films they care about which because of limited resources may need more creative marketing solutions than the standard Hollywood fare.
It has been a joy to strategize with Ryan this last month and learn from his experience.