Last night we gathered for the world premiere of our film, SHOOTING THE PRODIGAL. Six years in the making, it is hard to describe how it felt to sit in the theater and see it on the big screen. Surreal, magical, humbling, grateful, nervous, thrilling… those are the first ones that come to mind.
Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office, was generous in his opening remarks. He talked about the importance of the home-grown film industry, and how our project is a good example of the kind of project his office is trying to encourage: conceived, funded, developed, produced, and distributed in Virginia.
One of the biggest thrills of the evening was when we announced our first two distribution partners.
Ken Roy told the crowd that we are partnering with Tugg, Inc. to bring the film to audiences on a cinema-on-demand basis. Individuals, groups, and organizations can set up screenings in their local theaters and share a percentage of the ticket sales. We are also offering screening licenses for churches, schools and other groups who want to show the film on their campuses. Details at shootingtheprodigal.com/host-a-screening/.
Belltower has also signed an agreement with Virgil Films and Entertainment for North American DVD, digital, broadcast and ancillary distribution. Release on those platforms is expected late summer.
Belltower Pictures will, in effect, be the “general contractor” for distribution. We will form strategic partnerships with several subcontractors in their areas of strength and expertise. It is a win-win for all parties and represents the way of the future in this rapidly-changing film distribution industry.
No longer do the major studios have a choke-hold on the development, production and distribution of films. They’re still the major players, of course. But it is a much more decentralized industry these days.
Andy and his staff at the Virginia Film Office are doing a great job of enticing the big studio projects to shoot in Virginia. But they are also actively supporting our home-grown industry. Film production is thriving in Virginia. Now we want to help develop the distribution segment to create a full-service, well-rounded Virginia film industry. And we think this project can be the tip of the spear.