How to Make Sense of Distribution: Theatrical & Digital Platforms

You have a film and now you want people to see it. Where do you begin? What are the options? Which one is best for you? This panel will discuss these questions and more.
Where: Gerrard Room @ The Eaton Chelsea Hotel – 33 Gerrard St W, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z4

01:00pm – 01:45pm

Panelists:

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Kerry Kupecz: Executive Director, Sales & Marketing at Video Services Corp

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Kerry Kupecz is the Executive Director, Sales & Marketing at Video Services Corp, an independent film distributor in Toronto. She handles sales, marketing and deliverables for all platforms, including theatrical, DVD and VOD. Previously she worked in marketing at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. You can follow her on twitter at @kerryku.

Established in 1993, Video Services Corp (VSC) is one of the few owner-operated home entertainment distribution companies remaining in Canada.  Based in Toronto with an acquisition office in Los Angeles, VSC and its sister company Video Service Corp. USA  handle distribution over multiple platforms, including DVD, Blu-ray, pay television, pay per view, video-on-demand, broadcast television, airline, digital download and theatrical. Although the VSC catalogue is strong in Canadian television, independent film, sports and comedy, the company has successfully distributed a wide variety of genres from U.S. and foreign theatrical releases to fitness, family, horror and music programming.

In 2006, VSC moved into production with the creation of the Core Sensuality fitness series from Felinity studio and followed it up in 2009 with the release of Rolling Thunder, a documentary on the history of roller derby that aired on many PBS stations.  VSC also manages Canadian distribution for several US studios, including The Global Asylum.

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Robin Smith: Owner / President – KinoSmith Inc.

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[citem title=”Bio” id=”citem_91″ parent=”collapse_21″]Robin Smith is currently the owner and President of KinoSmith Inc. – Canada’s premiere boutique distribution and film marketing company. Founded in 2007, KinoSmith was created as a boutique distribution company that acquires and services a variety of fictional and non-fictional projects. KinoSmith is also the proud home of the Hot Docs Collection on DVD. KinoSmith currently has a theatrical output arrangement with Anchor Bay Films in Canada and has also be retained by larger distribution companies such as FilmOption International, Alliance Films, TVA Films and Phase 4 Films to assist in the marketing and release of a variety of their product. KinoSmith also offers marketing advice to productions in development and in the can, as well as acting as Executive Producer on a variety of upcoming Canadian feature film and television product. Robin brings a strong background of over 19 years of film, video and arts-related work to his new company. KinoSmith’s most recent releases include CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, LAST TRAIN HOME, HUGH HEFNER: PLAYBOY, ACTIVIST AND REBEL, THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS, SMALL TOWN MURDER SONGS, MARWENCOL, MEEK’S CUTOFF, BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!, SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS, BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING, THE GUANTANAMO TRAP, EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY and THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS.

Previous to starting KinoSmith, Robin worked at Capri Releasing Inc. as their Vice-President of Distribution triggering and releasing such films as AWAY FROM HER, THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, TARNATION and DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE. Prior to joining Capri, Robin held positions at Seville Pictures as their Director of Sales and Marketing, Lions Gate Film Entertainment as Director of Marketing & Distribution for their Video and Theatrical Divisions and Blackwatch Releasing as Vice President of Marketing and Distribution. He has successfully executed the Canadian release of both international and domestic films such as CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER, RUSSIAN ARK, SWIMMING POOL, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME, SWEET AND LOWDOWN and POLLOCK.

Previous to Blackwatch, Robin worked in sales at Alliance Atlantis’ Motion Picture Division for 2 years and spent 8 years at the Toronto International Film Festival acting as their Jury Coordinator, the Theatre Staff and Operations Manager, and General Manager for the Film Circuit – an outreach program that initiated & developed the circulation and exhibition of Canadian and foreign films to smaller Canadian markets throughout the country. He was also employed by the National Film Board of Canada as Marketing Coordinator and Cinema Programmer.

Recently, Robin was hired by the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto to act as their Cinema Programmer for the newly renovated Bloor Hot Doc Cinema, a 727 seat cinema dedicated to screening documentaries throughout the year, which opened in March 2012.

Robin is also actively involved with various film festivals within the country. He currently is the Vice-Chairman of the Board for the First Weekend Club, was a board member the Canadian Feature Film Festival and the Moving Pictures Film Festival, consultant for Brit Pics Film Festival, juror for OFMDC Feature Film Fund and Calling Card programs, and panelist for Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Vancouver International Film Festival, Whistler Film Festival, Cinefest Sudbury, ImagiNative Film Festival and Reel World Film Festival. Robin is also currently teaching Feature Film & Video Distribution and Movie Marketing courses at Ryerson University.

Robin graduated from York University’s Film and Video Production BFA program.
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Greg Rubidge: Syndicado Digital Distribution

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[citem title=”Bio” id=”citem_91″ parent=”collapse_21″]Rubidge has spent most of his career at the confluence of emerging digital platforms and entertainment.  After starting out in commercial banking, he followed his passion for entertainment and began working in production. In 1995 he founded founding an interactive agency, focused on online entertainment, games and Web sites for TV series and eventually sold the company four years later to a major US agency.

Transitioning from the Internet to wireless, he worked next for a national mobility carrier overseeing product management for wireless Web and Messaging, followed by a leadership role at Corus Entertainment championing the development of new platform distribution services and partnerships with the network’s major MSO and content clients, such as Rogers, Sony, Hearst, Omnimedia and MTV.

In 2009 after working for a major Web portal in the US he founded Syndicado, a film and TV distribution company focused on digital platforms such as cable TV VOD, Internet and mobile. The company has accumulated over 500+ hours of programming and now actively distributes to hulu, YouTube Rental, inDemand, Dish, Samsung, iTunes, Amazon, Rogers, Netflix, and more.  He is also founder of the new Web initiative centered on marketing and selling documentary films – ilovedocs.com

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Chad Maker: President – Agency 71 Inc.

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Founding AGENCY 71 INC. in the fall of 2003, with an intent to provide a full-service agency dedicated to the Canadian Film & Television industry, Chad and the A71 team have transformed that idea into a 5000 sq ft facility in the heart of Toronto’s creative district. Beginning in the design and illustration world at the age of twenty-one, over the past 2 decades Maker has de- veloped campaigns, concepts and individual pieces for a long list of retail, entertainment, and editorial clients. One of Canada’s most prolific Film Poster Designers, Maker has over forty feature film posters in his portfolio. He has not only created poster campaigns, but also designed opening title sequences, websites and marketing packages, for films such as BLACKBIRD, AMAL, I DECLARE WAR, MY AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVENTURE, ONE WEEK, HIGH LIFE, THE BANG BANG CLUB, REAL TIME, HARD CORE LOGO, LAST NIGHT and GINGER SNAPS.

A graphic designer by trade and a director at heart, he has had the good fortune to combine two of his life’s pas- sions into his body of work. Beginning with TV Commercial direction and production, he then transitioned to mu- sic videos and onto short film Direction and Production (ABOUT FACE, ISSUES). Chad has now added Fea- ture Film Production to his CV by launching with partners, David Miller and Kirk Comrie, A71 Productions Inc. He recently Executive Produced the multi-award winning feature BLACKBIRD, as well as being Associate Producer on the recently TIFF selected feature SIDDHARTH and the feature IT WAS YOU CHARLIE. Upcoming projects include produc- tion and marketing for BASEBALLISSIMO, Co-producing Jamie Kastner’s SHAME AND SCANDAL, as well as developing an 1-hour dramatic series with Skyfarm Entertainment, THE ADVERSARY. Chad is also currently producing a passion project documentary know as – ROCKNF*CKNROLL – The Story of The Headstones.

He is a visionary thinker, illustrator, designer, director and musician, whose real drive is to assemble great people into produc- tive teams and guide the process of creativity to a rewarding conclusion for all. The most recent venture being the launch of A71 ENTERTAINMENT INC. – a boutique distribution company focussing on getting quality Canadian content to a national audience. With over 20 years of industry experience, Chad now shares his experience with the talented team at A71, as well as giving guest lectures at the Canadian Film Centre, National Screen Institue and Ryerson University on strategies for Film & Television marketing.

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Kirk Comrie: Vice President – Agency 71 Inc.

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[citem title=”Bio” id=”citem_94″ parent=”collapse_24″]Kirk Comrie joined Agency 71 in 2004 to head up Agency 71’s Motion and Interactive division. Comrie brought with him over twelve years experience in audio/visual design and technical production for both live theatre and musical concerts working for artists such as Kenny Rogers, Alice Cooper, Tom Cochrane, Kim Mitchell and Randy Travis.

Together with Maker, he wrote, edited, and supervised the full range of post-production on the award-winning short film ABOUT FACE and co-produced and edited ISSUES, a short film with Hugh Dillon and Enrico Colantoni from FLASHPOINT which had it’s premiere at TIFF in 2011. In the past two years alone, Comrie has created over forty trailers for TV and Film clients including E1 Entertainment, Phase 4 Films, Union Pictures, Kinosmith Inc., The National Film Board and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. He has created motion graphics for commercials, TV Station ID’s, online advertisements and opening credit/title sequences for film.

Most recently Kirk created the trailer for the award-winning A71 produced feature BLACKBIRD and is currently in development on the upcoming A71 Productions feature BASEBALLISSIMO, headed up by David Miller with Executive Producer Geddy Lee. He also provides ongoing Marketing consultation to the Canadian Film Centre’s 2013 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program residents.

When he’s not turning 90 minutes into 90 seconds, Kirk breathes life back into old motorcycles and is currently in development with Paul Zimic on a motorcycle based feature 3D documentary titled WHY WE RIDE.

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Moderator:

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Avi Federgreen: Producer / Distributor

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[citem title=”Bio” id=”citem_80″ parent=”collapse_10″]Avi Federgreen’s nearly twenty years of experience in the Canadian film industry features many highlights, from music videos to TV series to full-length feature films. Starting in the locations department, he moved quickly into production management, line producing, post supervision, and producing.

Federgreen’s current projects in release as Executive Producer include Empire of Dirt produced by Jennifer Podemski and directed by Peter Stebbings; the first ever Canadian fully financed 3D feature titled Dead Before Dawn produced by April Mullen and Tim Dorion of Wango Films and directed by April Mullen; the Vancouver based feature film Random Acts of Romance produced by Darren Reiter and Katrin Bowen and directed by Katrin Bowen and Moon Point produced by Sean Cisterna and Christian Potenza, directed by Sean Cisterna.

Federgreen’s past projects as producer include Still Mine directed by Michael McGowan and starring James Cromwell and Genevieve Bujold, 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, Score: A Hockey Musical, written and directed by Michael McGowan captures the fervour of Canada’s two favourite pastimes in a story big on humour and heart; and George Ryga’s Hungry Hills, directed by Rob King, premiered at TIFF 2009.

As exec producer, Federgreen has also worked on the dramatic short film Hidden Driveway, produced by Sarah Zammit and Sarah Goodman, directed by Sarah Goodman and which premiered at TIFF 2011; and Little Larry produced and directed by Jill Carter. Also produced by Federgreen She Said Lenny (produced wth Mallary Davenport), and directed by Jim Donovan premiered at WSFF 2011; Tight Space, Scout, and The Chair, all written and directed by Cory Kinney, and the Canadian Film Centre short Pudge, directed by Annie Bradley. Pudge premiered at TIFF 2008 and screened at several other acclaimed festivals internationally. The Chair achieved a Bronze Award at the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival in 2001.

More successes for Federgreen as producer include the Shaftesbury TV series Good Dog, written and directed by Ken Finkelman; documentary As Slow as Possible, directed by Scott Smith, an official selection of HotDocs 2008.

Federgreen’s co-production credits are impressive and varied. They include I’m Yours produced with Jennifer Jonas and Mallary Davenport of New Real Films, directed by Leonard Farlinger, the feature film One Week, written and directed by Michael McGowan, was named Best Canadian Film in the 2008 Calgary and Edmonton film fests, and was an official gala screening at TIFF that year. The film surpassed the $1.2 million Canadian box office mark, was the #1 rental on iTunes, and finished in the top 10 in DVD sales in Canada during its first week of release. High Life, produced by Triptych Media and directed by Gary Yates, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was featured at TIFF 2009. Leslie, My Name Is Evil, directed by Reginald Harkema, produced by New Real Films also screened at TIFF 2009, and lastly the nationally acclaimed TV mini-series It’s Me…Gerald, (Showcase).

In November 2011, Federgreen opened his own film distribution company INDIECAN ENTERTAINMENT. The company will service not just up-and-coming Canadian filmmakers, but also those indies making films in a lower budget bracket who have otherwise virtually no chance to shine in a market of big studios, distributors and exhibitors.

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