Why distribute with us?
The reality of independent film distribution is a very harsh one in recent times. With the closing of video stores and the elimination of shelf space, indie films must compete for attention in a sea of hundreds of offerings. Distributors who take on indie films, do so with large expense clauses so that if a film doesn't become a huge viral success, they will keep all the revenues. Moreover, any resources they promise to devote to marketing the movie are an exaggeration at best, designed to sell the film-maker on the idea that their film will be treated like the next blockbuster. When all is said and done, the film is exploited for any money it can get in the market, and the film-maker whose sweat and financial equity made the film possible, is left with nothing, other than perhaps the knowledge that their film was available on some digital platforms.
Distributing with Skylove is fundamentally different. Founded by indie-film makers, we are philosophically and ethically bound to the notion that the film maker is the first person that should recoup expenses and benefit from the revenues of their film. We also believe that transparent and honest communication and accounting is non-negotiable and in our contracts you will never find us hiding behind an audit clause. We are proud to have an open attitude towards the creative visions that power films and we aim at finding a way to distribute every movie that is submitted to us for consideration. Our way of dealing with expenses and revenue splits allows us this flexibility and truly gives the film maker a partner they can trust.
Tricks distributors use to swindle you that you'll never find us doing:
Minimum Expense clauses are used to allow the distribution company to keep 10K-50K of the first money received, without any receipts or accounting as to how that money was spent. International distributors do this routinely, claiming that pushing your film at world markets like AFM is costly. Domestic distributors claim its a marketing expense and never share with you their strategy or receipts. Moreover their claims of trailer or art costs are marked up tremendously.
Audit clauses allow the distributor to withhold all the performance data on your film. Distributors routinely will not account for how many views your film had or how much revenue it generated from a particular source. When they account to you, they will just give you totals and if you have any doubts about their numbers, you can have an accountant audit the distributor's books at your expense. This practice is not only deceptive, but entirely unnecessary since digital platforms make the data available with the click of a button.
Exorbitant, first money commission percentage clauses allow the distributor to take anywhere between 25%-90% of the gross revenue, before even applying their expense clause! That means that on a 50/50 split, with a 50K expense clause that is common with domestic distributors, the first 100K in revenue would go entirely to the distributor!
Sole Discretion clauses allow the distributor to decide unilaterally to distribute or withhold your film. They can at any time and for any reason, without informing the film-maker or receiving his or her consent, pull the film from any platform or territory or simply fail to deliver it. With this clause, they take full control of the decision making power for the movie.
Exclusive rights clauses allow the distributor to take any rights you are willing to grant them and be the only legitimate rights holder for the term of the contract. That means that even you will not be able to exhibit the film anywhere without their permission, even if they do not exercise the rights.
Sublicense clauses allow the distributor to license out your film to a third party, at any length of term that they want to. This means that if your contract with the distributor expires, the sub-licensor may continue exploiting the film. This is a way to both hide actual revenues and viewership numbers as well as deprive you of your rights for at least a decade.
Reporting clauses typically allow the distributor to send you a quarterly report for the first 1-2 yrs of distribution, followed by a bi-annual report thereafter. This kills your ability to plan or execute a responsive marketing strategy, and makes you wait forever to see how your film is doing.
What we do to make sure you are the true beneficiary of distribution success:
Expenses are itemized and discussed ahead of time with our film-makers. If the film qualifies for the Skylove Limited program, we offer to take on the cost of the expenses to distribute the film. If the film qualifies for Skylove Labs, we allow the film-maker to pay for the distribution expenses out of pocket, always knowing there will be no unexpected expense claims when the revenues start to come in.
Our monthly reports include copies of the raw platform data. You will never have to wonder about accounting, and you will have current and relevant data for your marketing efforts.
Our commission percentage range is between 15-25% depending on which party paid for the distribution expenses, and our commission draw happens only after the expenses have been paid in full. That means if you spent $2000 on distributing the movie with us, you will first recoup all of that money before we take our 15% commission.
The rights you grant us are non-exclusive. We do not believe we are entitled to owning your film. We encourage you to exploit the film anyway you see fit. We may negotiate exclusivity on certain deals that include us spending money on the film's behalf, but those would be clearly discussed ahead of time.
We offer professional services to deliver the best product you can to the digital platforms, and at rates far below industry standards. For more information on the specifics, we encourage you to submit your film to us.