Presentation: The New Normal: Audience Outreach, Grassroots Marketing, and The Rise of the Community-Driven Film Distribution

Presentation: The New Normal: Audience Outreach, Grassroots Marketing, and The Rise of the Community-Driven Film Distribution

Join NYFA for a presentation with Caitlin Boyle on Thursday, October 22, 6:00 PM

Join Caitlin Boyle, founder of New York-based grassroots distribution firm, Film Sprout, in a presentation about how filmmakers can apply best practices in audience cultivation, grassroots outreach, and localized marketing.

For the last 10 years, we’ve seen a groundswell of demand from documentary audiences who want to support the exhibition of independent film in their own backyards: literally and figuratively. Where art house cinemas and formal festivals were once the mainstay of documentary exhibition, there’s now an eclectic and diverse range of venues for documentary films, from universities to museums, churches to military bases, and nonprofit organizations to restaurants. Even traditional distribution streams like theatrical release and broadcast are supported more than ever before by educators, community activists, students, and social change-makers. The documentary film industry would not be the same without this corps of motivated audience members shilling for films’ theatrical releases, sending email blasts and posting tweets, organizing theater-on-demand events, funding films through Kickstarter, and creating localized, cinematic viewing experiences for films across the country and the world.

What can we learn from this blurring of audience-member and distributor, consumer and collaborator, viewer and producer? How can community activism, grassroots screening tours, and crowd-generated funding and publicity create new opportunities and new challenges for the independent doc-maker? And how can filmmakers best leverage the energy and enthusiasm of their super-fans while also carving out a financially viable distribution effort?

Date: Thursday, October 22, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: NYFA’s Offices, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (F to York Street Station or A to High Street/Brooklyn Bridge Station)
Cost: $10 NYFA artists (Fiscal Sponsorship, Fellows, Bootcamp, IAP, and MARK); $15 Others
Advance Registration Required:
Note: A ticket processing fee will be added by Eventbrite.

About Caitlin Boyle


A pioneer of grassroots distribution for independent films, Caitlin began her career as a journalist, working on staff at NPR affiliates WFIU and WFUV and at New York’s flagship PBS station, WNET. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2003, with a degree in American history, and completed a Master’s in journalism from the Indiana University Graduate School of Journalism in 2005. After founding Film Sprout in 2009, she became a leading voice for the nontraditional distribution of documentary films in community settings, and a champion of films’ power to effect grassroots social change. Her presentations on grassroots film distribution have rallied filmmakers at SXSW, Hot Docs, IFP, Sheffield Doc/Fest, RIDM, Los Angeles Film Festival, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and NYFA, among others. She serves on the board of Brooklyn documentary center UnionDocs, and has participated in the advisory board of NYU’s Cinema Research Institute and the documentary advisory committee of the Paley Center for Media.

This presentation is part of NYFA’s Fiscal Sponsorship program, which supports filmmakers along with artists and artist-run organizations. Find out more about NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship here and to receive email notifications about this event, please sign up for NYFA’s free e-newsletter, NYFA News.

Amy Aronoff
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