How to get Film Distribution
Interview with Filmmaker Aaron Kurmey of Rambunxious Entertainment
Aaron Kurmey is a filmmaker from Edmonton, Alberta. Him and his Team did something that not many have done, they got distribution for their film, Thousand Yard Stare, on DVD, Bluray, and VOD through retailers such as Amazon and Walmart in North America. I’m doing this interview to ask Aaron how they did it, what steps were needed to do it, so that other filmmakers can learn how to do it too.
MWS: Aaron, thank you so much for doing this Interview. Before we start, can you tell me about yourself.
AK: I’m a writer/director/producer at Rambunxious Entertainment. It’s the studio run by me and my two partners, Kevin Johnson, and Ryan Hatt. Thousand Yard Stare is the 3rd feature film we’ve fully self funded and produced. We’ve also done a handful of shorts over the years.
MWS: Could you tell us why you wanted to make “Thousand Yard Stare” and tell us a bit about the Pre-Production and Production & Post-Production.
AK: We wanted to make a World War II movie, but we didn’t really have a good hook. We didn’t know what was going to make this movie different from other World War II movies. Then we met someone through a friend who had served with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and he had come back with severe PTSD. He was kind enough to share a lot of his stories about the war, and his struggles afterwards. It was all new to us, people were talking about PTSD, in the news, media, etc but it was always kind of vague, and clinical. So we tried to bring it to a human level, and really focus on the effects it has on one person. What we portray isn’t how PTSD affects everyone, but hopefully we told a story that’s relatable to those who do struggle with it, and others can empathize, by giving them a window into that world.
As far as production goes... this movie was a huge undertaking. It was way more ambitious than we could have imagined. It took us 5 years from the day we started writing until the movie was finished. Even though we tried to do a lot of physical special effects on location, there are still about 300 visual effect shots in the movie and there were only 2 of us who did them all.
MWS: Are there some Aha moments, some lessons you learned while doing Pre-Production, Production & Post-Production you could mention to us?
AK: It’s not going to be a very exciting answer, but honestly-- record the best sound you can on location. And try to record as many sound effects right there, in the real environment whenever you can. It will save you a ton of time, and money, in post. Sound is way more important than your visuals. Seriously.
MWS: That’s awesome advice, thank you Aaron! After it was finished in Post, what were the next steps you took? Did you put it in festivals, and if so which festivals? Did you end up working with a distributor? If so, who are they and how did you meet them? What were the steps taken to distribute the film online and on Bluray in stores like Walmart.
AK: We submitted to a bunch of the biggest festivals, Like TIFF and Sundance. But we didn’t get in. We were very confident we wouldn’t. But you can’t win if you don’t play. We did however get to premiere at the Edmonton International Film Festival, which was great getting to play on home ice. They run an awesome festival, and it’s right in our backyard. Then we went on to screen at a few other festivals, as well while we locked down our distribution.
We took the movie to the same sales agent that represented our last movie, Battle Earth. Multivisionnaire Pictures. We met them at The Action On International Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2012, where Battle Earth was playing. They had invited 5 sales reps to the festival, and before we went down we emailed each of them a screener of the movie. 3 of them got back to us, 2 declined to represent the movie, and 1 was interested. And that was for a shitty sci-fi movie we did for $7,000 over a May Long weekend in 2012. And now it’s out in like 40 countries. So, really, there was no trick to it. We just sent some emails and said “hey, if you’re interested in our movie, we’d love to talk more.” And that was that. Mutlivisionnaire did a great job representing Battle Earth, so we took Thousand Yard Stare to them, as well. Basically they take the movie around (with others in their lineup) to film markets worldwide and sell to buyers in different countries. They take a percentage of every sale, and we get the rest. So far Thousand Yard Stare is out in a a few countries including The US, Canada, the UK, Japan, and South Korea.
MWS: Awesome info! Thank you so much Aaron for doing this interview. Where can people learn more about you online and what are you working on now that you’d like to mention?
AK: Best place to follow our updates is on facebook at facebook.com/rambunxiousentertainment or facebook.com/thousandyardstarefilm Right now we’re working on a long vacation! Thousand Yard Stare took a lot out of us.
Thanks for the interview!