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CROSS ROAD: Running Film Distribution Promotion

Filmmaker Dave Christiano shares the process he undertook to independently book film distribution in over 100 theaters for his movie, "Remember the Goal."

Former rocket scientist, shark safety diver and award winning screenwriter, Dan Goforth’s most recent assignments were RIDING ON FAITH, the true-life story of rodeo champion Amberley Snyder and the feature film adaptations of New York Times bestselling author Col. Walter J. Boyne’s DAWN OVER KITTY HAWK, as well as the sci-fi graphic novel, THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS, from New Baby Publishing. Visit Dan’s blog,Script Soup and follow him on Twitter @Dango_Forth.

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CROSS ROAD: Running Film Distribution Promotion by Dan Goforth | Script Magazine #scriptchat #screenwriting

Theater goers have always shown they have a heart for sports dramas, with many films in the genre going on to become surprise breakout hits: from 1981's Chariots of Fire to recent inspirational successes like The Blind Side and Soul Surfer. On August 26th, Five&Two Pictures will release Remember The Goal, a film about a girls' cross country running team that provides a look not only at the sport, but at multiple life lessons for Teens, Parents and even Coaches.

Dave at theater

As producer, Dave Christiano's film distribution game plan included personally visiting a multitude of multiplexes and speaking with local groups about his film.

CROSS ROAD: Running Film Distribution Promotion by Dan Goforth | Script Magazine #scriptchat #screenwriting

Foregoing traditional avenues of film distribution, writer/producer/director Dave Christiano has stepped out completely on faith to get this film into theaters. But, of course, where there is faith, there is work. And for Dave that involved a lot of teamwork - and running himself, visiting the various cities where they've booked Remember the Goal in theaters in order to promote the film.

The story centers revolves around a girls' cross country team and a novice coach who sets a a goal for the girls to win their first ever state title. Dave himself is a former cross country runner in high school and college, and has coached two cross country teams. He is passionate about running and has ensured that this movie represents the true world of his sport. Dave used that enthusiasm in connecting with people in cities where the film will be shown. "I have met some terrific people in my travels that are sincere and have been super. The running connection has been great, as both the trips to Fort Worth and Savannah were because of cross country," Dave said. Starring Allee-Sutton Hethcoat, Quinn Alexis, Sydney Marks, Margaret Tant, McKensie Miller and Jayla Palmer, it's a film that deals not only with sports, but with life's obstacles, too.

movie poster

Your film distribution plan may involve some road work. Plan your route accordingly.

Dave: "I live in Nashville so I decided to pick states I could drive to and connect with. Originally, I was just going to do Tennessee but then went wider to include nine more states. This is our sixth movie to release in theaters, so we have some contacts, plus we work with another company to help us book the theaters. Smaller theaters (12 screens or under) are tough for an independent film to play. We need to find the theaters which have 14 or more screens. The cities I selected were based on how well movies do in each market and theater size.

We would book theaters ahead of time. I had some opportunities to speak at various places, including groups with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, so I hit the road. What I did was go to areas where I could speak or share, and while in the area, stopped by the theaters to do those short videos or to meet a manager or make contact. I share a message on Hollywood and how I believe it's the most powerful force on the planet. But we are also making phone calls and trying to reach people thru email.

I am looking at ten southeastern states in 2016, then coming back for more states in 2017 and 2018. Cross country is a fall sport and so I want to release at the beginning of the cross country season when the movie is shown. There will be no 2017 release if the 2016 isn't successful enough from a business standpoint. It is that difficult. I've been to Auburn NY, Wichita Falls and Fort Worth TX, Jacksonville NC, Dalton GA, Savannah GA, Murfreesboro TN, Huntsville AL and Jacksonville FL. I've stopped at various theaters along the routes I've driven .I have gone through two cars (no, just kidding). "

I did wonder how many miles he actually had driven. "Not sure, more than five thousand," was his answer.

Dave continues, "We are emailing coaches of all running sports and girls sports in our states. Plus, we have a call team contacting church leaders. We are trying to use social media. It's all been very difficult and a challenge to get the word out. That is the hardest part. Our funds are limited. The cast is trying to help spread the word to their sphere of influence. For example, back in April, actresses Quinn Alexis and Margaret Tant when to Dalton GA with me to run in a 5K race."


Why distribute strictly through theaters and not through streaming internet services?

"The internet has basically stolen away the music business and the movie business isn't far behind. It's very difficult to make a living anymore as an independent producer. There is too much theft, illegal uploads to YouTube and websites, and unless the government steps in or these websites are held responsible to make sure people have the copyright for what they upload, I don't see it getting any better. So to try and survive, I'm going theaters only, which is a very difficult way to go. This is a make it or break it release for me."

It seems like a lot of work. Is it worth it?

"We live in a media crazy world now and the invention of the cell phone puts the world in your hand. It's a blessing and a curse. The access to entertainment being so easy now for people, especially teens, I believe is a major cause for depression. Why? Cause the constant up and down feeling that entertainment creates acts like a mini-drug. There is an over saturation of media, music and movies, and its affecting people in a negative way. It's too much and most people can't handle this with moderation, which is what I think is needed. Plus a lot of the entertainment is very negative, crude, and ungodly. This is helping to corrupt society even more. It's the old G.I.G.O. principle. Garbage In, Garbage Out. My hope is that our new movie can edify the viewer."


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