Features & Opinion

Dan Wolman’s follow-up letter to Indian indie filmmakers

By Dan Wolman • Published on August 26, 2013

Israeli director Dan Wolman wrote an open letter to independent filmmakers in India urging them to revolutionize the distribution system. His second letter comes in response to the support and queries from Indian filmmakers.

dan[F] riends,


I want to first of all thank all the Indian independent filmmakers who wrote to me, supported and offered to get involved.

I want to report that from now on it’s not only words. We are moving ahead and forming our own distribution company.

On August 16, 40 independent filmmakers (and friends of the idea of a new distribution company owned by filmmakers), attended our first historical meeting at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque to discuss what will be the main tasks of our new distribution system. Here in brief are the most important points raised at the opening:

1. First, we need to gather and create our own reservoir of necessary information.

We need a list of the names, emails and phone numbers of those in charge of the culture departments in every municipality, every town, every village in the country.

We need to collect similar information regarding Institutions, community centers, Museums, Universities, schools, old age homes, film and literary societies and clubs, who might be interested in  our films.

2. We need a list of big commercial companies and institutions such as hotel chains, banks, factories and the like who from time to time arrange cultural events for their staffs, workers, etc.

3. Most important – Our distribution entity has to word a manifesto which will express our aims, our ideology and the way our distribution company will function.

Our new distribution network does not aim to replace the existing system, it will be an added path of distribution.

Using this brief manifesto, we will contact all the people and institutions in our reservoir and try to interest them in presenting our films and in inviting our filmmakers to their cultural events.

4. Our distribution company has to initiate and be creative! It has to encourage groups, companies and institutions who have not screened local independent films before to start doing so from now on.

It has to encourage private people and municipalities, to found new film clubs which will present interesting fictional and documentary films and meet their makers for discussions.

5. All our efforts are aimed to create a large pool of clients who are willing to pay for seeing our films so that the filmmakers can be compensated for their work and continue making films.

Our company will take a very low distribution fee (something like 7%)  from filmmakers  – an amount which will allow it to  continue functioning and serving our needs.

6. At a later stage I see our company being actively involved in renting cellars, roofs and venues of all kinds, and presenting works of our filmmakers to interested audiences.

7. It is vital that a filmmaker interested in distributing his/her film will find at our headquarters friendly advisers who through mail, phones and actual meetings will do their utmost to help him.

It has to be clear that there is no conflict between our new distribution system and the existing ones.

Most filmmakers like me, hope to get their films exhibited at the most modern cinema multiplexes, in malls and commercial power centers of all kinds.

Our new distribution network does not aim to replace the existing system, it will be an added path of distribution.

It will also serve as a safety net to films who failed in the regular commercial system.

Our network will help all filmmakers – but first and foremost it will focus on distributing the films of independent filmmakers those whose work can’t find a place in the existing system.

We have to make sure that there won’t be favorites on our list. We have to keep our neutrality! We’ll approach all our outlets and venues and submit to them the list of all the new films available and they’ll choose what is good for them.

Screenwriter Avi Shemesh who was one of the founders of TALI (The Collecting Society of Film and Television Creators in Israel ) and it’s chairman for many years, generously agreed to attend our meeting. Here are some of the points he raised :

We will  be effective only if we’ll form a small group of determined filmmakers who will take on themselves to strive, push ahead and make sure our company is realized.

We have to proceed cautiously and consult serious advisors before we make every move.

We have to start working immediately – even if we don’t have a budget yet.

Economically and legally the company we form should be a regular company – not a non profit organization.

We need a good and trustworthy accountant and a wise and reliable lawyer.

We have to search for powerful individuals and groups who’ll help and support our causes.

We have to expand our reach and get more and more filmmakers to identify with us and join us.

What I offer is just an idea, just a direction – I expect you to modify it to your specific situation, to your country’s conditions.

Once our company takes off – the few people on our staff should be paid fairly.


I’ll end this summary with a personal note:

By the end of the first meeting my spirits were very high. Next week a small group of us  will be meeting a lawyer who’ll advise us  regarding the kind of legal entity we should form.

Now to respond to the letters and inquiries I got from Indian filmmakers :

I, through facebook, letters and websites like dearcinema, will try to update you about our progress here and I hope it will inspire and encourage you to find your own leaders, unite, take your fate in your hands and form a similar distribution system in India.

Maybe some of you shrug their shoulders saying ” who is he coming from another country and another culture to suggest anything to us independent Indian filmmakers who live in a country which is  unknown to him”.

I’ll just say that there are times when an outsider has an advantage. Sometimes one has a speck of dirt near his eye, but it’s so close to his eye that he can’t see it. It takes someone from outside to see it.

What I offer is just an idea, just a direction – I expect you to modify it to your specific situation, to your country’s conditions.

I am a friend of India, it’s people, culture and specifically – it’s cinema.

It is all in your hands. Once you (Indian filmmakers) unite and move forward to create an independent distribution system – let me know. If I’ll have the time, I’ll gladly come for a few days, help and advise.

Your friend,


Read: Israeli director Dan Wolman’s open letter to Indian indie filmmakers

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One Response to “Dan Wolman’s follow-up letter to Indian indie filmmakers”

  1. revolutionary step in indian film industry, in time to come its going to be huge network. i want to be part of this eminent opportunity.

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