Slamdance Co-Founder Dan Mirvish

Guest: Dan Mirvish

Projects: Co-Founder of Slamdance Film Festival, the feature ‘Open House’ and the short ‘A Message From The President Of Iran’

Crew Position: Writer/ Director


If I were going to write a movie about Dan Mirvish, he would have to play himself. What a great character. This was long show that I refused to end because the conversation with Dan and the IM’s that were coming in just could not be cut short. We talked a lot about film festivals of which I have a fair amount of opinions. I mention a website on the show, (WAB) that I’ll get a little more into here. This site has done a lot for filmmakers. They have made it easier to apply to many festivals, supply an online application that includes the ability to provide stills, a trailer, and apply at a discounted rate and also offer extended deadlines, search engines to find certain festivals, a myspace type of page for your project and so on.

A cautionary note is that WAB has made it so easy to apply to festivals that the amount of people applying to average festivals has skyrocketed. I say cautionary cause festival fees add up quickly. And on WAB all you have to do is point and click and charge your credit card. Now if you have unlimited funds, no problem but I find that to generally not be the case amongst indie filmmakers. So in is important to research festivals (I mention on the show that Chris Gore’s ‘Ultimate Guide To Film Festivals’ is the book to buy here) and have a budget and a plan. Target the festivals that are right for your project.

You can use WAB’s search engine to find festivals that have no application fee, which is a good thing.

Forty to fifty festivals seem like a reasonable number to apply too. Some say twenty. Further as we talk about on the show there are only a handful of festivals that are viable places to get distribution, beyond those you’re doing it for press, awards, both of which may impress investors but not likely distributors and, oh yeah, to have a good time and have your movie screened!

Think of this way, if you apply to thirty festivals; all the big ones, and the rest that you’ve researched and are right for your project. With the money saved from the twenty or more festivals you did not apply too, you could use to hold your own screening! PR, etc.

Okay so on the show, we ran out of time and I said I would tell you guys in this blog a really cool way Mirvish marketed a dvd. Well Mirvish found a unique way to distribute 350,000 units of the DVD by getting them stuffed into every Pioneer DVD player sold in North America. Since we ran out of time I don’t really know any more then that. So if you have further questions about it, ask it on the message boards because Dan promised he’d check them out to answer more of your questions for him. Message board link for filmnut is:

Check it out the show if you haven’t already. Mirvish was funny, honest and informative. I really think you’ll enjoy hearing what he has to say about film festivals and his project ‘Open House’. will take you directly to all past filmnut shows. This is episode number 125.

Thanks for reading! Check out those message boards and let me know what you think!

Jeff Schubert

PS Next week guest is Oscar winning writer Bob Moresco who co-wrote ‘Crash’ and Co-produce ‘Million Dollar Baby’.

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