Get a real world view of how to finance, produce and distribute an independent feature film.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets Saturday & Sunday, Nov 11-12 from 1-4:30pm ET.

What are the dynamics of indie filmmaking in 2023? What makes a film truly independent?

With over twenty years of industry experience as a producer and consultant to major industry players, Alexis Alexanian has acclaimed low-budget and big-budget films among her credits. In this two-day workshop, Alexis will provide students with a real world view of how to develop, finance, produce and distribute an independent feature film.

Films and TV Produced by Alexis Alexanian
A handful of hit feature films and TV Shows Produced by Alexis Alexanian.

Case studies will shed light on how different budget models work. After exploring the different financing models, we’ll examine how to attach talent for each budget level, the various tiered agreements offered by SAG and DGA, and how to create a structure for adding value/in kind services. Well also discuss micro-budget levels and what constitutes experimental” ultra-low budget.

In considering the development stage, we’ll examine writer’s deals, and how to secure underlying material. As we look at the crucial phases of planning and pre-production, we’ll explore how to assemble a successful team, how to prepare and read a budget, where and how to spend the money, insurance and legal issues, the art of troubleshooting problems and potential pitfalls, and how to navigate the divide between budgetary limitations and the creative needs of the production.

Tadpole screen - Produced by Alexis Alexanian
Scene from Tadpole with Sigourney Weaver & Aaron Stanford. Alexis produced nine ultra-low budget features in four years, including the Sundance hits Tadpole (Miramax), directed by Gary Winick and Personal Velocity directed by Rebecca Miller (for which Alexis won the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award).
Personal Velocity - Produced by Alexis Alexanian
Scene from Personal Velocity.

We’ll examine how to bring the film successfully through post-production and delivery, a plan for selling the film, an overview of distribution options – domestic and international, how distribution deals are structured, and which festivals can make a difference. 

Those who desire to do so are welcome to briefly pitch a project (in under five minutes) so that Alexis can comment on things to consider. Through it all, there will be plenty of time for Q&A.

Leave the weekend with a new understanding of how to successfully navigate the unique challenges of making and releasing an independent film.

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Instructor: Alexis Alexanian

Alexis Alexanian has over twenty years of industry experience as a producer and consultant to major industry players. Her credits include high-budget studio films and micro-budget independents. She began her career in production on high-profile films such as MISSISSIPPI BURNING, A BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, and STRIPTEASE. She co-founded the groundbreaking digital initiative, InDigEnt where she produced nine ultra-low budget features in four years: the Sundance hits TADPOLE (Miramax), directed by Gary Winick, PERSONAL VELOCITY (UA), directed by Rebecca Miller (for which Alexis won the John Cassavetes Independent Spirit Award), PIECES OF APRIL (UA), directed by Peter Hedges, TAPE (Lionsgate), directed by Richard Linklater, and Cannes Directors Fortnight favorite CHELSEA WALLS (Lionsgate), Ethan Hawke’s directorial debut. As President of Production at LOCOMOTIVE, an independent production and financing start-up, Alexanian managed a broad slate of film and television projects. In 2015, the company financed and executive produced Rebecca Miller's MAGGIE’S PLAN (Sony Pictures Classics), starring Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, and Julianne Moore, and produced LOVE IS BLIND with UK's Big TV!  Under her banner, Elixir Films, credits include the international hit TV series LONG WAY ROUND (SKY-UK, BRAVO-US), featuring Ewan McGregor, and Ethan Hawke’s THE HOTTEST STATE (ThinkFilm).

Alexanian is well known for her tenure as President of the Board of New York Women in Film & Television and currently serves on the Board of BAFTA North America.