“Super” Hype: How An Indie Film Beat the Distribution Sales Slump

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Producer Miranda Bailey finally let out a sigh of relief. She only saw and heard positive things during the first screening of her film Super at the Toronto Film Festival.

The movie had a midnight slot on Friday, September 10, 2010, but Bailey wasn’t worried since the typical audience for her superhero dark comedy enjoyed late screenings. She went back to her room after the congratulatory hugs, hoping to get calls from distributors in the upcoming days. In an ideal world, she thought, she’d be able to enter negotiations before the festival was over, fingers crossed that she might be able to announce a deal with a distributor in Toronto.

To her surprise she got a call at 2:30AM: The bidding war had begun. Then, another at 9AM. By morning there were around five companies trying to buy Super.

“It was freaking awesome,” she said excitedly.

By the next day, Bailey and her team proudly announced that IFC would be distributing the film, which was the first acquisition in the entire film festival. The Indie quickly became the first major buzz of Toronto, especially surprising since the film was a strict genre film with an offbeat sense of humor.

In a depressed market where Independent distribution companies have been forced to close their doors, the sale of Super is a rare success story. Although the film has garnered much praise  – in the press release IFC president Jonathan Sehring called Super “one of the most creative and subversive films of the year” – there are plenty of critically acclaimed films that haven’t been picked up.

“I think it’s funny because Toronto was a really healthy sales market, but I think that we shouldn’t be lulled into the misconception that the Indie market is back,” IFC senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions Arianna Bocco said.

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