Last Tuesday, the gang at Sundance Institute's #ArtistServices program helped release BURN into the marketplace. This thrilling and timely documentary, executive produced by Denis Leary, tells the story of Detroit through the lens of one of the country's busiest Fire Departments. The film quickly became the #1 Documentary and #1 Independent Film on iTunes, despite lacking many of the conventional features and distribution resources of previous #1 films.
In my six years in digital distribution, I've worked on hundreds of movies, yet I've rarely met filmmakers more successful at capturing their audience than Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez, the filmmakers behind BURN.
A case study the filmmakers gave at a recent Film Independent seminar ably details their audience engagement methods. Their goals were clear. Sanchez said, "Every firehouse we've been to in touring the film has a poster of BACKDRAFT on the wall. Our goal is to ultimately have a BURN poster right next to it". With these two filmmakers, it's definitely possible.