When it comes to marketing your indie film, you run into the same problem you’ve had creating the picture — money, or rather a lack of money.
It’s difficult to get the wheels of the marketing machine spinning without a solid punch with a hefty bag full of $.
It’s difficult but doable though. There’s plenty of platforms where you can promote your indie movie for free, and here are the top 14 of them.
Don’t let the name of the resource deceive you — it is not for the UK films alone. The resource is dedicated to reviews of independent movies and the promotion of crowdfunding campaigns by filmmakers all over the world.
You can submit your movie for the chance to get a review on their resource. But, you should be ready for anything as they don’t pull punches. In any case, it’s a nice opportunity for additional visibility.
FilmThreat is another indie movie review platform that has a free submission option (and cool orange color). Though it offers very few options and benefits, so you may be seduced to try a guaranteed review one, which costs $50.
FilmFreeway provides free access to many festivals and contests as well as a bunch of additional benefits. Create the page for your movie, browse various festivals and contests, submit with a single click, and wait for the magic to happen (or not to happen). In any case, it’s a game of luck and numbers, so give it a try.
FestHome is an alternative to FilmFreeway. Those are two very similar platforms that differ mostly in site design. So while you’re at it, why not diversify your festival entries?
We suggest submitting to all free festivals you can find.
Kickstarter or Else?
If you’re in the very first stages of promoting your film, i.e. finding money to actually film it, you can try Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Or you can try finding angel Investors with a platform like Gust. Though Gust is primarily startup-focused, you can try to pitch a movie there.
The Film Fund sells itself with a single sentence
“Write one sentence for a chance to win up to $10,000 to fund your short film.”
Of course, it’s not that easy: the platform has an entry fee and a few hidden caveats. But, it’s a nice opportunity if you aren’t against a little lottery,
Great news for all the documentary indie filmmakers, Impact Partners helps find investors just for you.
Pinterest is good for indie movie poster design marketing because:
- It’s visually-driven
People go there to enjoy pictures and videos; they’re already predisposed to your medium.
- It’s relatively free of competition
Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, the platform is less saturated with filmmakers eager to push their movies in front of the users.
- It’s good for covert advertising
The most effective marketing is advertising that doesn’t look like advertising. With Pinterest’s Pins, you can interest people in your movies by giving them what they want.
Promoting on Pinterest is a craft, but its essence is simple:
- Export posters or small clips from your film to appropriate boards;
- Give them good thumbnails;
- Write SEO-optimized titles and descriptions.
Even though Tumblr banned porn and other NSFW content— one of the driving forces of the platform — and cut its traffic, the platform is still active.
Artist representation of Tumblr Banning NSFW content.
The situation also means:
- Tumblr is on the path of reinventing itself (or fading into obscurity);
- People who still use Tumblr are truly loyal to the platform.
Both these factors make Tumblr an interesting and potentially effective platform for movie marketing as people who are there are more likely to pay attention. Besides, it won’t take much of your time: post about your projects with relevant links and leave it be.
Here are two different examples for you.
- It takes a more indirect approach, “Hey, take a look at the quote? Do you like it? So maybe, you’ll like the movie too!” It also directly addresses its target audience — asexuals.
2. The second one is more overt. We’ve sold out! Our movie is worthy of your attention.
TikTok is huge, and it feels like a very lucrative platform for promotion.
But, you need a special gut for memes and trends as well as an ability to produce content that is borderline cringe but not quite to promote on TikTok effectively.
If you feel like you can ride the TikTok wave and your target demographic is gen Z — definitely give the platform a go.
Our advice, when promoting on TikTok
- Avoid overt advertising at all costs;
- Don’t take your content and yourself too seriously — irony and post-irony are the trends;
- Play around with different content formats. (For example, create a video with text, “that feeling when you forgot your tea and it got cold,” and then, insert a clip from your movie with a character looking all sad and devastated.)
If Chipotle is crushing it on TikTok, you can too.
You must be thinking, “Really?” and “Are you ok there?”
We have two answers, “Yes” and “Maybe.”
LinkedIn is a strange beast. In theory, it’s a platform for professional networking and searching for career opportunities. In reality, it’s a place for real-life role-playing, painfully awkward corporate memes, and random holy wars on “hot topics.”
It doesn’t mean you can’t use it for promotion though; quite the opposite.
As the platform that millions of people visit daily to procrastinate during work, it’s a prime place for marketing your art. You just need to package it properly.
- Tell a tear-jerking story about your filmmaking process and perseverance (years go by, such content still drives engagement on LinkedIn; go figure);
- Share how you took a dive and switched professions to become a filmmaker;
- Elaborate on how filmmaking skills translate to business management skills (it could be a real banger on LinkedIn).
Just don’t be this person.
Reddit is a slow burn in terms of promotion. Dealing with the platform may feel like hitting your head against a brick wall.
It works though if you have time for active participation in relevant subreddits. By relevant, we don’t mean r/filmmaking and similar ones, but subreddits where your target audience resides. For example, if you’re making an indie documentary on fungi, r/fungi seems like a good place to start. Or maybe, you’re creating a low-budget zombie flick? Then, r/zombies is the place to promote the movie. You’ve got the gist of it.
By creating conversation-starter posts and funny memes™, you can drive more people to your movie. It just takes time.
YouTube isn’t for promoting your movies per se but for promoting your brand.
You can find an active and loyal audience with a useful YouTube channel where you
- Share insights, tips, and trivia;
- Tell anecdotes;
- Analyze the content of other people.
YouTube is even more of a slow burn than Reddit, but it has great potential.
People tend to forget that their city, town, or village can be a great promotion platform.
The sense of belonging and the desire to uplift one’s community is a powerful feeling. You could use it to your advantage. Creating and spreading flyers with information about you, your movie, and a CTA can bring a lot of attention to your project.
People like supporting local creators so give them such a chance.
Overall, effective indie movie promotion on a budget comes down to sharing relevant content on relevant platforms. It can be a grindy and not glamorous process, but if you put in the effort, you’ll see results. We hope our list will help your marketing efforts, and your movie will get the attention it deserves!