It's a rite of fall for schoolchildren to share with each other how they spent their summer breaks. We thought we'd ask the same of colleagues in the documentary community by asking some Docs In Progress alumni and staff to reflect on how they spent their summers. Over the next month, we'll be sharing some of these summer stories.
First up, Aviva Kempner whose film YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG was shown at a Docs In Progress work-in-progress screening in 2005. Kempner completed the film earlier this year and, from the sounds of it, this summer has involved lots of travel, but been far from a vacation.
How I Spent My Summer
by Aviva Kempner
It's one thing to finish a documentary film struggling to raise the funds and finish the editing. Then comes the next stage of distributing the film. So I and my team have been working 24-7 getting the word out to debut and continue the national outreach of Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg around the country.
The Ciesla Foundation hired International Film Circuit to book the film and collect what is owed from theatres. Then we started to all coordinate distributing the film with a great group on the Ciesla staff. First we planned benefit openings, like with the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, or word of mouth screenings at the 92nd Street Y and the Center for Jewish History in New York City. Since the film opened at the Lincoln Plaza in NYC on July 17, the film has expanded to over 30 cities in the States on a slow roll out. Its two month run at [Washington DC's] Avalon just ended, but it's still in the area, with a run at Greenbelt, Maryland's historic theater.
One approach we have used is conducting a viral campaign in every city the film is playing and informing people via emails when the film is coming. There is also a publicity campaign in each city as publicists are hired and we try to gather as many interviews as possible. Bloggers are also an important way we are getting the message to people.
So far our critical reviews are great and still maintaining a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
I am traveling almost 60% of the time and we still have to open in Florida and Canada. It is exhausting but also exciting to distribute a film.