Hewes Pictures Curating Short Films For TV and Theaters
New York, NY, August 11th 2017 – Hewes Pictures announced a new deal with select theaters to screen shorts in front of feature films. The new, disruptive sales agency on Madison Avenue will select choice films from their growing library of over 200, award-winning titles to screen in front of features they represent that are released theatrically. The company’s first theatrical feature and the shorts to open it will be announced later this year.
A sales agency primarily representing short films, Hewes Pictures is nearing its first, complete year in operation. Representing award winning content for worldwide broadcast TV, their deals are all non-exclusive, and primarily for TV only. Filmmakers are encouraged to control and monetize 100% of their own distribution including VOD streaming, SVOD and downloads. Outside of sharing the broadcast TV rights on a non-exclusive basis, the company is not interested in acquiring any other rights.
“If there was a way to massively scale the short film business, then you wouldn’t see so many of us expanding into larger models with features and theatrical releases, “ Hewes echoes. “But that’s not why I got into this business. Not only do I love short films, I have family members that are filmmakers so I enjoy having a company that gives them an extended life beyond the film festival circuit and the internet.”
“Between network and Pay TV, we’re averaging a little over 20 different TV placements a month,” says Hewes Pictures co-founder, philanthropist and entrepreneur Henry Hewes. “That’s 20-something different shorts on TV every 4 weeks. We expected a certain level of demand eventually based on our careful curation, but we didn’t expect this amount of demand for our content this quickly.”
How the agency finds its content is where the disruption begins. The only active sales agency in the U.S. that is focused primarily on shorts, the company looks for short films outside of typical top tier festivals like Sundance, TIFF, and SXSW. Sure Hewes was one of the few accredited agencies in full attendance at events like the Tribeca Film Festival and the Palm Springs Short Film Market, but the team finds most of their content at film festivals that most other sales agencies and distributors overlook. Sales & Acquisitions Exec Stephany Barbalho enjoys this aspect of the process the most. “They’re only handfuls of short film distributors and an even smaller handful of them that actually go to festivals, and the only ones they go to are just a few of the top tier ones. We enjoy popping up at small, regional short film festivals. Yes, we’re working harder to find the best stuff, but we also are aware that contrary to industry standard, great films are not only programmed at the top tier festivals.”
Even while concentrating most of their efforts at smaller, niche film festivals, the company still represents work from established directors like Nate Parker (Birth of a Nation), whose short film #AmeriCAN is currently airing on ABC, NBC and CBS. Also in their library you can find films that star name talent like Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, Kevin Pollak, Robert Clohessy, Deborah Twiss, and more.
In America, industry amateurs and professionals alike are often surprised that there is an existing demand for short form content on television. But most European filmmakers are well aware of the demand for short content for broadcast in their territories. In France for example, the demand for quality, short, French content for broadcast is so healthy that there are more short film distributors there than anywhere else in the world. Barbalho elaborates, “Most of the stations we supply are in Europe and abroad. I’d say that less than 20% of the stations we work with are in the United States.”
Hewes Pictures and other agencies like it exist because broadcast and digital platforms are increasingly looking to credible companies to give them blocks of programming without the hassle of dealing with individual filmmakers. “Naturally, the more experienced the filmmaker, the less questions or issues we get from them,” says Milena Zakharova, Senior Acquisitions Exec. “They know how to read and sign agreements, they know how keep things simple and deliver a film properly and on time. But television channels don’t have the time to answer each and every question from the newer filmmakers, plus approve, create and process every deliverable and do so on time.” Acquisitions Exec Yifan Xiong adds, “The channels trust us to deliver them the kind of content they need on time, which increases their efficiency. It’s a service that both helps the filmmaker and the TV station.”
“In America, industry amateurs and professionals alike are often surprised that there is an existing demand for short form content on television. But most European filmmakers are well aware of the demand for short content for broadcast in their territories.”
After nearly a year of concentrating on short films, Hewes Pictures launched a feature film branch that will have a significant level of control over the exhibition of their theatrical releases. Shorts will be programmed to screen in front of the same genre the feature that follows happens to be – horror short in front of horror feature, sci fi short in front of sci fi feature, etc.
As every article about the shorts business has regurgitated ad nauseam, no one is getting rich from short films – not filmmakers, and quite frankly, not the distributors and the sales agencies. “If there was a way to massively scale the short film business, then you wouldn’t see so many of us expanding into larger models with features and theatrical releases, “ Hewes echoes. “But that’s not why I got into this business. Not only do I love short films, I have family members that are filmmakers so I enjoy having a company that gives them an extended life beyond the film festival circuit and the internet.”
Besides working directly with major theater chains, Hewes Pictures recently partnered with the Latino Film Market in NYC to bring more diverse content to TV, which currently is very much in demand from their international and domestic TV partnerships. The company will also be present at markets in Cannes, France and other major European markets.
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