How To Find Documentary Film Buyers In International Market

by Gholamreza Nematpour

I would like to introduce myself in brief: I am an independent Iranian Film Maker. I was born in Khorramabad in 1976. Having a B.A. degree in the field of directorial from Sooreh University in Tehran. Teacher of script writing, directorial, editing, and photography in Khorramabad Youth Cinema Society. Made 14 Short films including animation, documentary and video art.

"No Heaven For Gunga Din" is my first long film. Participating in various film Festivals such as Eastern Breeze Film Festival in Toronto and American-Iranian Film Festival in USA etc. and getting some awards in Iran Film Festivals for research and study and editing.

I am looking for potential film buyers or broadcasters in international market in order to sell my last documentary called "No Heaven For Gunga Din". I wonder whether you could help me in this regard or not.

Please pay attention to the synopsis of the film as below:

A poor Iranian peasant which could not read and write very well was really interested in learning English, so he decided to work for American and British Forces settled in Iran in that time. Major John Hemming helped him in learning English and encouraged him to write story, so he wrote a story called No Heaven For Gunga Din. This story refers to the journey of 83 of American and British officers along with Gunga Din (Iranian Pesant) in 2084 toward Heaven. This fascinating book was published in 1965 in England by John Hemming and was among the best sellers in both England and United States. This movie is about the life of Ali Mirderikvandi the author of no heaven for Gunga Din book.

It is needed to say that the running time of this film is 70 min and subtitled in English. It was produced on March 2013.

I really appreciate you in advance and look forward to hearing
from you asap.

Best Regards,
S.Gh. Nematpour

Desktop Documentaries | Answer

Hi Gholamreza,

Congratulations on completing your documentary "No Heaven For Gunga Din" and also your success in getting it accepted into various film festivals.

To find a buyer for your documentary, you have several options.

1) Sales Agent -- it can be helpful to get the help of a Sales Agent. Sales agents are connected to broadcasters and buyers and can help shop around your film. If they make a sale for you, they will expect to be paid a 10-15% commission. An example of a Sales Agent is Dazzle Entertainment.

2) Find A Distributor - Distributors not only help you sell DVD's, but they can shop your film around to various buyers. Watch this video How To Find A Distributor on help for how to do that.

3) Attend Documentary Film Markets such as the IFP in New York, IDFA in Amsterdam or WestDoc in Los Angeles.

4) Pitch your documentary directly to a buyer who you think would be interested in your film. Go to their websites and look for the process for submitting films. Or research other filmmakers/productions companies who have made documentaries for that broadcaster and ask their advice for how to "get in" and who to contact with your pitch.

Here are a few helpful links to get you started:

How To Sell My Documentary

How To Pitch and Sell My Documentary Idea To A TV Network

Who Buys Documentaries

Selling Your Documentary To Cable

Anyone else have ideas or insights for Gholamreza? Please leave feedback and commments below.

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May 31, 2014
Selling Your Film Outside the US (Free E-book)
by: Desktop Documentaries

Here's an additional resource that may help.

Just released by the Film Collaborative, a FREE e-book on how to sell your film outside the US:


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