Revolutionizing Film Distribution: A Deep Dive into Kinema

Fostering community and creativity by making great films accessible to audiences in diverse settings

by Carole Dean

In a rapidly evolving landscape where traditional cinema experiences are being redefined, innovative platforms like Kinema are spearheading a revolution in film distribution. Founded and led by Christie Marchese, Kinema is reshaping how audiences discover and engage with great films, transcending the boundaries of traditional distribution models.


In my in-depth discussion with Christie on my Art of Film Funding Podcast, she sheds light on the intricacies of Kinema’s platform and its pivotal role in empowering filmmakers and studios to reach their audiences while maximizing revenue through screening tours, virtual events, and TVOD (Transactional Video On Demand).

Kinema: Redefining Film Distribution

At the heart of Kinema’s mission lies a commitment to fostering community and creativity by making great films accessible to audiences in diverse settings. Christie explains, “We built this platform initially to support screening tours, a form of non-theatrical distribution aimed at reaching audiences outside the traditional distribution system.”

Drawing from her extensive experience at impact agency Picture Motion where she was CEO for nine years, running impact for Righteous Pictures, and other ventures, she recognized the power of community screenings in amplifying the reach and impact of socially relevant films.

The Evolution of Kinema’s Platform

Kinema’s journey from supporting screening tours to its current multifaceted platform mirrors the dynamic shifts in the film industry, particularly accelerated by the pandemic.

Christie likens Kinema’s evolution to that of Etsy, providing a comprehensive suite of tools for filmmakers and distributors to seamlessly host in-person and online events, streamlining the booking process, and ensuring swift payment to creators.

In-Person Screenings: Building Community Beyond Theatres

In-person screenings represent a cornerstone of Kinema’s platform, offering filmmakers a pathway to engage with diverse audiences in unconventional venues. As Christie explains, “These are physical spaces that have another primary purpose besides supporting movie-going, such as businesses, museums, or places of worship.”

By facilitating secure film delivery and seamless payment processing, Kinema empowers hosts to curate immersive screening experiences while retaining control over their film rights and audience data.

Virtual Events: Crafting Immersive Digital Experiences

With the onset of the pandemic, Kinema swiftly adapted its platform to accommodate the burgeoning demand for virtual screenings. Christie describes Kinema’s virtual cinema as a live experience, enabling hosts to create interactive events with synchronized film screenings, real-time chat functionalities, and live Q&A sessions with filmmakers.

The platform’s scalability and robust infrastructure ensure a seamless viewing experience for audiences, with capacity extending to thousands of attendees per event.

On-Demand: Empowering Flexible Viewing Experiences

Kinema’s on-demand screenings offer unparalleled flexibility, allowing audiences to watch films at their convenience within a specified window. This feature caters to a diverse array of hosts, from businesses seeking to engage remote employees to influencers curating exclusive viewing experiences for their followers.

By integrating customizable branding options and prerecorded messaging, Kinema enhances the immersive quality of on-demand screenings while providing a lucrative revenue-sharing model for filmmakers and hosts alike.

Nurturing Audience Relationships: The Key to Sustainable Filmmaking

Central to Kinema’s ethos is the cultivation of meaningful relationships between filmmakers and their audiences. “When you send people to watch the film through us,” Christie emphasizes, “you will have that audience data and you’ll know who they are.” This underscores the platform’s commitment to empowering creators with actionable insights for audience engagement and future projects.

Unlike traditional streaming platforms, Kinema prioritizes privacy and transparency, enabling filmmakers to forge lasting connections with their audience beyond the confines of a single screening.

Unveiling the Audience: Know Thy Viewer

The foundation of audience engagement lies in a profound understanding of your viewers. “The most important first step,” she articulates, “is to know who your audience is.” It’s not enough to create a film for “everybody”; specificity is key. By pinpointing the demographics, interests, and passions of your audience, you carve a path towards resonance and connection.

“Be very focused and specific in who your immediate audience is.” Whether your film revolves around skateboarders, social justice issues, or underrepresented populations, identifying your niche is paramount. Moreover, recognizing where your audience congregates—be it online forums, social media platforms, or specialized publications—equips you with the tools to engage them effectively.

The Path to Discovery: Reaching Your Audience

Once you’ve defined your audience, the next step is reaching them. Christie advocates for a multifaceted approach that leverages organizational partnerships, media outreach, and social media influencers.

“Define who your audience listens to,” she expounds, “and where they get their information.” By forging strategic alliances with organizations and media outlets aligned with your film’s themes, you amplify your reach and visibility.

Moreover, in the era of social media dominance, harnessing the power of influencers emerges as a potent strategy. she confides, “We follow influencers and micro-influencers.” Collaborating with individuals who resonate with your target demographic fosters authentic engagement and extends the reach of your message.

Crafting the Narrative: Building Buzz and Momentum

In the realm of film distribution, storytelling extends beyond the screen—it permeates every facet of your promotional endeavors. Noting the importance of creating a narrative around your film, she states, “We’re all moved by stories.”

By humanizing the filmmaking process and cultivating a connection with your audience, you cultivate a loyal following invested in your journey.

She champions the concept of “film drops,” akin to merch or sneaker drops, where films are made available for a limited time, fostering a sense of exclusivity and urgency. This strategy, coupled with engaging live events and interactive experiences, ignites excitement and drives audience participation.

Monetizing Your Craft: Navigating the Financial Landscape

While artistic passion fuels the filmmaking process, financial sustainability underpins its longevity. Christie clarifies the intricacies of monetization, emphasizing a balance between accessibility and profitability. Filmmakers are charged a nominal subscription fee, ensuring commitment and dedication to the distribution process.

Additionally, revenue sharing models ensure equitable compensation for filmmakers, with platform fees adjusted based on scaling. She affirms, “Our aim is to lower the barrier of entry while fostering a community of financially invested filmmakers.”

Through transparent pricing structures and secure payment platforms, filmmakers embark on a journey towards financial empowerment.

Success Stories: Pioneering Pathways to Prosperity

The testament to Kinema’s efficacy lies in its success stories. Kinema’s founder shares anecdotes of filmmakers who’ve harnessed the platform’s capabilities to achieve remarkable outcomes. From documentaries garnering widespread acclaim to feature films captivating niche audiences, Kinema serves as a catalyst for cinematic triumph.

She described Kinema’s experience with the documentary “Spellers.”

“They were looking at doing one film, they did a film festival, and then we’re looking at their schedule for the year and thinking, how do I just get this to our audience faster?

“And I looked at the film like, oh, this is a great film. I’ve enjoyed it, but it seems it might be a smaller film just based on what I’m seeing here. And they knocked it out of the park, the film team behind it. They knew exactly who their audience was. They had an email list ready to go, and they set it up to release through us last April.

“And about two months before they sent an email blast to the network of curated organizations and partners. They had, I don’t know, I think maybe 200, 220 bookings instantly and immediately. And that film has continued to book, maybe one or two screenings a week. They continue to have people coming to screenings of the film.”

“It’s an active and engaged audience, and it’s working because people come, they see the film, they love the film, they want to have their own screening. And so, it’s spreading out from there outside of its original intended audience.”

The Road Ahead: Innovations and Future Endeavors

As Kinema continues to innovate and expand its offerings, Christie envisions a future where the platform seamlessly integrates merchandise sales, donation functionalities, and enhanced audience analytics. By harnessing the power of technology and community-driven engagement, Kinema aims to democratize film distribution, empowering creators to share their stories with the world while fostering a vibrant ecosystem of cinematic discovery and connection.

Kinema stands at the forefront of a paradigm shift in film distribution, championing inclusivity, creativity, and community-driven engagement. Through its innovative platform and unwavering commitment to empowering filmmakers, Kinema is not merely reimagining how films are distributed but reshaping the very fabric of cinematic storytelling in the digital age.

As Christie aptly summarizes, “Our intention is to make a platform that’s easy for filmmakers to use, get paid quickly, and for audiences to discover fantastic new titles that they might not have otherwise.” With Kinema leading the charge, the future of film distribution is boundless, promising boundless opportunities for creators and audiences alike.


Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers.

She is creator and instructor of Learn Producing: The Ultimate Course for Indie Film Production.  Essential classes for indie filmmakers on how to produce their films.

She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionShe is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits



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