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Jon Reiss Presents: Creating a Distribution Strategy in a Disrupted World – A Case Study featuring My Love Affair With Marriage [Virtual]

Starts May 9

Online. 1 session: Thursday, May 9. 7:00-9:00 pm CT

The “traditional” distribution landscape is in a state of disruption – often leaving independent filmmakers on their own to find new and creative solutions to ensure their films reach audiences in an impactful way. In this workshop Jon Reiss, in conversation with filmmakers Signe Baumane and Sturgis Warner, will outline fundamental principles and real-world strategies for success in the ever-changing and often-daunting realm of distribution and marketing. In this virtual workshop, Jon and the filmmakers will cover:

  • Setting goals
  • Strategies for reaching audiences
  • Creating a blend of festivals
  • Community screenings and theatrical
  • Budgeting and how to window rights to effectively to achieve your goals 

All of these elements will be discussed using the successful US theatrical and international release of Signe and Sturgis’ film My Love Affair with Marriage as a case study. Join us for an insightful and honest discussion on strategic planning to meet the complex landscape of creative distribution.

NOTE: Participation in this online course requires that you use the free Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service. For optimal performance it is recommended that you install Zoom on your computer rather than running it from a web browser. We’ll e-mail you a course reminder and Zoom link a few days prior to the first session. Click here for a Zoom tutorial.

Tuition: $105 regular | $85 member | $70 low-income

Jon Reiss is a filmmaker, author and media strategist who wrote the book Think Outside the Box Office. His company, 8 Above, creates create custom audience-building strategies, theatrical experiences and digital release campaigns for independent feature and documentary films. Reiss has consulted with hundreds of filmmakers and film organizations throughout the world including The Gotham, IDA, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland. He has conducted his Master Classes on five continents and helped create and run the IFP/Gotham Filmmaker Lab for ten years which is now on hiatus. 8 Above has developed bespoke audience-building strategies and theatrical campaigns independent films and documentaries including Sam Now, The First Step, My Love Affair with Marriage, Two Gods, The Disrupted, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, Nasrin, Hooligan Sparrow, and No Small Matter. He recently created a 6 Month Distribution Intensive to teach filmmakers how to distribute and market their films.

Signe Baumane is a Latvian-born, Brooklyn-based independent filmmaker, artist, writer, and animator with an interest in a wide variety of narrative themes, including sex, pregnancy, bodily functions, love, marriage, and the individual vs. society. Many of her films are told with a strong female point of view. Signe is keen to experiment and is not afraid to be provocative or bring the most personal of issues to light. She believes that animation is a perfect medium to tell layered, complicated stories and one in which she can incorporate a wide variety of art forms. While Signe’s 16 award-winning animated shorts have screened at over 400 film festivals, she is best known for her two animated feature films.

Rocks in my Pockets (2014) covers a 100-year history of depression and suicide of women in her family, including herself. It premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2014, went on to over 130 international festivals, opened theatrically in the U.S. through Zeitgeist Films, and continues to be screened in educational and mental health circles. My Love Affair With Marriage (2022) fuses animation with music, theater, science, photography, three-dimensional sets and traditional hand-drawn animation to tell the story of a spirited young woman’s quest for Perfect Love and Lasting Marriage. It premiered at Tribeca Festival 2022, screened at 110 other festivals winning 25 awards, and was released theatrically in North America through 8 Above.

Signe is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow in Film for New York Foundation for the Arts. She has a degree in Philosophy from Moscow State University. 

Sturgis Warner has been part of the New York theater scene for many years as an actor, director and producer. His specialty is new plays and new play development. He started working with Signe Baumane in 2010 bringing theater principles and skills to her animation film making. For her feature film Rocks In My Pockets he was Co-Producer, Script Advisor and he directed her 88-minute voiceover. He also built sets and was the lighting designer. For My Love Affair With Marriage he was Producer, Script Advisor, Casting Director, Set Builder and Lighting Designer.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those needing to cancel a registration at least 7 days prior to the first class session, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received less than 7 days prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to the first class session, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
  • By registering for this FilmNorth class you are agreeing to our Community Values Statement.




May 9
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Categories:


Jon Reiss with Signe Baumane and Sturgis Warner
Registration Deadline
May 8, 11:59 pm
Class count or Info
1 session: Thursday, May 9. 7:00-9:00 pm CT