The Dependent Film Distributor: The Role of Entrepreneurship and the Experiential in the UK and Irish Theatrical Film Sector

Mannion, Frank (2023) The Dependent Film Distributor: The Role of Entrepreneurship and the Experiential in the UK and Irish Theatrical Film Sector. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Frank Mannion PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Jan 2023_Final Award Jun 2023 .pdf - Accepted Version

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This study considers the role of dependent entrepreneurship in the specialty theatrical film distribution sector in the UK and Ireland. It addresses a lack of research in the field of film distribution, which has a tendency to focus on second hand accounts. My thesis attempts to address this by drawing on my personal experience as a film distributor, adopting an innovative practice-led approach. This includes a combination of methods, such as iterative artefact creation across three foreign language film releases, audience questionnaires, and auto-ethnographic observations across a three-year period. This data is interrogated using a theoretical framework that incorporates existing debates around ideas of film distribution, entrepreneurship and the emergence of experiential cinema techniques, while exploring industry practices through national and transnational film perspectives.

I demonstrate how the concept of independence is a misleading term to describe those entities working in the UK and Irish film distribution sector, arguing that those commonly referred to as ‘independent’ should be more accurately described as ‘dependent’, due to their ‘dependence’ on third-party stakeholders, state funding organisations, exhibitors, streamers, partnerships and the audience. My research finds that distributors need to develop an entrepreneurial skillset and act as producer-distributors to make releasing specialty films economically viable in an increasingly fragmented and challenging market. I determine that employing local and transnational partnerships as well as utilising experiential marketing (or promotional techniques) can help to broaden the appeal of a film and reduce release costs. I show how embedding the concept of entrepreneurship into the study of film distribution can bring new perspectives when researching the practices of film distributors. I highlight the effectiveness of a practice-led approach for other media workers wanting to critically interrogate their own practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
16 January 2023Submitted
9 June 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Film Distribution, Entrepreneurship, Film Production, Experiential marketing, Immersive cinema, Independent film
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-04 - cinematics and photography
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2023 14:08
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2023 14:08

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