Webinar Preview: Meet Scilla Andreen
May 29, 2020
With our June 4 Webinar (12:30pm to 1:30pm, ET) on film distribution, featuring the insights of IndieFlix CEO Scilla Andreen, fast approaching, we caught up with Scilla to discuss IndieFlix and how she approaches her work! And, remember, there’s still time to sign up for the webinar.
Please share a bit about how your career as a creative led you to form IndieFlix.
To be clear I am not a super fan of indies like people think. Don’t get me wrong, I love indies but mostly I love well-crafted, engaging stories. I don’t care who is in them, I just never ever want to be bored. I was blessed to work on amazing TV shows like The Wonder Years, Party Of Five, Dawson’s Creek, Smallville and more. During my hiatus I would produce and direct short films and eventually feature films. I traveled the festival circuit and met talented filmmakers with movies no one could see. I knew that Hollywood had only so much bandwidth to pick up films from the festivals. So, I naïvely started IndieFlix with my producing partner thinking it would be as simple as hanging a shingle and an “OPEN” sign in the window of the Internet. I spent the next 10 years learning about raising money, running teams, marketing, reports, royalties, costs, spend etc.. At one point we had over 12K titles with worldwide rights but I didn’t feel like watching anything other than my favorites. So, I pivoted to content for a purpose. I also didn’t see the point in trying to compete with the Netflix, Amazon and Hulu’s of the world. I love those services and support them all wholeheartedly.
How did the mission of IndieFlix evolve?
Movies and TV shaped my life. It is the medium I use to express myself and filmmakers are my people. I wanted to help all filmmakers which is hard to do. IndieFlix started out as your source for independent film and then evolved into connecting people through movies. Carlo, my producing partner, and I started the company together but he stepped back about 6 months in. He handed me the keys with 6 weeks of funding and wished me the best. From that moment forward I became a sponge, learning everything I could on every level. Over the years the mission has always been pretty much the same. We want to do good in the world with stories. We want to connect people through movies and that’s exactly what we do. I recently scrubbed 7000 titles from our library in order to focus the company on content for a purpose. It’s what I care about.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic produced challenges and opportunities for IndieFlix?
IndieFlix is a subscription based streaming service and an off-line community screening service that books screenings in schools and corporations. The streaming side of the business is growing. With the community screening side, prior to the pandemic our trilogy of mental health films have had over 10,000 screenings in school auditoriums, corporate screening rooms, community centers and private theatres spanning 90 countries – hosted by a moderated panel of experts, students, parents and educators. We talked about mental health from all angles. The conversation flowed! It was community therapy. On March 15, 2020, it came to a complete halt. Fortunately, we were quick to pivot and have been perfecting our live webinar screening events since the quarantine, and have found that people are adapting to this new normal. We are now able to share, almost as well, through online community events as we did in person.
What do you think independent filmmakers need to know about IndieFlix and why?
We started IndieFlix back in 2005 as a DVD on demand service to help filmmakers get their films to market. It required working together to market. Over the years so much has changed. We’ve had to pivot to stay in the game and to keep it interesting. We have made some really great decisions and some not so great ones, like every platform, but we are still standing. We are a small team of 9 people. We are honest. We work hard. We answer our phones. We want all filmmakers to make money and we keep working at how to make that happen. What I really want filmmakers to know is that we are now a platform of content of a purpose. We focus on edutainment. I turned the brand around to be content for independent thinkers. We want to connect people through movies and make the world a better place.
What are your thoughts, broadly, on greater competition among streaming services and how IndieFlix distinguishes itself?
It is a great time for filmmakers as the demand is high. And with so many players in the space there will have to be some merging and acquiring that will take place. I’m positioning IndieFlix to be complementary to the Netflix, Amazon and Hulu’s of the world. We now stream over 5000 titles (shorts, features, docs and TV). We focus on edutainment. Soon we will be launching curated collections focusing on such topics as climate change, empowerment, mental health etc.. I am so excited to grow our library of content and watch it all.