Laurel Chiten

Fan-Based Distribution Consultant

Engage your fans to maximize your film’s reach, impact and revenue.


You have a film. You want to get it out there. And you want to make money. You put a great deal of passion (and obsession!) into making of your film. But then what? The old model of distribution is just that. Old. The competition for broadcast sales is fierce, Netflix is producing their own content and buying less, and DVDs are becoming a thing of the past.

The good news is social media and online platforms allows indie filmmakers to reach audiences in new ways and puts the power of distribution and marketing in your own hands and those of your fans.

But it is more than just distributing your film. You are building a community. A tribe. You are connecting people all over the world to each other. You are creating a movement. Think big.


A model that makes Fan-Based community screenings possible.  Filmmakers can get their films shown on the big screen without the risk of “four-walling” a theatre. Using an online platform, your fans bring your film to their communities and watch it together in a crowded theatre, often followed by engaging Q&As. All logistics are taken care of, and it costs you and the hosts absolutely nothing.


This video showcases the success of my documentary Just One Drop that is currently traveling around the world using this distribution model. 200+ Cinema screenings worldwide 34 Different countries Subtitled into 18 languages Audience average: 105

No marketing budget, no ads, no publicist, and no traditional press. 


Find your tribe. Feed your tribe. Make them your amplifiers. 

After almost three decades, I have seen a dramatic shift in the documentary world.  Most indie filmmakers now rely on crowdfunding and private donations. Fundraising and distribution have become as innovative as making the films themselves and the two are intrinsically linked.

From my personal success, I have become deeply passionate about “fan-based” distribution. Through a lot of experimentation, I have gathered ideas, tools, and marketing techniques.

Some of the ways I can help you:

  • Build a strategy for your campaign.
  • Learn how to find your “tribe,” grow your “tribe,” and keep them engaged.
  • Explore what is unique about your specific audience. What do they want?  What do they need?
  • Identify your Call to Action.  Develop clear and consistent messaging. Champion your cause!
  • Develop branded promotional materials to use on social media and emails.
  • Teach your hosts/fans how to promote.
  • Target distribution partners and sponsors for your campaign and tour.

I am also available to give presentations in classrooms, at workshops, film panels, and more. 


I have been making and distributing films for over 30 years. My films screened at film festivals, won numerous awards, been nominated for an Emmy, and broadcast on national PBS series. Back then, my distribution goals were TV sales, semi-theatrical screenings, universities and film festivals.

In 2008, with great enthusiasm, I embarked on a new film. Surely, foundations would share my passion. After being rejected from every grant for which I applied,  I turned to individuals. Through the span of 8 years, I raised over $300K from 800 strangers worldwide. Equally important, I had built a group of solid followers hungry to share this film with their communities. But most of them lacked the knowledge and/or resources to produce a screening event themselves. Cinema on Demand, or fan-based distribution, was a perfect match.

My earlier films include: My Travels with Oliver (2017), a tribute to Oliver Sacks, Reconnected (2010) a movement disorder discovery, Twisted (2006) about the neurological disorder, dystonia. Touched, (2003) about people who think they have had contact with aliens and the Harvard psychiatrist who believed them. The Jew in the Lotus (1999), about a group of rabbis that met with the Dalai Lama, and Twitch and Shout (1994) about Tourette Syndrome, nominated for a national Emmy. I am also the CEO of Blind Dog Films and a Member Owner of New Day Films.


Amazing! The most exciting talk on distribution I have heard in years. This model is so much better than film festivals, especially for political and social action films.  This could change the whole world.
John Scagliotti

Filmmaker, USA

Laurel has wonderful insights about ways to build and communicate with your audience and transforming them into active partners. Her first-hand experience as a filmmaker who has successfully tackled the ins and outs of this kind of distribution is invaluable.

Jacki Ochs

Filmmaker, USA

What I learned goes far beyond just the nuts and bolts of distribution. Laurel taught me a different way of looking at the world of filmmaking and distribution by developing and engaging my tribe, from the beginning. I moved forward with much more confidence and clarity.

Gretchen Stoeltje

Filmmaker, USA