Can you make both art and money?
Scilla Andreen thinks you can.
Scilla is a filmmaker and a costume designer. She’s worked on big-name TV shows like “The Wonder Years,” “Party of 5,” and “Dawson’s Creek,” and during breaks in filming, she’d make movies. Her first short film, “Mutual Love Life,” even merited Oscar consideration and caught the eye of major production companies.
Even with all that success, offers from the bigwig production houses left a lot to be desired. While friends and colleagues cautioned that filmmakers do what they do to make art, not money (and low pay should almost be expected) — it still didn’t sit well with her.
So, in 2003, she started IndieFlix.
IndieFlix, a streaming and screening service that focuses on social justice and mental health, has already licensed thousands of original films and documentaries for its ever-growing subscriber base (and created a few of their own, too). IndieFlix started as a DVD mail service, gradually shifting into the online streaming space as consumers’ viewing habits changed.
A growing business means growing problems
As IndieFlix scaled, Scilla found herself spending a lot of time managing a team of developers and raising funds to keep the product development going.
“While I was out raising money to keep the dev team alive, that’s where all my focus was,” she says. “And I wasn’t making movies.”
As a small team, the tech management was at the expense of IndieFlix’s core goal of creating content with a purpose. Scilla knew she had to find a way to focus on the content again.
“As we grew, it became a little too much,” Scilla says. “Am I going to focus on the technology piece, or am I going to focus on the marketing and content creation? The best way to grow the company would be to find a partner to support our back-end infrastructure.”
Knowing there had to be a better way for IndieFlix to reliably stream its content without the added financial and time costs, Scilla began to see what third party platforms were available. She soon found Vimeo OTT.
“I landed on Vimeo as an OTT service because you really felt like you were talking to people, not automated emails,” Scilla says, “They made me feel like my business was as important to them as it was to me.”
Content with a purpose — and an audience
Since partnering with Vimeo OTT, IndieFlix has seen steady growth in their subscribers — 8%, month over month — and her team is adding up to 100 new titles every month.
“Now, I focus my time and energy on marketing and creating original content,” Scilla says. “And I will say, it’s because of our partnership with Vimeo OTT that we grew so fast.”
With her focus fully back on filmmaking, Scilla is finding new ways to bring stories to communities that need them with a focus on social engagement.
“I showed Finding Kind at my daughter’s school, and I realize the holy grail was bringing the the content to existing communities where they need it,” says Scilla. “The movie is just a conversation starter. We’re working with global corporations who are joining the movement with to start conversations.”
“Movies are one of the most powerful mediums on the planet,” Scilla says. “If I’m going to live my life for this content, I want it to matter to me and give back to people. Doing something that really matters to me is what’s making us successful. It’s inclusive. It’s for everybody. It’s for all of us.”
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