Marketing for Low Budget Films

Marketing for Filmmakers

We live in a time like none other because, what once took immense patience, energy and resources to do, can now be done on a device the size of your palm. At the same time, getting your film in front of an audience has become tough. This has made marketing an integral part of filmmaking.

Marketing and Trust

Have you ever seen a film’s poster that had actors whom you had no idea about, made by a director you have never heard of, and still went to a theatre to see it? If you are like me, then probably never. I need at least some kind of assurance that it will be worth my time.

What stars have built, in a sense, is that trust factor. Anyone who goes for a Rajinikanth film knows what he/she is going to get. Over the years we have gotten so used to seeing Mohanlal and Aamir Khan that it is like going to see an old friend. When a Rajkumar Hirani or Christopher Nolan or Marvel film is out, we know for sure it is going to be engaging. They have earned our trust.

Marketing and Awareness

Knowing that something exists, i.e. awareness, is the last part to the puzzle. All franchises, stars and star directors have a huge fan following. As soon as a major star’s next film is announced, newspapers follow it up, people tweet about it. In addition to that they also put up huge billboards and run ads in newspapers TV, radio and other social media platforms.

When you have neither the audience’s trust nor the money, how are you going to make people aware that your film exists? Why should someone talk about your film? Why should they even care?

Being Remarkable

“The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed, what gets purchased, what gets built, is “Is it remarkable?””—Seth Godin

Remarkable not only means “nice”, but it also means “worth making a remark about”. Aamir Khan’s 5 minutes body transformation video for Dangal had over 39 million views. Avatar was released in the biggest financial depression that we have ever seen and still people flocked to watch it because of its wonderful visual effects that’s awe inspiring even after a decade.

What is that compelling thing about your film that people cannot help but tell their friends about it?

How Our Film is Remarkable

Munnariv is the first ever Malayalam Sci-Fi feature film to be shot entirely on an iPhone SE. It was the reason why we were able to get a national newspaper like The Hindu to feature a writeup about it even during production.

For anyone who has seen the film, they find it so well shot that they cannot believe we made it on a mobile, like the one they have in their pockets. Add to that a story so unique and surprising. People want to tell their friends about it. Even just yesterday a friend of mine messaged me asking if I could send him a private link to watch Munnariv. Another friend of ours had told him good things about it.

Think again about that question. How is your film remarkable? What is that one thing that people want to talk about? When you have no stars or money to market, having something organically worth talking about is the only way of spreading word about your film. Do it well and get marketing for free.

Our journey has only begun and only time will tell how far we go with it. But I hope I have been able to get across to you the importance of marketing. But marketing is not selling. It only builds awareness. Selling is a different game and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Additional Resource

Seth Godin’s TED Talk on how to get your ideas to spread


Hey Aspiring Filmmaker,

I debuted my film career making a feature film for ₹5 lakhs ($7,000) on an iPhone. I’d like to help you do the same. So I wrote everything I learned into a book. It is now available on Amazon, called The Indian Indie Film (or Make Your Film for rest of the world). Enjoy!

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