Distribution platform Gathr and documentary distribution agency Roco Films have teamed to create Roco Voices, a new speakers bureau.
Roco Voices, launching Nov. 14, will offer live speaking engagements with filmmakers and subject matter experts from Roco Film’s docu film catalog. The initial cohort of filmmakers to debut with Roco Voices include Academy Award winners and nominees Oliver Stone (“Nuclear Now”), Ross Kauffman (“Born Into Brothels”), Justine Shapiro (“Promises”), Sam Green (“The Weather Underground”), David France (“How to Survive a Plague”), Geralyn Dreyfous (“The Square”), and Roger Weisberg (“Sound and Fury”). (All Roco clients have the opportunity to opt-in.)
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Powering Roco Voices is Gathr’s talent booking technology. (The company started beta-testing earlier this year.) The collaboration is a one-stop shop for Roco Films’ customers to search, discover, negotiate, and book filmmakers, doc talent and subject matter experts while also licensing impact-driven and educational film screenings.
“The shared experience of an intentional film screening followed by a Q&A is the most direct route to audience engagement,” says Roco Film founder and CEO, Annie Roney. “With Gathr’s talent booking technology, we can help our screening hosts further ‘eventize’ their screenings, while putting more revenue into the pockets of the filmmakers and their experts.”
The launch of Roco Voices comes at a time when the majority of documentary filmmakers are facing an uphill battle when it comes to production budgets and distribution deals.
“Roco Voices is part of the disruption we need right now in the indie film world,” says Green, whose most recent doc, “32 Sounds” debuted at Sundance 2023. “It allows filmmakers and their documentary cast to connect directly with the audiences who are hungry to hear from them. Like a film festival experience, we can amplify our films using the powerful convergence of a community screening paired with passionate speakers and experts.”
Scott Glosserman, founder and CEO of Gathr, says it is important to distinguish talent booking from film licensing.
“While filmmakers have long depended on subject matter experts to bring authenticity to their documentaries and impact and PR campaigns, our platform offers these experts a rewarding avenue to both honor and capitalize on their invaluable contributions,” he says. “The prestige of being part of such impactful films is undoubtedly significant, but providing an avenue for their continuous monetization ensures a symbiotic relationship where all stakeholders share in the film’s success.”
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