72 – Direct Distribution for Your Documentary with Christopher Rufo

Direct Distribution for Your Documentary Film

The topic of film distribution is, perhaps, one of the most requested topics that we’ve ever had for the podcast. And it’s no wonder. While there may seem like more options than ever for the doc filmmaker, it’s hard to know which ones may be best suited for us.  Or if, in fact, self-distribution may, in fact, be the better, smarter option for the independent documentary filmmaker.

Well, Christopher Rufo is a documentary filmmaker who has cracked the proverbial code on what he likes to call “direct distribution”. Chris – who is the founder of both Documentary Foundation and Filmmaker.MBA has some very tried and true methods for getting your documentary film out into the world, seen on big screens, and helping you make some good money back on your film.


Among the many topics covered:

  • definition of direct distribution and how it applies to you and your film distro plan
  • how incorporating as a non-profit can be very advantageous to you
  • how embracing an entrepreneurial spirit is key to sustaining one’s doc life
  • stop trying to get to a general audience, instead niche down to your true audience
  • re-defining the term theatrical release


Related Resources




Don’t forget to take advantage of the 10 percent discount by using the promo code MYDOCLIFE upon checkout!





Watch Christopher Rufo’s first PBS documentary, Roughing It: Mongolia for free right here!





Watch Christopher Rufo’s second PBS documentary, Diamond in the Dunes for free by going here!




Our Film

If you are interested in watching TDL host, Chris G. Parkhurst’s personal documentary, you can check out Journey to Kathmandua film that follows the once-in-a-lifetime journey that goats make from their farmland lives of goats in Tibet to their sacrificial deaths in Kathmandu, during the Nepalese holiday, Dashain.

Purchase of the Deluxe Director’s & Goat’s Edition comes loaded with behind-the-scenes footage, director’s commentary, shorts, and deleted scenes. Regardless if you’re simply looking for more info on the making of J2K’or you’re a budding independent filmmaker (or just a fan of goats!), this is a must-have for anyone who enjoys gaining insight into what goes into the making of an independent documentary in a developing country.


Additional Resources

In #DocLand we have very comprehensive tutorials on seeking and applying for grants and running crowdfunding campaigns.

 #DocLand is The Documentary Life‘s very own flagship filmmaking community which offers you step-by-step tutorials, industry expert webinars, private Facebook group, industry-standard templates and extensive resources, to assist you in the planning, funding and sharing of your documentary film.

Visit #Docland to learn more.


Rate & Review

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Sponsors & Thank You’s


Episode #72 is proudly brought to you by BlackBox Global, creators of the easiest way to turn your filmmaking skills into passive income!



If you have old hard drives with footage, a camera to shoot new footage, and a computer to edit the footage, you can use BlackBox to start generating passive income today!  It’s freedom, plain and simple.


Go to BlackBox, Create a Free Account, and start selling your footage today!


Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artist’s music by going to Free Music Archive today!


Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.

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