Master the art of direct distribution

Learn how to market, distribute, and monetize your film from start to finish

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The complete guide to launching your film

We’re entering a brave new world for independent filmmakers. The old gatekeepers, institutions, and ideas are breaking down. But if you can build an audience and take control of your film’s distribution, there’s more opportunity than ever.

Filmmaker.MBA is a self-paced, self-directed course teaching the fundamentals of direct distribution. Through video lessons, case studies, action plans, and interactive webinars, we’ll teach you how to navigate the independent film world and walk you through the distribution process from start to finish. By the end of the course, you’ll have a customized distribution plan for your film—just what you need to move your project into action.

What you’ll learn


Learn how to identify your niche, build your network, and create a passionate fanbase.


Learn how to set up your distribution platform and sell directly to your audience.


Learn how to launch successful digital, social, and community screening campaigns.


Learn how to create valuable products and generate regular income with your film.



Learn how to raise money for production, distribution, and outreach campaigns.


Learn how to pitch your project to funders, distributors, and institutional partners.


Learn how to think like a startup and build a profitable business around your work.


Learn how to design a social impact campaign and make your mark in the world.

Step-by-Step Video Lessons

You’ll start by watching 15 short video tutorials covering the entire distribution process. Each lesson introduces the main concept, guides you through a real-world example, and explains how to apply the ideas to your film. The lessons are self-paced, so you can skip directly to the topics that interest you most and refer back when you need it.

case studies

In-depth Case Studies

After watching the video tutorials, you’ll find 15+ detailed case studies illustrating the concepts in action. We’ll walk you through the direct distribution campaigns for successful films including Food MattersHelvetica, and Indie Game: The Movie. The case studies will give you nuts-and-bolts advice and move you towards action.

Customizable Action Plans

At the end of each lesson, you’ll find a step-by-step action plan including templates, timelines, and checklists. The action plans are in Word format, so you can easily customize them for your project. By the end of the course, you’ll have a complete distribution roadmap to guide you through every step of your film’s release.

action plans

Watch Sample Tutorials

Direct Distribution

Direct Distribution

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing

Community Screenings

Community Screenings












Meet Your Instructor

I’m Christopher Rufo. I’ve developed Filmmaker.MBA from ten years of in-the-trenches experience as independent filmmakers. I’ve produced three documentaries for PBS, pioneered new strategies in direct distribution, and made filmmaking into a sustainable full-time career—including salary, benefits, and retirement.

With my last film, Age of Champions, we grossed more than $1.5 million through direct distribution, corporate partnerships, and digital sales. In addition, we spearheaded more than 3,000 community screenings, reached more than 3 million viewers on PBS and Netflix, and appeared on NPR, ABC, CBS, HLN, CNN, and FOX. 

I’ve built Filmmaker.MBA to share what I’ve learned and help filmmakers through the distribution minefield. I know how hard it is to juggle creative projects and the demands of daily life, so I’ve created something that will help save you time, money, and frustration as you launch your film.

For Filmmaker.MBA, I’ve partnered with Robert A. Compton, an experienced venture capital investor, filmmaker, and executive producer on 10 documentaries, including The Hunting Ground, Sundance award-winner Rich Hill, and Academy Award® nominee Cartel Land.

What you’ll get

video tutorials
case studies
action plans
hours of content

Our Work in the News

Get Started with the Filmmaker.MBA

Join 1,700 filmmakers learning the business of direct distribution

Filmmaker.MBA Course
$99one-time fee
  • Unlimited access to the Filmmaker.MBA
  • 15 video lessons covering all stages of film distribution
  • 15+ case studies showing you real-world examples
  • 10 action plans to build your customized distribution roadmap
  • Bonus materials including templates, checklists, and sample documents
  • 10+ hours of total content, lessons, and worksheets


Who’s this course for?

Filmmaker.MBA is designed for documentarians, commercial directors, video producers, journalists, film students, and second-career filmmakers. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or working on your first project, you’ll find the resources you need to successfully launch your film into the world.

How does the course work?

Filmmaker.MBA is a self-paced, self-directed course. Each lesson includes a video tutorial, case study, bonus materials, and action plan to apply the concepts to your film. You can go through the lessons in order or skip directly to the part that interests you most.

How long does the course take?

It’s up to you. You can blast through the video tutorials over a weekend or meticulously go through every case study and action plan over many months. That’s why we’re giving you unlimited access—you can go at your own pace and always refer back when you need it.

What if I’m not done with my film yet?

The earlier you make your distribution plan, the faster you’ll succeed. No matter where you are in your project lifecycle, it’s never too early (and never too late) to start thinking about audience, distribution, marketing, and monetization. Get started now.

Is this an accredited MBA program?

Of course not. We’re not affiliated with a university and there’s no fancy diploma at the end. We call it Filmmaker.MBA to emphasize that you’ll be learning the business side of filmmaking.

More questions?

Email Christopher directly at rufo [at] documentaryfoundation [dot] org.


Learn how to distribute your film

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