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Personality type:

The lowdown

  • Creating plans for film releases to ensure they reach big audiences and make a profit
  • Selling and publicising films to the media, marketing partners, cinemas and the public
  • Liaising with filmmakers and producers, film sales agents, publicists, advertising agencies

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to… 

  • Be inventive, creative and intuitive
  • Be a good negotiator
  • Be good at team-building
  • Enjoy networking with people in different areas of the film industry
  • Be able to identify each film's core target audience using different techniques 
  • Be aware of different cultural trends
  • Hve good experience of the industry and a knowledge of film markets
  • Be knowledgeable and passionate about film
  • Have good judgement
  • Have good financial skills and salesmanship

What does a Distributor do?

Distributors acquire films via deals with studios, and production companies, and/or through film sales agents who represent filmmakers. Distributors may either be 'majors', who are affiliated to Hollywood studios and handle their films, or 'independents' who handle films made outside the Hollywood studio system. 

Any Distributor may compete for the rights to release a film, whether for cinema, terrestrial television, satellite, the DVD/Blu-ray/VOD market, or another ancillary market. The distribution deals cover the overall rights to a film for a set period of time, and usually include the release plan, media promotion, and what edits and changes are allowable. For example what is needed to get a particular classification - 12A etc. 

Distributors must create an entirely new film release plan for each project that will maximise the unique selling points and inform the widest possible audience about the film. Distributors also oversee the accountancy procedures for their films, and provide studios or producers with reports covering marketing plans, expenditure evaluations, forecasts, and revenue breakdowns.  

Will I need a qualification? 

You might need a HE or FE degree, but it’s not essential. You will most likely have qualifications in Business, Marketing, Publicity, Sales, Administration and Finance.  

If you are considering taking a Film Production course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the film industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in film.

Film production courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

You could start in an entry level position within a distribution company or you could become a Distributor if you have a background in associated areas, such as marketing. 

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Interested? Find out more…


  • Screen Daily - online industry news service and weekly publication, Screen International


  • Variety a weekly publication for the film, television, music and interactive entertainment industries  
  • BFI Sight and Sound magazine featuring articles, reviews and full credit lists for international cinema
  • The Hollywood Reporter


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