“From Sundance to Cult Classic:” Panel to Feature FCLC Communications Professor


Brian Rose (far left) participating in the March 26, 2008 CENCOM panel “Film Publicity: How to Break In.” (Courtesy of Center for Communication)

Published: November 3, 2010

For many independent film companies, creating buzz for movies can be a challenge. The Center for Communication (CENCOM) will attempt to address some of the challenges indie films face during a seminar at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) on Nov. 4.

The topic of discussion for the evening is the independent film industry and the role low-budget publicity can play in garnering media attention and attaining a distribution deal. Panel participants, including Brian Rose, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) professor of communication and media studies, will offer their ideas on how independent films can break out, achieve success and even reach cult status, according to CENCOM’s website.

“This panel will be looking at the crucial issue of how to market independent films at a time when money has dried up, and more importantly, traditional means of publicity have been replaced by social networking sites and viral marketing,” Rose said.

As the Walt Disney Co. sold Miramax Films this year, most of the major film companies have shut down their independent operations within the last two years, according to Rose.

“Now it’s a much tougher economic climate,” he said. “Fewer theaters are showing independent films, and fewer places are left to distribute them.” Over the last decade, the industry has been going through a transition period, Rose said, explaining that this is one of the reasons he is excited about the upcoming CENCOM seminar.

The Center for Communication is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1980 by former CBS president Frank Stanton and the late Robert Batscha, former president of the Museum of Television & Radio, according to CENCOM’s website. The organization’s main purpose is to educate students about the business, trends and resources within the world of communications and media.

A variety of seminars—over 55—are held by CENCOM every year. Students can choose to attend panel discussions based on their specific field of interest. Some subjects include film, new media, journalism, television and public relations. With sponsorships from major media companies, such as Time Warner, Viacom, the New York Times Co. and the Hearst Corporation, CENCOM provides young adults with the opportunity to learn about the media industries directly from industry professionals. At seminars, panel members discuss issues and trends in the media with their co-panelists and answer questions from the audience.

At the Nov. 4 seminar, FCLC communication and media studies students, and others interested in the independent film industry and public relations, can look forward to hearing from industry insiders, including Rose, the only panel member from academia. Rose has been an active participant at similar CENCOM seminars in the past and encourages students to partake in them as much as possible.

“I think the Center’s seminars are a wonderful opportunity for college students in the New York City area to hear leading figures in the media discuss, in very focused seminars, topics of great contemporary interest,” he said. “I require my students in my Introduction to Media Industries class to attend at least one of these events each semester and it’s always been a great success.”

On the panel, Rose will be joined by Magnolia Pictures publicity and marketing director Arianne Ayers, publicist Laura Kim, Entertainment Weekly movie critic Owen Gleiberman, 42West movie marketing department senior associate Scott Feinstein and PMK*BNC executive vice president of the film department Marian Koltai-Levine, according to CENCOM’s website.

For those who envision a future in the media industries, attending some of the various seminars sponsored by the Center for Communication can provide insightful tips and practical career advice.