IFH 407: The Million Dollar Self Distribution Experiment, "Monsters of Man"

Alex Ferrari • October 19, 2020

When I wrote my book Rise of the Filmtrepreneur I hoped it would help filmmakers around the world. I never thought that a filmmaker halfway around the world would read it and change his entire marketing and distribution plan for his million-dollar+ indie film. Today’s guest is Australian filmmaker Mark Toia who created the insane indie sci-fi action film Monsters of Man.

After reading Rise of the Filmtrepreneur he reached out to tell me what he was thinking of doing. He was planning on self-distributing his film as an experiment to see if he could do it and also to prove to filmmakers around the world that you can get a great ROI (Return on Investment) on a million-dollar+ indie film without any major bankable stars.

I asked him, “So a million-dollar Filmtrepreneur experiment?”

Mark said yes. He had already been offered multiple seven-figure deals from distributors but after looking at the convoluted fine print of the distribution contracts he decided to opt-out. The payment schedules were so insane it would take Mark forever to get any money at all. The traditional film distribution path was not designed to help him get paid and if a film like Monsters of Man is having these issues the system is most definitely broken.

Then he discovered my book and down the Filmtrepreneur rabbit-hole, he went. When I saw the trailer for the first time I almost fell out of my chair. I recently had the pleasure of watching the film and all I can say is: “Monsters of Man is one of the BEST films I’ve seen in 2020. A must watch!”

To get the most bang for his buck Mark shot the film in Cambodia. He was able to hire an amazing local crew while also capturing the breath-taking locations, and culture that the country had to offer. The production value was off the charts.

Here’s the synopsis of Monsters of Man:
A robotics company teams up with a corrupt CIA agent trying to position themselves to win a lucrative military contract. They illegally airdrop 4 prototype robots into the middle of the infamous Golden triangle to perform a live field test on unsuspecting drug lords that the world will never miss. Volunteer doctors witness the murder of a village and become the targets.

I’ve been on the post-production side of the business for most of my 25+ year career and I have to say the visual effects that Mark was able to create on such a low-budget is truly miraculous. The quality of the robots is $100 million+ level. I’ve seen studio films that couldn’t get to this level of VFX quality.

If you want to buy the film check out the Indiegogo campaign Mark set up for the film. Here’s what he has to say:

I would like to invite you to our crowdfunding campaign that’s a little bit different than most.  As you can see, our film is completed, as we funded it ourselves because we didn’t want our fans to be at risk of BACKING a film that could have been completed to a sub-standard level or not ever is finished at all.  So we pushed hard to complete our film to the highest level, giving our movie fans something legit to back and not putting them at risk of wasting their hard-earned dollars.

This is a once in a lifetime Filmtrepreneur experiment. Can a multi-million dollar sci-fi, action indie film be self-distributed successfully? We will find out. Mark agreed to keep me updated on the progress of the film and come back next year to tell the tribe how it all went.

I can’t be more excited to share this episode with you guys. Enjoy my inspiring conversation with Mark Toia.