The Indie-Friendly Business List 2015: 25 Companies You Should Know

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  1. Kitsplit // kitsplit.com

and

  1. ShareGrid // sharegrid.com

These community-based equipment rental websites are cheaper than rental houses—or a way to earn extra income off your kit. “We launched KitSplit as a way to democratize access to top-quality gear,” says co-founder Lisbeth Kaufman. Both services are invite-only, so both renters and rentees are vetted. While West Coast-based ShareGrid is the L.A. moviemaker’s go-to, Kitsplit’s on the East Coast.

  1. Light Iron // lightiron.com

Light Iron is a post-production company on both coasts that specializes in on-site dailies, DI, and archival and data services. “We had a great experience finishing my film How He Fell in Love at Light Iron in New York,” says filmmaker Marc Meyers. “The team is talented and committed, and put their hearts into our project. I recommend that other filmmakers approach them during pre-pro to get advice on their own workflow, which will save time and money for everyone during post.”

  1. Moby Gratis // mobygratis.com

Ever wanted Moby to do the music for your movie? He already did! Moby has made more than 150 of his tracks available to nonprofit and independent filmmakers absolutely free of charge… unless, of course, your film becomes a smash commercial success, in which case any royalties incurred go directly to the Humane Society of America. There’s an application process, but it’s pretty painless—responses come within 24 hrs.

  1. Moondog Labs // moondoglabs.com

Born from a Kickstarter campaign that just about doubled its goal, Moondog Labs’ 1.33x anamorphic adaptor lens for iPhone 5/5s is the gizmo responsible for Tangerine’s iPhone-to-CinemaScope makeover. Their lens enables widescreen with a greater depth of field, and horizontal lens flares to give your footage a filmic look—and it’s small in size and cost ($160-$175).

Moondog Labs 1.33X Anamorphic Adapter for iPhone 5/5S

  1. Peerspace // peerspace.com

What’s better than driving around endlessly looking for locations? Crowdsourcing them online, of course. Peerspace lets you search for shooting locations in New York, L.A. and San Francisco, instantaneously compare pricing and amenities, and book hourly or by day. Spaces range from soundstages to that Italian villa you refused to cut from the shooting script.

  1. Pinterest // pinterest.com

Isn’t Pinterest where you brainstorm your next tattoo? Yes, but the app has also become the norm for communicating the look and feel of a movie to production designers, DPs—even investors. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is, uh, on board big time: “Writing stuff down is the old way,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in August. “Get a hundred pictures that really capture it and put them on Pinterest and you don’t have to pitch—you can just show people.”

  1. Stage 32 // stage32.com

With 400,000 members around the world and growing, Stage 32’s strength lies in its global connectivity, with moviemakers getting spotted and hired on a regular basis even across continents. It’s not all digital; the network hosts meet-up events in many major filmmaking cities. Members take online classes, read the company’s educational blog, and showcase their skills on their profiles.

  1. Three Point Capital // tpc.us

Tax financing lender Three Point Capital’s great reputation in the film community helps them rise to the top. “Three Point Capital is extremely production-friendly, working to maximize the amount of capital available to a film, while also helping guide producers toward realistic timelines for tax credit collection and loan maturity,” says producer Robert Ogden Barnum (Lawless, All is Lost). “They’re my first call for tax credit lending on any of our projects.”

  1. Throwing Fruit // throwingfruit.com

With Throwing Fruit, you can combine stills, cast and crew bios, social profiles and videos into a single app with which to distribute your film directly to viewers. “Users type in links and upload film files through our content management system,” says Heather Leonard, co-founder of Throwing Fruit. “They create the app, we interface with the app stores.” While those app stores, for now, are limited to Apple’s, Throwing Fruit is expanding to Google, Amazon and Microsoft soon.

  1. Trew Audio // trewaudio.com

When it comes to recording location sound, Trew Audio offers good value on new and used audio equipment rental and sales. With hubs in L.A., Toronto, Atlanta, Vancouver and Nashville, and 35 years of experience serving the industry, the knowledgeable Trew crew also provides personalized support for recording needs at every level.

  1. VHX // vhx.tv

An independent video-on-demand platform that’s held its own since 2011, VHX added a subscription-based option this year to complement its pay-per-view model. As Anna Rose Holmer, writer and director of Venice Film Festival-premiering The Fits, says, VHX’s price-setting, bundling and analytics are “super supportive” for self-distributors.

Honorable Mention:

Droners // droners.io

Overheard in the near future: “You shot that with a drone?” Drones are the next affordable step in the evolution of modern cinema with low budgets and high production values. Droners lets moviemakers search for affordable access to independent providers of aerial services (from experienced drone pilots). Think Uber for aerial lensing. The website’s brand new, but we certainly have our eyes on it… and the skies. MM

This article appears in MovieMaker‘s Fall 2015 issue, on newsstands September 22, 2015. See last year’s list here.

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