Why Theatrical?


America is a crucial and uncharted market of 350+ million people, ripe for this epic father and son story about the importance of the Tibet spiritual heritage. The difference between theatrical screenings and television is the community experience that viewers have when watching a film together: events can be created around screenings that build new dialogue and connections among various diverse groups. The film will be used as conversation spark in cities across the USA to discuss family, religion, diversity, spirituality, Tibetan culture, meditation, Dzogchen, and more.

Many foreign distributors and markets wait for the US press and box office, to support their decisions to book or buy the film in their home territories. In Europe and much of Asia, the reviews from the New York Times and other key US press affect whether or not they buy the film. These reviews are used to support the outreach of the film in many platforms including DVD, download, television and theatrical, way beyond US borders.


One of the thrilling opportunities to create dialogue and discussion is to have film protagonist, Khyentse Yeshe, tour with the film, do press, and hold question and answer sessions after screenings. Meanwhile, he has offered to teach in certain locations where the film is playing. This can create an exciting synergy between the film screenings and people being able to go to hear the teachings from him and connect with Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen.  Moreover, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu will be coming to the USA to teach in Summer 2012. The film can create a good introduction to him for people who can meet him on this rare upcoming visit to the USA.


The theatrical market is an extremely difficult market to make money in today; therefore it is very hard to get a distributor to pick up a documentary for theatrical distribution. Even many fiction films are skipping theatrical and going straight to DVD and download. The reason for this is that it costs enormous amounts of money for press agents, traditional forms of advertising and film copies. Even then it can be hard to get bodies into seats. However, what distributors are often not very good at – niche marketing, grassroots campaigns and web 2.0 outreach ­– filmmakers and new, smaller for-hire distributors have become very adept at. There has developed a rather robust group of small companies helping filmmakers distribute their films theatrically for discrete sums of monies (called service deals). Moreover, for a film like MY REINCARNATION and many documentaries, financial gain is not the only way to evaluate theatrical success. Doing a theatrical run can be incredibly valuable for social issue films with strong human messages like ours: it creates press, word-of-mouth, dialogue and discussion on key issues pertinent to the film, and ultimately a space for social change.


In the US,there are hundreds of cinemas that potentially will book independent films and documentaries if they think there is a market in their area for the film’s subject. Some of those theaters will book on the merit of the film and others wait to see the box office success in New York and LA to decide if they will book the film. If MY REINCARNATION does well in New York (packed showings and held over for second and third weeks at the venue), it will open up a huge network of theaters nationwide.


We have hired what is called a “full service distribution company”, named LONGSHOT FACTORY, which means they book the film in cinemas across the USA, hire publicists, grass-roots campaign companies, orchestrate events when appropriate, place advertising, help us create materials such as posters, postcards, ad blocks, trailers blown up to 35 mm, and more. Our fee to the distribution company is the same, whether they are able to book the film in 10 cinemas or 100. The reason for this is that once the basic materials are made, the job for them is basically the same. Most of the costs are incurred opening in NY and LA.

We have tried to create the most economical theatrical campaign possible. There is not a lot budgeted for ad costs or press agents outside of the two main cities, New York and LA, which generally sets the tone for the rest of the country in terms of press. Where we don’t have a lot of press costs, we plan to create a strong web 2.0 campaign that will be continued city by city as we network with organizations in each location. The films success at reaching the widest audience will depend on everyone connected with MY REINCARNATION networking on the web and doing private outreach in every city to help support the campaign.  In most cities, there will be opportunities to place information about Dzogchen, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and Khyentse Yeshe at the cinemas, and perhaps sell books as well as present the film at various screenings. We will liaison with other Buddhist, Tibetan, Spiritual, Family, Meditation and Yoga organizations and create panels and events around the screenings to broaden the reach and depth.


There are two possible budget ranges we are working with now depending on how much we are able to raise. These budgets do not include trying to qualify the film for the Academy Awards, which adds on considerable more cost to the budget so we are currently not considering doing so. From the Kickstarter Campaign we have raised $14,000 that we can apply towards the theatrical distribution costs listed. Please note that these are estimated costs (budget breakdown available):

BUDGET RANGE 1 (minimum) = $56,000  (- $14,000) = $42,000. If the film is held over in certain markets more than a week and we need to continue spending for advertising per city, depending on the number of markets, the budget can range up to approximately maximum $20,000 = $62,000

BUDGET RANGE 2 (higher) = $84,000 (- $14,000)  = $70,000. This includes placing the film in some theaters of the higher end theater chain, with a built in mailing list, called the Landmark Cinemas in 10 cities. Landmark Theaters require certain advertising spend in each local because they use their own in house publicists and have other requirements. If the film is held over in certain markets more than a week and we need to continue spending for advertising per city, depending on the number of markets, the budget can range upwards to approximately maximum $20,000 = = $90,000.

The costs of Khyentse Yeshe touring with the film has not been determined yet because it depends on the numbers of locations he is able to go to and how long he is able to stay. These costs must be calculated in addition.


Any contribution – small or large – will help get this crucial film project into theatrical distribution.  You can make a contribution now by clicking, Support Now or by purchasing one of the beautiful gifts in our fabulous Web Store. Every time you buy or contribute it goes directly to help the theatrical distribution of the film.

We don’t have much time to raise the funds to do the theatrical campaign so larger contributions are crucial. We are still able to add your name to the credits of the film: A $10,000 contribution will give an Associate Producer Credit; a $30,000 contribution will give a Co-Producer Credit; a $40,000 a Co-Executive Producer Credit; and if you’d like to get your name on the head of the film to “Present” the entire theatrical campaign, $60,000 will give a Presenter Credit at the head / and an Executive Producer Credit on the tail. Your name will appear in the credits for all US Festivals, multi-city US Theatrical, Some International TV and PBS (except for the “Presenter” credit, which they don’t allow). And IMDB of course! If you’d like to discuss this exciting possibility of becoming a producer, please email me directly now at: zohefilms@gmail.com. Please note that these are honorary titles and do not engender any creative or business involvement/decision-making nor does the credit entitle any claim of ownership.


Your donation is tax deductible through our 501(c)(3) partner. If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please write me and we can get you all the necessary information at zohefilms@gmail.com.


Become an Outreach Partner. Spread the word about the film in your community, talk to your local cinema, and help bring MY REINCARNATION to your hometown. You’ll receive a special Outreach Partner credit on our website.

We’d love to discuss partnering with you, your organization, or your community to help get the word out about the film as it starts touring the USA. Please contact us and we’ll get the collaborative juices flowing!

And of course we need your help broadcasting each theater date booked on the Theatrical Tour. So as soon as we announce each theater date, please join us and Facebook it, Tweet it, sing it from the mountain tops. This tour depends on you!