Sistah Sinema: Providing Community through Niche Film Distribution

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most Americans watch TV at an average of 2.8 hours a day. This makes the business of entertainment a massively lucrative industry and a place where there is a lot of competition. However, Jenifa Yador, founder of Sistah Sinema, decided to take advantage of this market to ensure the story of a unique minority community is being told and being seen.

Sistah Sinema provides access to independent films by underrepresented filmmakers at live events and online. Targeting queer women of color who are interested in film, the organization brings attention and a safe space of viewing and discussion of film projects written by, directed by or featuring queer women of color. By bringing access to films and conversations that highlight the experiences of this niche audience to scale, Jenifa has found a gap in the existing film distribution market and has sought to address the gap in a unique way.

Sistah Sinema works directly with underrepresented film makers to bring their films to market and provides a readily available audience for the films through local viewing events, run by the company. During the film viewings, there is typically discussion about the film and socializing amongst the audience, thus building a self-identified community, which adds to the customer value. The company also now provides access to the films through an online channel, via IndieFlix, for a subscription fee to the customer.

With a focus on local community access, Jenifa used existing events targeting LGBTQ and allies as an audience, to drive exposure to the film viewings. This included partnerships with local events to ensure co-marketing opportunities. Additionally, the company uses social media to drive community engagement virtually and build a viral effect. The company has been growing strongly, expanding local events across 11 cities in the US.

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