First Hand Films

Mission Statement

To be fast in both perception and empathy, and to be precise in decision and deed. To believe in stories told, well told, differently told, and to believe in captivating audiences, as small as they might be. To render impeccable service, polite...

Passion

First Hand Films must make people laugh, cry, fall in love and learn something. Not many films do that to us, but when filmmakers take us into a new universe, when they tell us stories we never thought existed, when they take us through hell and back....

Labor of Love

Our greatest pride is that we keep succeeding in selling those much-loved films internationally and continuously. We keep a lean management and are flexible in our decisions. We cooperate tightly with our producers and are persistent in our line of business...

The Business of Sales and Falling in Love - What we do and who we are

First, we fall in love. Then, we start to work. Our passion is to get good films seen, our job is to add professional know-how to further the film’s commercial career: knowledge of the markets, contacts with the relevant players, and skills to close a...

Company Profile

Dedicated Production and tailor made Distribution for every story in every medium everywhere. We get to work when the good stories open up universes we never knew existed, when the story takes us through hell and back, when it walks rainbows with us,...

Acquisition Policy

We look for A strong story and a creative director. Daring documentaries with good narratives – feature length for festivals, cinemas and SVOD platforms and in one-hour TV-versions. Films that are subversive and commercial at the same time - that c...

Launching & Marketing

Marketing – basics not to be left behind Each programme needs a recognizable key picture (300dpi). Take high resolution screen shots during editing or, much better, take high resolution and high quality set photos during the shoot. It’s worth it!...

Speaking & Teaching

When we are invited to sit in Juries or teach or present Workshops or Case Studies, our families often ask: What will you talk about? My reply usually is: About how to have a big mouth. In reality, of course, we are simply happy to share what we have...

Project and Rough Cut Assessments

If you have a project or a rough cut that you wish to be carefully assessed independently we can provide that service for you. Distribution, sales and festival consultancy are each at €250, all three combined at €600. An independent rough cut assessment reg...

Facts & Figures

Founded in Zurich (1998) and Berlin (1999) by Esther van Messel, to distribute independent fiction and documentary films for television and cinema. Present at all major festivals around the year, with meeting and screening facilities at stands...

Clients

We have the pleasure to serve: 03 MBC United Arab Emirates 2-s Regio Kft 3sat Germany ABC Australia Absolut Medien Germany Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Canada Adopt Films USA AETN Asia Against Gravity Poland...

Awards

2014 MiradasDoc Honorary Award for First Hand Films for "having been able to rejuvenate the language of documentary filmmaking and bring it closer to our living rooms" References In First Hand Films we have found a partner who...

Publikation

Low-Budget-Filme Marketing und Vertrieb optimieren The book is not yet available in English. We'll let you know here as soon as it is. Die Anzahl von Low-Budget-Produktionen nimmt stetig zu, ihre professionelle Vermarktung und ihr Erfolg aber...

Things we don't usually mention

What we'd like to mention more, actually, is for us it's all about quality and human relationships, really. And fun, respect, curiosity! We work a lot. When we're on the road we check mails of course, when we should sleep we dream of electric...

One Day @ FHF: Bulletpoints from the various desks at First Hand Films

Our job is one we have to learn anew all the time. Not only are new films made all the time, and stories are told in new forms never seen before, technology has developed immensely in our field, and continues to do so. And the buyers switch jobs, the...