Bardya Ziaian On Positive Trends for Indie Filmmakers


Don’t listen to the naysayers — this is a great time to be in filmmaking.

That’s the perspective of Bardya Ziaian, a Canadian fintech entrepreneur who has added the creation of a film production studio to his list of accolades.

Bardya Ziaian, who saw success launching fintech-based startups like Virtual Brokers and BBS Securities, made his first film, “Super Dicks,” during the pandemic, and has now launched Bardya Pictures Ltd. to expand his filmmaking.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the hand-wringing over the movie industry — whether it’s criticism of the dominance of superhero stories or worries about the fate of movie theaters — this is actually a great time to be in filmmaking, Ziaian said.

Here are a few reasons why Bardya Ziaian believes indie filmmakers have reasons for optimism in 2022 and beyond.

The Rise of Streaming

By early 2020, shortly after the launch of Disney+ and Apple TV, streaming services reached 1.1 billion subscribers, worldwide.

The number of streaming subscriptions will likely increase by 529 million between 2019 and 2025 to 1.17 million, Research and Markets reported, adding that streaming revenues for 138 countries will reach $100 billion by 2025.

As one example of how quickly streaming has penetrated the global marketplace, Disney+ had planned to reach between 60 and 90 million subscribers by 2024 — a milestone they surpassed within a year of launching in fall 2019.

While it remains to be seen just how much streaming will alter the media landscape, many longtime traditions of viewing content have returned, Ziaian pointed out, such as airing new TV episodes weekly, and different services retaining rights to specific content, resulting in a la carte approach not dissimilar from the various cable options of years past.

Record Spending On Indie Projects

While many media critics get hung up on the dominance of Marvel Studios and Disney, the numbers paint a more nuanced picture of what’s happening in the film industry.

Spending on indie-created content has actually surged to record levels. Independently made and acquired content now accounts for twice as much money globally as the five major Hollywood studios (plus Netflix), according to Purely Streamonomics.

“There’s so much more diversity in terms of where and how people are getting their content,” Ziaian said. “A lot of people are doing it on YouTube or other platforms friendly to independent creators. At the same time, even the big streaming services are looking for fresh ideas from new names to the industry.”

Moving Away From Theaters

It’s hard to deny that indie films have trouble gaining enough attention to succeed in movie theaters, which have an increasingly narrow range of success stories.

“Adult dramas, especially indie ones, are having a very tough time finding an audience in theaters right now, and that dynamic was happening even before the pandemic,” Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at data firm Exhibitor Relations, told the LA Times. “Horror, superheroes and sequels. That’s all that’s working.”

However, even the biggest streaming services, like Disney and Apple, have shown a willingness to fork over big bucks for the right independent film.

That strategy paid off for Apple’s record-breaking $25 million purchase of “CODA,” the crowd-pleasing drama about a deaf family that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The same goes for Disney-owned Searchlight Pictures, which with Hulu paid $12 million for the critically acclaimed “Summer of Soul” documentary from Questlove.

While the film industry is certainly changing, there’s plenty of reason for indie filmmakers to feel hopeful about the future, Ziaian said.

“The film industry is undergoing a period of massive change, just like every other industry in the world right now,” Bardya Ziaian said. “I think the end result of that change will be a net positive for filmmakers trying to get their passion project in front of the public.”

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.