Founded in 2010, Film Presence helps filmmakers find, connect and engage with their audiences.
With more options available to distribute your film and new avenues for audiences to find them, Film Presence is here to make sure your project rises above the noise, by locating the best possible partners to help elevate your film at the best possible moments. Our experience in traditional distribution as well as new online funding and audience engagement platforms allows us to work adaptively in a constantly shifting film landscape. Timed to coincide with your Festival Launch, Theatrical Release or Crowdfunding Campaign, we build lasting relationships with partners, essential influencers and – most importantly – your audience.
Sara Kiener began implementing outreach and audience engagement campaigns in 2009 with Frederick Wiseman's LA DANSE and Nicole Opper's OFF AND RUNNING before joining forces with Merrill Sterritt in early 2010 to create Film Presence. Prior to Film Presence, Sara was the Exhibitor Relations Manager at Magnolia Pictures where she worked on some of her favorite films including LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and MAN ON WIRE. At Magnolia, Sara built relationships with exhibitors across the country, giving her insight into the unique needs and bandwidth of each theater – whether they’re run independently or by a chain. This helps her execute ideal collaborations when dealing with organizational partnerships at theaters nationwide. Sara has participated in labs, panels and juries at the SXSW Film Festival, True/False, The Philadelphia International Film Festival, DCTV, Maryland Film Festival, Chicken & Egg, Northside Film Festival, The Vancouver International Film Festival, The Chicago International Movie and Music Festival and IFP North. Sara is a member of the IFP Advisory Board and is a marketing mentor in their yearlong lab workshops for emerging filmmakers.
Before co-founding Film Presence, Merrill Sterritt spent three years with WOMEN MAKE MOVIES, the leading distributor of films by and about women. While managing the Production Assistance Program, she administered the fiscal sponsorship program and worked with over 220 films including PARIAH, SUN COME UP and THE OATH, providing fundraising guidance, production information and resources, rough cut screenings, and distribution advice. At Film Presence in 2013, Merrill oversaw the record-breaking documentary crowdfunding campaign for AN HONEST LIAR. Merrill has participated in labs, markets, and forums on behalf of Film Presence at HotDocs, Sheffield Doc/Fest, True/False, Chicken & Egg, and IFP. She has also edited films that have premiered at Sundance and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Michael joined the Film Presence family in May 2014, assisting in the crowdfunding campaigns for DO I SOUND GAY?, MILES AHEAD, THE VIKING OF SIXTH AVENUE and NUTS! and led the publicity and marketing campaign for BAMcinematék's Chris Marker retrospective pegged to the release of LEVEL FIVE. Michael spent 2 years with Susan Norget Film Promotion, assisting in festival and theatrical publicity campaigns for such films as the Oscar® nominated THE SQUARE,THE INVISIBLE WAR, THE ACT OF KILLING, HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, CUTIE AND THE BOXER, as well as the acclaimed NYMPHOMANIAC, HOLY MOTORS, AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY, UPSTREAM COLOR, TO THE WONDER and AFTER TILLER. Michael also previously worked at Kino Lorber, Inc. as a Marketing Assistant and Contracts Administrator.