Filmmaker Success Story: Marianne Hettinger

December 12th, 2018 • 4 min read •

Marianne came to New York City from Germany at 19, with $800 dollars, scholarships, and a decisive desire to follow in Gene Kelly’s footsteps. She starred in recurring TV roles on CVS dramas, became a ballroom champion, developed and stared in her first original work at 20 year-old off-off Broadway and even tangoed with Antonio Banderas on The Late Show with David Letterman, before she directed her first feature in 2009.

“I want to write stories that I’m passionate about.”

In 2009, she wrote, directed and produced her first feature “Mango Tango”, the story of “a woman looking for her soulmate in all the wrong places”. At the heart of her work, there’s a desire to speak to timely and fundamental themes:

“I like to write about female protagonists who have their power taken away from them and who take that power back.”

Her second feature, Prince Harming, will make its debut on the festival circuit between the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019. It has already been selected by several festivals.

Finding distribution for Mango Tango

Mango Tango won a number of film festival awards in Europe and the US, including Best Director laurels at the Queens Independent Film Festival, and had a limited theatrical run in the US, Germany and Canada. But when it came to determining the long term future of her first movie, Marianne was left on somehow uncertain footing.

“I was approached by a few distributors. They offered me no money upfront, I would probably have had to give away my rights to my film, and probably would have never seen a dime.”

That was when a friend of hers talked to her about Filmhub, a new tech company which founding principles made it easy for independent, up-and-coming filmmakers like her to monetize their content while not having either to either pay nor give away their rights.

“I thought “why not give it a shot?”. It sounded like a new thing. It was very simple to upload. The good thing is — I was able to keep my rights to the film, and they told me I could even pull it off the platform if I wanted to.”

Ease of Use of the Platform

As for dealing with the platform itself, Marianne enjoys the peace of mind it brings her.

“They always get back to me very quickly — it’s a simple process. You kind of forget about it and then a couple months later you get a check on Paypal.”

By lowering entry barriers for independent filmmakers like Marianne, Filmhub allows their title to compete in the same fields as bigger productions.

“The cool thing is that Filmhub approaches different platforms and I can just wait and sit back and suddenly I get a call from a friend who says “Hey, your movie was movie of the week on TBD!”. It’s very helpful to have a platform that does the work for you.”

Her dual citizenship makes her appreciate that Filmhub can also showcase her movie in her native Germany.

“They approach different platforms — worldwide now — the whole thing is spreading, it’s like snowballing. So instead of making less, I’m actually making a little more money.”

Gaining Creative Autonomy

Marianne tackles heavy themes in her work — after Mango Tango and its exploration of emotional abuse, her next feature, Prince Harming, explores entrapment and the escalation of physical abuse in a romantic relationship. Herself a vocal sexual assault survivor, she feels the need to tackle those issues in her creative work.

Filmhub gives her this autonomy.

“I feel like I can tell the stories I really wanna tell. No one tells me what story to make or censors me. I know I will have a platform where my films can get out there and it’s not gonna stay on a shelf.”

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