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International Film Business Online

You, Your Film, Your Audience -  Bringing It All Together

8 lessons, videos and case studies on how to operate in the film business internationally!

This course, which can be taken at an affordable price, is aimed at filmmakers as well as producers, directors, distributors, international sales agents, civilians - and anyone else who is already in the business of film, or entering it, working their way up or aspiring to a career in the international independent film business. The course is made up of eight lessons, each accompanied by an exercise, which will be read and corrected by the instructors Sydney Levine and Peter Belsito. Watch the interview to Sydney Levine.

At the end of the course, besides having enjoyed the 16 weeks, you will be familiar with the inner workings of the international independent film business. By expanding the students’ working knowledge, it will provide tools necessary to develop a film project for distribution in the worldwide marketplace. The student will develop the skills necessary to market the project for sales and distribution in order to re-coup investment, break even and hopefully actually to profit from the fruit of the filmmaking labors. The student will develop awareness on how to focus on developing an edge in the industry, how to fit one’s own film project into it at any time in the project’s trajectory or at any specific time of the year.

The first lesson is free and does not lock you into a subscription.


Download Lesson n. 1 here. Read it, evaluate it, do the exercise requested by the lesson, send it to Together with the exercise, ask the teacher all your questions concerning the contents of the lesson and the course. In a few days you will receive a corrected exercise and the answers to all your questions, thus verifying with your own eyes how useful and fun these lessons are. After this, you can decide whether to enroll or not. To continue the course, you have to send an email to declaring your intention to continue the eight-lesson course and make a bank or PayPal transfer payment. This way, you will be added to the first course on the calendar, during which, over the next 16 weeks, you’ll receive the other 7 lessons (one every two weeks). At the end of each lesson, you will be invited to do your homework which you will email back to your teacher. Within 7 days, your teacher will correct your homework and send it back to you. The 16 weeks offer an optimum amount of time to study the lessons and do your homework and meanwhile, in case of doubts, ask for explanations.

The lessons (that will be sent in PDF format) are easily read and have links you may want to explore.  They will open to you various aspects of the world film business including festivals, markets, companies, films, countries. There really is nothing else this comprehensive available. We examine the various aspects of the world film business in a complete and exhaustive way. Actually, the practical and theoretical know-how you will possess at the end of the course is superior to any other course and includes a great numbers of unique and interesting issues, sometimes illuminating, that aren’t taught at any traditional courses.

For further info on contents and organisation of courses:


The main reason to enroll in this course is because these lessons open a door to the real world where the films we love get seen and distributed and also pay back the creators so they can work again. The content here is unique. The best way to learn how to make a film which gets seen and finds distribution worldwide and then compensates the filmmakers can be learned here if you make the effort to understand the business side of film. Distribution thus is crucial. The lessons, which will be sent to you, are documents that you will be able to refer back even years after you have finished the course.

Cineuropa offers you a very flexible schedule for the course, complementing current lifestyles.

The reasons to enroll to the course are many:

  • the course forces you to a commitment: initially only two-three pages of homework to become familiar with the subject. You will be given guidelines at the beginning of the course, then gradually through the following courses you will go deeper into the business aspects of film - sales, distribution, festivals, markets, international. This will help guide you in the future if you enter this business or just wish to follow it from afar. The content here is unique.
  • the course can be followed directly from home (or from your office). You will therefore be able to read the lessons at your leisure time and communicate privately with your teacher at any moment. This way, you never risk losing a lesson!
  • this online course is not an automatic distributor. When you do your exercises, you won’t have to correct them yourself, nor jot down a cross or two on some answer and have the test thrown into Hal 9000. If you have doubts, you don’t have to find the answer in some “faq” page. Somebody here reads what you write.

Course Programme

No matter where in the world you are based it is necessary in order to understand the effect a film has and how it reaches the world's attention, to know this business model which is unique and compelling. People make films to change the world and how films reach the masses in the world is thus important to understand in their business journey to human consciousness. We include all world festivals in this process which are after all just a part of a film's marketing structure. The business adapts to the demands of each film where the basic question is always 'Who is this film aimed for? Who is the audience?' This is the goal of distribution then - to reach those eyeballs and to receive compensation back to the filmmakers for them seeing the film.

Course Outline – Sixteen Week Breakdown

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. Goals and the Pitch
  3. Markets and Festivals
  4. International
  5. Distribution
  6. Short Films
  7. Documentaries
  8. Dramatic Features


There are relevant questions after each class. Please complete and submit your answers. You may also submit to Sydney ( and Peter ( any other questions you might have, all of which will be answered in due course. Skype contact also possible as and if needed.

Before enrolling you are advised to complete the first exercise in order to evaluate your interest in this course material with your teacher.

Course Calendar

The first lesson can be downloaded free this site at any time. The other seven lessons will be sent via email every 14 days upon enrolment. Between one lesson and another, there are two weeks of time during which you can read the lesson and send your exercise, receiving an answer within a maximum of seven days, if you follow the delivery schedule. The second lesson will be sent following confirmation of your subscription. Following this, a lesson will be sent to you every second Friday from our teaching service. The final deadline to send in your exercises is 14 days after having received the eight and last lesson (there will however be a tolerance time can be established between you and your teacher). See F.A.Q. at end of page for details.

Subscription Fee

The total cost of the screenwriting course is €400. The payment must be made in a single instalment at the moment of confirmation of subscription (meaning after the first test and obviously only if you decide to continue the course)

How To Enroll

Declare your intention to enroll at the following email: You will then receive a confirmation of your enrolment together with the data necessary for the payment through bank transfer. If the payment isn’t made within a week, the subscription declines. For all info concerning the registration conditions:


Sydney Levine and Peter Belsito have been in the business for over 40 years.

Our former company, FilmFinders, was recognized for over 20 years as THE first and only international film tracking database designed for the world film business to know what was happening in the film markets regarding the buying and selling of films worldwide. We worked with and traveled to many international markets and festivals - and still do although we sold our company to IMDb and left it in 2009 but not before setting up the blog SydneysBuzz which still runs on IMDb, IMDbPro and at Click on

Before founding FilmFinders in 1988, Sydney Levine was a high level film acquisitions executive in L.A., New York and internationally. Currently an educator and consultant, she has taught courses on international distribution and marketing at Chapman University, UCLA Extension Film School Certificate Program, New School of Social Research, Deutsche Welle Akademie, Cannes Producer Workshop, Berlin Talents, University of Shavli in Lithuania and elsewhere.

Peter Belsito was an indie cinematographer and producer and personally founded the anti-war independent film group L.A. Newsreel and the indie film organizations IFP (Independent Feature Project) in NYC and Los Angeles (now called Film Independent). Sydney and he often collaborate in training and educational programs like this one.


  1. Does the course request a previous preparation? No kind of previous preparation is necessary to enroll to the course.
  2. Is any particular computer skill necessary to follow the course? No, the course is organized in such a way to be feasible to whomever has knowledge of electronic mail.
  3. What software is necessary? Acrobat reader that can be downloaded here for free. You can also use Word. Final Draft and Celt.x are also accepted.
  4. What’s the average time of reply to our questions? You will always receive an answer within 7 days, often even in 3-5 days. If for exceptional reasons our teachers will not be able to answer within the 7 days, you will be advised of the delay by email and receive an answer as soon as possible.
  5. Is it obligatory to end an exercise before receiving the following lesson? It would be best to keep up to the rhythm of the lessons, for example ending exercise n. 3 during the two weeks that separate you between the Lesson 3 and 4. Naturally, if over that period, the student hasn’t completed his exercise, he can make up during the following weeks. The main issue is to finish all exercises within the end of the course (precisely, 14 days after the last lesson was sent).
    In case the student hasn’t ended his exercises within the 16 weeks of the course, there will however be a two-week tolerance after the official ending of the course (precisely, 14 days after the last lesson was sent). Over that period, however, the 7-day answer rule will not be respected, so the teachers’ answers could request up to 15 days.
  6. Are the courses for all ages? Yes.
  7. What type of help should I expect from the teacher of the course? An informal service, competent, passionate. You can be sure to have available and kind teachers who offer simple answers yet thoroughly exhaustive. Exhaustive corrections and answers in a short time, and not poems!
  8. What happens to the exercises I send the teacher? They’re eliminated after being read and naturally nobody, except for the teacher, can read such material. If from an email exchange with a student, a major technical issue arises that can be of interest for the other students, these issues will be faced in collective emails without nominating the student’s exercise, except if previously authorized by the student himself. Privacy and copyright rights of all subscribers are always highly protected.
  9. Does the course take place entirely via email? Yes.
  10. Does the course release a certificate or a diploma? Yes but it’s simply a souvenir of the lessons. Don’t enroll for this reason. The reason for following this course is to explain how film business works.