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WordPress Themes for Indie Filmmakers

This selection of low to zero cost WordPress themes is for anyone looking to make a professional film website on a tight budget.

This is the second post in my ThemesFor series, in which I handpick the best free and premium WordPress themes for use in niche-specific contexts. This time I take a look at WordPress themes for Indie filmmakers. How do some of the world’s up and coming filmmakers display their work online and which WordPress themes can be used to promote small budget movies?

Exploring the niche

In order to get a sense of current practice in web design for indie filmmakers, I surveyed the websites of a range of entries in this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and other sources for newly released movies.

Below are four films that are emblematic of design styles and feature sets for film websites. I have included some basic information on the directors, cast, film plot and website layout and components.

Case 1: Observance

observanceGenre: Suspense, thriller.
Website: www.observancemovie.com.
Director: Joseph Sims-Dennett.
Cast: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King and Brendan Cowell.
Synopsis: Parker has just suffered the loss of his young son, his marriage is on the rocks and he is close to bankruptcy. He goes back to work as a private investigator and take up an assignment to observe a woman from an abandoned apartment complex. He begins to witness bizarre happenings around her and falls prey to a dark presence in the building.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at center and top navigation bar
Full screen video trailer (YouTube) below the fold
Links to venues screening the movie
Awards, accolades and review quotes
Movie credits

Case 2: Basic Human Needs

basic human needsGenre: Romantic comedy.
Website: www.basichumanneedsmovie.com.
Director: Matthew Yim.
Cast: Laura Abramsen, Matthew Yim and Natalie Lazarou.
Synopsis: Miles and Audrey are two young adults living in small town Canada. Their dream is to move to the big city, but they do nothing proactive to get there. Instead, they are stuck in their mundane everyday lives, fantasising of an ideal grown up life. But that all changes with news of a missing condom, a pregnancy test, and some invaluable life lessons.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at center and top navigation bar
Full screen video trailer (Vimeo) below the fold
Movie synopsis (text and photo)
Creative team profiles (text and photos)
Links to venues screening the movie
Sponsor logos
Contact box
Social media links

Case 3: The Space in Between

the space in betweenGenre: Documentary.
Website: www.thespaceinbetweenfilm.com.
Director: Marco Del Fiol.
Cast: Marina Abramovic.
Synopsis: The Space in Between is a documentary that doubles up as part road movie and part spiritual thriller. It follows world renowned avant garde performance artist, Marina Abramovic, on her journey through Brazil. It is both an ode to the artist’s work and an attempt at pushing the boundaries of documentary filmmaking.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title below the fold at center
Full screen video trailer (YouTube) below the fold
Movie synopsis (text)
Movie credits and sponsor logos
Social media links

Case 4: Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story of Death By Audio

Goodnight BrooklynGenre: Documentary.
Website: http://www.goodnightbrooklyn.com.
Director: Matthew Conboy.
Cast: Oliver Ackermann, Edan Wilber, Matthew Conboy and Stephanie Gross.
Synopsis: Goodnight Brooklyn is a documentary that focuses on the last underground venue for music and art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a neighborhood once defined by its cultural contributions to the city of New York.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at top and navigation bar + social media links below title.
Video trailer (Vimeo) above the fold at center
Movie synopsis below trailer

Summing up the features

The features shared across all the movie websites I looked at in researching this post, include a single page layout, a full screen background image made of stills from the movie, and YouTube or Vimeo video trailers.

The sites differed on the level of information they gave visitors. Some sites pushed their info to the limits with synopses, credits, screening schedules, actor, director and creative team bios and media downloads. Other sites kept the info to a minimum and made the trailer their main point of focus.

I tried to take these similarities and differences into account while selecting WordPress themes suitable for indie filmmakers. All the themes listed below are capable of replicating the function and atmosphere of the 4 case studies mentioned above.

One of the most disappointing discoveries in compiling this post was the distinct lack of free WordPress themes for indie filmmakers. I could only find 5!! If you happen to know of others, please leave a link in the comment section below.

I hope this list is helpful to anyone involved in filmmaking. If you decide to use one of the themes for your project, please, please post a link to your film site in the comments. It would be great to see what you are up to.

Free WordPress Themes

Let’s start with a selection of free WordPress themes that emulate some of the style layout types highlighted in the case studies above. All of these themes can be used to set up websites for indie filmmakers with minimal effort and zero cost.

1. Singl

Singl
Author: Automattic
Notes: Although this is pitched as a theme for musicians, its simple single page layout with a strong background image could easily be used as a movie promotion theme. Instead of embedding a soundcloud track, you could embed a vimeo or YouTube video trailer. And instead of tour dates, you could add realease and screening dates.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

2. Athena Lite

Athena Lite WordPress Theme
Author: SmartCat
Price: Free
Type: This is a single page parallax theme with a useful full screen image slider and clear title and menu layout. Scrolling down the theme’s front page, you will find sections that you can edit and customize to add film credits, or recent news etc.
Demo and Download »

3. Focus

Focus Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Greg Priday
Type: This theme has a neat grid layout with a clear menu at the top. It also has a full screen slider with video capability. The video slider could be used to show a film trailer or some promotional content and the grid section would house news or blog content.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

4. Coni

Coni WordPress Theme
Author: Quema Labs
Type: Although Coni is billed as a “business theme” its light and bright layout with full screen image background and editable home page sections makes it a good contender for a movie website. This is the “lite” version of a feature-rich premium theme.
Price: Free (see premium version below at #11)
Demo and Download »

5. Showbox

Showbox Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Dessign
Type: This theme was designed with photographers in mind, but with a few tweaks it could easily be adapted into a film promotion theme. The front page opens with a bold full screen image slider and a clear and prominent site title and navigation bar. It has that strong impact factor that would work well for an indie movie site.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

Premium WordPress Themes

The themes in this section are all paid. They tend to be more feature rich than the free themes and come with support. Most of them are very close to the design layouts highlighted in the showcase section above.

6. Vignette

SKT Photo Session
Author: CSS Igniter
Type: Fullscreen video background theme with a single page portfolio style layout.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

7. Vidiho

Phogra
Author: CSS Igniter
Type: This is a video blog style theme with a large video showcased at the top of the homepage. It could easily be adapted to fit an indie movie launch page.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

8. Film Maker

Film Maker Premium WordPress Filmmaker Theme
Author: Beautheme
Price: $49
Notes: A striking single page theme which opens with a fullscreen image and title and then leads the visitor into different info sections about the movie.
Demo and Download »

9. The Producer

Snapshot
Author: theMOLITOR
Type: This is a simple theme that opens with a full screen image, navigation menu and central text message. Users can add more items to the homepage since it has parallax scrolling capability. The theme was designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind. An excellent option for WordPress newcomers.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

10. Vysual

Vysual WordPress Theme
Author: theMOLITOR
Type: The homepage displays the film title and a large centered video play button superimposed over a video background. The footer contains movie credits and the navigation menu is a mobile drop-down style.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

Premium WordPress Themes

The second part of my list contains paid or premium WordPress photography themes. All of these themes offer at least 1 year of professional support and all come with multiple layout and customisation options.

11. Footage

Footage WordPress Movie Theme Press
Author: ThemeProvince
Price: $49
Notes: this theme allows your visitors to sample different media connected to your movie. So you could start with the movie trailer and then include cast photos, behind the scenes interviews etc. The left sidebar navigation is very clear and opens up options to link to other pages (blog, contact, about etc.) and social media accounts.
Demo and Download »

12. Entourage

Entourage WordPress Movie Theme
Author: WebRedox
Price: $49
Notes: This is a simple but effective fullscreen theme with a top layer navigation bar. You can run Vimeo, YouTube or self-hosted video on the main page, or set up image sliders instead. The theme comes with blog, portfolio, gallery and Woocommerce shop templates, making this an extensive and capable theme for film promotion.
Demo and Download »

13. NRG Producer

NRG Producer WordPress Indie Film Theme
Author: NRGThemes
Type: The home page screen displays a video at the center with a row of thumbnails for extra media at the bottom. The footer contains space for film credits. The navigation menu is simple and the theme is mobile oriented.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

14. Movie Me

Movie Me Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: WebRedox
Type: The homepage of Movie Me functions as a single page portfolio. It starts with a fullscreen image of the movie with centralized video play buttons for the trailor. The navigation bar is clear and prominent at the top. As you scroll down, you find a range of content sections including a space for cast photos and bios, a video gallery, blog/news posts and a contact section.
Price: $44
Demo and Download »

15. Soho

Soho Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: GT3 Themes
Type: This theme comes with multiple homepage options. The default landing page consists of a full screen image with an animated logo transition at the center. Users click through the landing page to the main theme layout with a clear navigation bar at the top and social buttons at the bottom. The center of the screen can house a photo slideshow or a YouTube, Vimeo or HTML5 video. This theme also includes Woocommerce shop integration – hence the slightly higher sales price.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

16. Vid

Vid Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Dessign Themes
Type: This is a very simple theme with a bold black and white navigation bar at the top over a background video and call to action button at the center of the homepage.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

17. Videographer

Water Lily
Author: Dessign Themes
Type: This theme is more of a blogging theme with a focus on video content, however it could be adapted to showcase a movie trailer followed by new or blog posts. Simple and effective design.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

18. Reverzo

Reverzo Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Tym Berry
Type: This is an interesting and innovative theme. The split screen transition effect that moves you from section to section creates a nice layer of user interaction that would work well for an indie movie site.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

19. Tides

Tides WordPress Photography Theme
Author: Thommus Rhodus
Type: Although not a dedicated indie movie WordPress theme, Tides can be easily adapted to support your film project. It is a single page portfolio theme that starts with a bold video background and call to action button. The top layer navigation bar is clear and usable and as you scroll down the page, there are sections for a portfolio, blog posts and a contact form. These can be replaced with text and images or whatever you want.
Price: $44
Demo and Download »

20. Zeus

Zeus Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: QuemaLabs
Type: Zeus theme was developed as a photography theme, but its single screen homepage can play video and its overall minimal design makes it a solid option for an indie film promotion theme.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

Next list? You Decide!

Do you have a suggestion for the next #THEMESFOR list? Is there are a particular niche, profession or activity you would like me to cover? If so, please either send me an email, a tweet (#themesfor), a message on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks.

Written by Will Ellington

Originally from the UK, I currently live in Osaka, Japan, where I work in higher education. I’ve been a WordPress user since 2004 and have developed numerous projects with it over the years. Wpliving is a place to share things i've learnt along the way, and to explore innovations in WordPress too.

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    • Thanks for stopping by Seth. I like the look of Event Espresso. I will check it out in more detail.

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