How to screen and self-distribute a 3D film


Filmmakers set on self-distributing their films in cinemas face lots of obstacles, but these issues are magnified if they want to present a film in 3D. Director/producer Phil West talks with Pocket Films about his journey to screen his 3D feature film, Halloween Jack 3D.


Your journey to get your 3D film made obviously starts with your passion for 3D – how did that come about?
My passion for 3D started when I was very young when we had VHS rental shops; I think my first memory of really loving 3D was when we rented FREDDY’S DEAD: THE FINAL NIGHTMARE on VHS. The video came with four pairs of cardboard 3D glasses, which I still have to this day. Subliminally I think I also got my love of marketing/packaging from that film too. I loved the design of the Freddy 3D glasses. Regardless of the film being any good or not, the 3D ‘event’ made it so much fun.
I hope I can capture some of that feeling with my film Halloween Jack 3D.


On the production side, what 3D kit do you use to film?
I used a stereoscopic camera, a Sony TD10. It’s a great little camera producing great 3D in both depth and pop-out. I may shoot one more feature with it before moving up to a bigger camera, depending on how well the sales go with Halloween Jack 3D.


I read you wanted to tour your film in cinemas, but the costs involved for 3D were “eye-watering”, more than your film’s budget. Can you elaborate and what were the figures you were quoted?
The quotes I received to hire out an actual cinema screen were absolutely eye-watering. One cinema wanted nearly £2,000 for a two-hour time slot – and that was just for 2D, not 3D.
The biggest problem I faced was finding lower-rent cinemas that were able to screen in 3D. A couple of cinemas didn’t have the 3D capabilities any longer which made my quest harder… So I decided to look into doing it myself and be my own 3D cinema.


So, you decided to screen your film in Real 3D in other venues and bought all the equipment required. What was required and how much investment did you have to make?
I already run a local Community Cinema in my home town [Rochester, Kent] so I had a reasonable idea of what to expect. What I did have to do was buy a 3D projector and Real 3D glasses that were compatible with the projector.
The one thing that I had to find out the hard way, as no one had any concrete answers for me was if I bought 30 pairs of Active Shutter 3D glasses (the ones that have a battery inside), will the projector be able to cope with that many 3D glasses? Would some of the glasses lose signal with the 3D projector?
I bit the bullet and bought 30 pairs of 3D glasses from China, not knowing if they’d work. I tested them all out when we had our Cast & Crew 3D Cinema Screening. I’m happy (and relieved) to say it was a complete success.


You have now secured screenings for October 2022, to coincide with Halloween. How did that process work out?
The Pop-Up 3D Cinema Screenings start on the 16th of October. We’re screening the film in the locations where we filmed parts of the film. This should make it a bit more of an immersive experience, especially for Halloween.
Also, as this is a self-funded micro-budget film, this has all come out of necessity. I want people to see the film in Real 3D and not many people have 3DTVs anymore.
Screening in local village halls, cricket clubs and pubs, I don’t have the worry about the eye-watering costs of hiring out cinemas that cost thousands of pounds. This means I can keep ticket sales down to a reasonable £6 each, whereas if I were to hire out an actual cinema screen, I’d have to charge a lot more per ticket to hope to break even. I honestly don’t think I would even make my hire cost back.
With the Pop Up 3D screenings, we’re making it very rustic and homely. I will welcome everyone and give them their 3D glasses for the screening. There will be an area with some of the costumes and props on display. There are also some fun 3D bits and pieces to try, plus there will be 3D Blu-ray & DVDs for sale of the film.

Fingers crossed it will all go to plan without any major issues! You can keep up to date with our 3D movies and 3D cinema at:

For screening tickets:


Thank you, Phil, and good luck with the screenings.

Phil can be contacted directly by email or leave a comment below.

Blu-ray package


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