Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At Sundance, new routes to finding an audience

By Brooks Barnes in the New York Times:
Standard operating procedure over the years at Sundance, the cinematic bazaar now under way in this resort town, has been simple: show your film and hope it plays well enough to attract a theatrical distributor or, if the movie is particularly small and arty, a video-on-demand deal.

If no deal happens — and this is where more than 75 percent of Sundance offerings landed last year — you go home and try Internet downloads, DVD and foreign television sales.

But even that risky blueprint is being redrafted. With more art-house theaters closing and most of the big studios no longer interested in distributing specialty films, a theatrical release is becoming increasingly hard to secure. So some filmmakers are trying to turn that system on its head, using Sundance not just as a sales tool but also as a platform for immediate digital delivery.
As the article points out, YouTube has just launched a Sundance channel, although the rentals option ($3.99 per movie) appears only to be available in America.

Might British film festivals seek a similar partnership?

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