By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

Sundance Institute Artist Services Program Expands Self-Distribution Opportunities

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2012

Participating Independent Filmmakers Can Now Make Their Films Available on:

Microsoft Xbox │ SnagFilms │ Sony Entertainment Network’s Video Unlimited service │ VUDU

Agreements Continue with:

iTunes │ Amazon Instant Video │ Hulu │ Netflix │ SundanceNOW │ YouTube

Los Angeles, CA — Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, today announced that the Institute’s Artist Services program has expanded to include four additional platforms and storefronts on which Institute-supported artists can make their work available to the public. New agreements with Microsoft Xbox, SnagFilms, Sony Entertainment Network’s Video Unlimited service and VUDU complement existing relationships with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Netflix, SundanceNOW and YouTube. Films will be available this summer on the platforms and storefronts announced today.

The Artist Services program provides Institute artists with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing solutions for their work. Since the program launched in January 2011, more than $1.8 million has been raised for Institute artists via Kickstarter and 13 films are now accessible by the public on a variety of platforms and storefronts (for a full list of titles and where they are available, visit www.sundance.org/nowplaying).

“Audiences are accessing independent films via a range of platforms and storefronts, which speaks to the need for filmmakers to make their work available in a variety of ways,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “Beyond that, the more options we’re able to offer our filmmakers, the better able they are to customize their self-distribution programs and work towards individual goals for their films.”

These deals were structured and negotiated by the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, which has generously provided pro bono legal services and built the legal framework for the Artist Services program and participating filmmakers since its inception.

Putnam noted, “The truly unique structure of agreements crafted by O’Melveny & Myers through the Artist Services initiative provides our filmmakers with the tools they need to explore self-distribution opportunities and work towards independent, sustainable careers.”

New Video® is the exclusive aggregation partner for distribution across all portals participating in the Artist Services program. The Artist Services initiative is made possible by The Bertha Foundation.

Sundance Institute Artist Services

Launched in January 2011, the Artist Services program provides Sundance Institute artists with opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing opportunities. Leading digital rights aggregator New Video handles licensing, encoding, delivery and accounting on behalf of filmmakers. The Sundance Institute Artist Services initiative is made possible by The Bertha Foundation. O’Melveny & Myers generously provided pro bono legal services for the program. www.sundance.org/artistservices

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas