Even if you can't make it to Utah this year for the Sundance Film Festival, don't worry: Sundance can come to you.
In a press release, the Sundance Institute announced that it would be expanding its Artist Services program, so that filmmakers in the Institute can easily get their movies online for sale or rental through iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, SundanceNOW, and YouTube. Artists will maintain ownership of their films, though Sundance, and distributor New Video will take a small percentage of revenue.
“When I founded the Institute in 1981, it was at a time when a few studios ran the industry and an artist’s biggest concern was whether their film would get made,” Robert Redford, founder and president of the Institute said in the release. “Technology has lessened that burden, but the big challenge today is how audiences can see these films. The Artist Services program is a direct response to that need. We’re not in the distribution business; we’re in the business of helping independent voices be heard.”
In January, Sundance announced a collaboration with Kickstarter, the online fundraising platform, to help filmmakers raise money for their movies. The Institute reports that it has raised over $650,000 since then. The Institute also has a relationship with Facebook, which helps alumni learn how to promote their films, and build audiences through the site. Sundance also announced that it will offer artists direct marketing tools as well as fulfillment software through Topspin Media.
"It answers some of the challenges the independent community faces most, it endures to provide great content and education around these issues, and it’s also a work in progress. So it can continue to grow and evolve," actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt blogged about the announcement.
The program will launch with two movies from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The first, "On the Ice," directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean gives the story of a seal hunt in Alaska turned unexpectedly violent, and the second, "Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology," directed by Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain offers a personal look at our relationship with technology.