We here at FishbowlLA know plenty of filmmakers who have screened their movies at Sundance. None of them have been picked up for distribution. So we’re sure they were all pumped up yesterday when the Sundance Institute announced an initiative in its Artist Services program to help filmmakers distribute their films online, to sites like iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, SundanceNOW, and YouTube. Under the program, filmmakers would retain rights to their films and still share in the revenue generated from rentals or online ads.
Says Sundance founder and overall dashing guy Robert Redford in the release: “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. 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.”
Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology by Tiffany Shlainand and On the Ice, by director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, both 2011 Sundance flicks, will help float the trial balloon for the program.