If you can't make it to check out the premieres at the Sundance Film Festival every January, you now can watch streaming versions of Sundance movies, new and old, via six online outlets.
The Sundance Institute has partnered with distributor New Video to offer select Sundance films through six Web options: YouTube, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Amazon and SundanceNOW. It's uncertain what the price to watch these films will be.
The service is open to every film ever shown at the festival, or brought to a Sundance lab, or given a Sundance grant, as the New York Times reports. "Filmmakers don’t surrender their rights. They (17 so far, with thousands of potential participants) can opt to go with any or all of the half-dozen sites. They have, in essence, a guaranteed means of distribution," the article goes on to say.
This initiative hopes to give distribution deals to filmmakers who may not have been fortunate enough to ink deals with studios during the well-regarded festival. The films get an audience, even if the numbers can't count towards box office totals.
YouTube hinted it would be giving users access to Sundance's vast library. In 2010, the video-sharing site said it would offer the rental option of five independent movies featured at recent Sundance Film Festivals. Costing $4 each, the rental streaming library included the Oscar winner The Cove.
Robert Redford, the actor responsible for founding the Utah film festival in 1984, is ecstatic about the arrangement, telling the Times: "...it’s all kind of exciting for us, because there’s a whole category of orphan films that we think are really quite good, but they don’t necessarily get picked up by distributors, who may be a little more mainstream in their thinking."
In an earlier press release, New Video president Susan Margolin said, "The filmmaker spends five to six years making their film, gets into Sundance, the fairy dust settles, and there’s no distribution. That’s unacceptable. In today’s environment there’s extremely powerful platforms that can be used to distribute these works."
The exact films to be available aren't listed online, so interested film lovers will need to search on those six online outlets for specific films.
The next Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 19 to 28 in Park City, Utah.