By Paula Bernstein | Indiewire January 16, 2014 at 10:39AM
Since its launch in 2011, Fandor has pegged itself as a cross between Netflix and Sundance. So it makes sense that the indie film streaming site, which recently hired indie film guru Ted Hope as its new CEO, is at this year's Sundance Film Festival looking to acquire (although Hope won't be attending due to prior commitments).
The company plans to debut "Rat Pack Rat," a short film by Todd Rohal screening at this year's Sundance, on Fandor today at noon, ahead of its Sundance screening on Friday. While other sites, including YouTube, will make Sundance shorts, including "Rat Pack Rat" available, Fandor's chief content officer Jonathan Marlow said their version will be the highest quality. "We had Todd do a higher bit rate version for us," Marlow told Indiewire. "Although it will be available elsewhere, it will look best on Fandor."
When "Rat Pack Rat," about a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator who is hired to visit a loyal Rat Pack fan, was raising funds on Kickstarter, Marlow backed the campaign. "Now I have a screen credit that says something like 'retirement plan consultant,'" said Marlow, who first met Rohal in Park City in 2006 when his film "The Guatemalan Handshake" premiered at Slamdance (it is now is available on Fandor).
With so many new digital platforms looking for content, there seems to suddenly be a market for short films. "We embraced short films from the very beginning of the service," said Marlow. "The difficulty was always the public perception that shorts should be free. It’s always been a challenge for filmmakers to monetize short form. I'm a firm believer that people should be paid for their work."
Marlow said Fandor will be looking to acquire at Sundance, but doesn't have any specific genre or running time requirements. "We are always looking for anything that is good."