Three new American independent feature films from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival will debut on YouTube even before audiences get a chance to see the movies at the festival in Park City, UT. Launching this Friday for VOD rental online in the United States - from this year's Sundance fest - are Michael Mohan's "One Too Many Mornings," Todd and Brad Barnes "Homewrecker," and Linas Philips' "Bass Ackwards." Meanwhile, from last year's Sundance, YouTube will also be renting Tze Chun's "Children of Invention" and Louie Psihoyo's "The Cove" online.
The news marks the latest in a series of moves to bring 2010 Sundance films to U.S. audiences concurrent with this year's film festival. Philips' "Bass Ackwards" is lining up a national release via New Video the day after Sundance ends, while IFC Films is bringing three festival films -- Michael Winterbottom & Mat Whitecross's "Shock Doctrine," Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie's "Daddy Longlegs" (formerly known as "Go Get Some Rosemary"), and Daniel Grau's "Les 7 Jours du Talion" (7 Days) -- to cable VOD timed to their debuts here at Sundance via Rainbow Media's new Sundance Selects on demand platform.
YouTube, which is sponsoring the Festival's new NEXT section for lower-budget indie films, reached out to filmmakers in the sidebar and signed non-exclusive revenue share deals with the filmmakers, making their movies available only during the festival for a $3.99 three-day rental price.
"These are early days and in the coming weeks we'll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option," YouTube said in a statement today, "Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing. And making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work -- they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration; they can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100% of their rights."
For a festival that has built a reputation as a marketplace for new American work for nearly two years, the moves to bring Sundance films to audiences via VOD during the event marks a noteworthy shift as filmmakers try to cash in on the Sundance name, hoping that it will drive immediate interest in their work.
"We look at this just as an extension of the festival," said "Homewrecker" co-director Brad Barnes, in a statement and Todd Barnes added, "This is where film is going. Who knows when it will finally take hold but we want to be there when it does. Especially if that's now."
Correction: Please note that the title of this article has been changed to note that the film are debuting on YouTube on Friday, not tomorrow.
On Monday at the Sundance Film Festival, Eugene Hernandez will be moderating, with Peter Broderick, an in-depth look at -- in radical panel format -- rotating groups of industry experts, filmmakers, and strategists exploring concrete visions and case studies. More information is on the Sundance website.
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