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Sundance Channel Showcasing Premieres, Docs, Shorts And Classics In New Weekly Programming Blocks

Sundance Channel Showcasing Premieres, Docs, Shorts And Classics In New Weekly Programming Blocks

Sundance Channel Showcasing Premieres, Docs, Shorts
And Classics In New Weekly Programming Blocks

by Eugene Hernandez

Calling it their biggest announcement of the year, Sundance Channel has
unveiled a plan to begin offering four weekly programming blocks that
showcase premieres, shorts, documentaries, and favorites. Commenting on
the new arrangement in a conversation with indieWIRE, Sundance Channel
Programming and Creative Marketing Sr. VP Liz Manne explained, “We are
trying create a balance between appointment television and spontaneous
viewing, (we) want to give people a destination and a place.” Manne
explained that the Channel will incorporate filmmaker introductions and
interviews before and after film screenings in an attempt to replicate
the film festival experience. “The Channel should inhabit the skin of
specialized film,” Manne offered, “We shouldn’t just be a vessel through
which it is shown — we should embody the spirit of it.”

The new programming initiative evolved from conversations that Manne and
Executive VP Programming and Creative Director Tom Harbeck conducted
with various members of the indie film community, a group that she
dubbed, “the kitchen cabinet.” Among the common recommendations were,
as Manne explained, “more docs (and) more new films.”

On Friday nights, beginning November 6th with the premiere of Allison
Burnett’s “Red Meat,” the Channel will offer “Sundance Channel
Premieres” — new indie films that are airing on TV for the first time,
a mix of recent releases and movies that did not get a theatrical
release. Manne vowed that Sundance will debut at least six world
premieres each year and added that the shift in programming will
increase the number of films that Sundance Channel acquires overall,
especially in the documentary category. “We’re definitely shopping,” she
exclaimed when asked about the effort. On Sundays, the Channel will
offer “Shorts Stop: An Hour of Short Films,” while Mondays bring “Matter
of Fact: The Best of Non-Fiction,” and on Saturdays, the Channel will
present “Saturday Night Special: Movies We Love.”

While Manne explained that she wants the Channel to be a place where
viewers can discover new work, she clarified, “we do also want to
celebrate some of the landmark and watershed films from our cinematic
history.” She confirmed that for the Saturday night block, the Channel
may buy a few more “treasure” titles. In the past, Sundance Channel
leadership have publicly criticized their competitor, the Independent
Film Channel, as “a library service,” this new initiative would
presumably end such comments. In a conversation with indieWIRE
yesterday, Manne avoided any negative comments about the IFC.

In fact, contradicting sentiments expressed in conversations with
Sundance Channel executives prior to her and with Harbeck’s arrival this
year, Manne avoided direct comparisons with the Independent Film Channel
explaining, “There’s plenty of room — viewers are going to make a
choice on what they want to see at any given moment.” Similarly, in a
conversation with indieWIRE recently, an IFC exec praised the experience
among the new Sundance Channel leadership, and noted the respect that
Manne maintains within the community since her days at Fine Line

With their addition to the Time Warner Cable system on Sundays in
Manhattan, Sundance Channel is now available one day a week, and
subscribers who also opt for the new Metro Choice tier of channels can
get 24-hour, seven day a week carriage of the IFC. Sundance Channel is
available throughout the country as a premium channel, the IFC is
carried as a basic channel on cable systems nationwide, and both are
offered on varying satellite systems. Both offer un-cut, commercial free
feature films, shorts and other programming.


+ (Sep 30, 1998) DGA Winners Announced; Sundance Channel Picks Up A
Flick;Gordon Parks Winners Announced

+ (Apr 28, 1998) Sundance Channel Coming to New York City on Sundays

+ (Mar 03, 1998) Sundance Channel Set in LA; Availability in Other Cities
Also Announced

+ (Jan 15, 1998) Sundance Channel Shake Up Results in New Troika

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