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@Sundance 2010: Will new rules = new results?

@Sundance 2010: Will new rules = new results?

Here we are, for another Sundance Film Festival. This is my eighth consecutive Sundance, and my second time as part of the Cinetic family of companies. We got into Salt Lake City with little hassle, but I feel for the friends out there stranded in the airports of Las Vegas (it has slot machines!) and Phoenix (it has free wifi!). The snow is supposedly going to come strong today, and we’ll see how that impacts things. The mood so far is optimistic, given this is a transitional year for the festival: new leadership, new models of exhibition, and some interesting new paths for filmmakers with work here (both from this year, and last year). The biggest news in that last realm, would be a partnership with YouTube and some of the festival filmmakers, wherein certain titles at the festival will be available for digital rental during Sundance. The New York Times has some information about this new development:

YouTube is unveiling the rental service in conjunction with the start of the Sundance Film Festival. All five films offered for rent on YouTube are part of the festival this year or were shown at the event last year.

“YouTube had a very close relationship with the independent film community since we launched,” said Sara Pollack, entertainment market manager for YouTube. Ms. Pollack said that the number of people watching videos online has grown quickly and that YouTube wanted “to offer a way for filmmakers to connect with these audiences.”

Ms. Pollack said that only a tiny fraction of the films submitted at Sundance were able to find some form of commercial distribution, and that YouTube would provide a new outlet for independent filmmakers.

The rentals — “The Cove,” “Bass Ackwards,” “One Too Many Mornings,” “Homewrecker” and “Children of Invention” — will cost $3.99 and will be available only from Friday to the end of the film festival on Jan. 31. Renters will pay for the movies using Google’s Checkout online payment service.

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