And this time it looks like they really mean it:
by Jason Guerrasio
With the Sundance Film Festival just finished, filmmakers whose films didn’t get sold during the festival are now trying to come up with a strategy to stay relevant in the eyes of buyers.
In the hopes of attracting some of the movies that aren’t having distributors knocking down their doors, Amazon announced before the festival began that any feature film that played at this year’s Sundance can join its Amazon Video Direct platform, a service that Amazon touts as being a “self-service publishing interface, without the need for complex negotiations or contracts.”
But numerous filmmakers and producers at Sundance who talked to Business Insider expressed uncertainty about how beneficial the service would be not just to titles at the fest, but for independent films that are desperately looking for some kind of release.
Amazon launched the self-distribution platform Amazon Video Direct (AVD) last May with the intention, as AVD head Eric Orme told Business Insider, to give filmmakers “another avenue if they don’t feel they will secure distribution.”
It’s free of charge to upload any film to the platform. The only requirement is that it must meet the Amazon Video guidelines and contain captions or subtitles. You then select the options on how the movie will be viewed — rent, buy, available for free on the site with ads, or available on Amazon Prime. Then the movie is on the service for potentially millions to see.
A filmmaker can track how it’s performing by using their AVD dashboard to see how many people are viewing the content and where in the world it’s being viewed.
But because of the prestige that comes with being selected to show at Sundance, Amazon is dishing out upfront cash to entice filmmakers there.
In a program touted as “Film Festival Stars,” AVD (not to be mistaken with Amazon Studios, which acquires films for theatrical/streaming and produces projects in house) will provide Sundance 2017 titles that join by February 28 a publishing bonus as well as enhanced royalty rates.
The non-recoupable, onetime bonus is $100,000 for titles that were in this year’s US dramatic or premieres categories at the fest. It’s $75,000 for US documentaries and documentary premieres. And $25,000 for titles that were in the world dramatic, world documentaries, NEXT, Spotlight, Kids, Midnight, or New Frontier sections….