Sundance Selects, the new theatrical and video-on-demand film label, today announced an unprecedented collaboration with the not-for-profit Sundance Institute for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival (January 21st - 31st, Park City, UT). As part of the "Direct from the Sundance Film Festival" initiative, three films being screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival will simultaneously be available nationwide, on-demand, through Sundance Selects. The films in the collaboration represent the broad range of cinematic expression found in this year's festival, from a highly anticipated documentary to a thrilling Park City at Midnight title, to a critically-acclaimed American independent film.
Sundance Selects creates a new national platform for independent film in the documentary and world cinema categories, and marks the first time a transactional on-demand platform has existed for feature documentary films.
The films featured through the Sundance Institute and Sundance Selects partnership will be available on video-on-demand the same day each premieres at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be available in approximately 40 million homes on most major cable systems including Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, Time Warner, plus the satellite provider Direct TV.
"Moving the storytelling of the Sundance Film Festival beyond ten days in Utah remains a top priority for us," said Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford. "This collaboration with Sundance Selects is a new and important complement to this ongoing goal and is a perfect way to introduce unexpected and refreshing voices to wider audiences simultaneous with the event," he added. "I couldn't be more pleased that these particular films will be available in this way."
Josh Sapan, President and CEO of Rainbow Media, which owns and operates Sundance Selects said, "We launched Sundance Selects with the goal of giving national exposure to the type of exceptional films and filmmakers for which the Sundance Film Festival is so well known. As Sundance Selects continues to gain momentum as one of the leading VOD platforms for documentaries and world cinema, we are excited by rich opportunities like this partnership that makes the platform more timely and more closely related to the festival experience. We're thrilled to work with this talented group of filmmakers and our friends and colleagues at the Sundance Institute on this initiative to help these high-quality films reach the largest possible audience."
John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival said, "This is an exciting time to experiment with these kinds of ventures. The independent film community has been abuzz of dialogue and speculation in recent years about what is possible. This is true innovation combined with action. New mythologies for how Sundance Film Festival can help the films we so carefully select need to become realities. If it serves our filmmakers, it is right for the festival."
Films selected for "Direct from the Sundance Film Festival" are:
Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross' eye-opening socio-political documentary The Shock Doctrine, which will make its North American premiere simultaneously at the Sundance Film Festival and on-demand through Sundance Selects on Thursday, January 28. Closely based on the best-selling book by Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine seeks to explain the rise of disaster capitalism: the exploitation of moments of crisis in vulnerable countries by governments and big business. The film traces the doctrine's beginnings in the radical theories of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago, and its subsequent implementation over the past 40 years in countries as disparate as Augusto Pinochet's Chile, Boris Yeltsin's Russia, Margaret Thatcher's Great Britain, and most recently through the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Winterbottom and Whitecross present a cinematic experience that takes this theory to a new audience, making heavy use of archival images, offset with new footage of Klein's interviews and lectures. The Sundance premiere screening will be followed by an onstage dialogue with Robert Redford, Naomi Klein, and Michael Winterbottom to explore further the ideas presented in the film.
Making its North American premiere on Friday, January 22nd is Daddy Longlegs (formerly known as Go Get Some Rosemary), Josh and Benny Safdie's autobiographical fairy tale and bittersweet comedy about the responsibilities of parenthood. Divorced and alone, Lenny (Ronald Bronstein) is the father of two young boys who he gets to see a couple of weeks a year. He cherishes these days with the kids, being both stern parent and lovable buddy, inventing myths and somehow living them, all while working overtime in the big city. When the going gets tough, Lenny uses some unusual, perhaps even hazardous, techniques to keep the kids safe from the world. With a fluid style, the Safdie brothers (whose previous credits include the acclaimed The Pleasure of Being Robbed) capture the magic of parenthood, invoking memories of their inventive dad from their own childhood.
Making its World premiere on Friday, January 22nd, as part of the Park City at Midnight program, Daniel Grou's dark and gritty 7 Days (based on the best-selling novel) centers on a successful surgeon whose world is torn apart by the murder of his eight-year-old daughter. The father embarks on a quest for revenge against the perpetrator of this heinous crime, and in a game of cat and mouse with the police detectives assigned to the case, he successfully kidnaps the accused murderer as he is transported to the courthouse. With the roles now reversed, this father-turned-predator drives his prey to a remote cabin, where seven days of unspeakable torture await. He even keeps the police apprised of his plan, vowing to turn himself in after the execution of this alleged monster. Director Daniel Grou aka Podz does a masterful job of immersing the audience in this dark and gritty world, deftly capturing the psyche of a sane man gone mad. 7 Days is an eye-for-an-eye tale that is chock-full of tension, suspense, and inner conflict.
"Direct from the Sundance Film Festival" will be available for 30 days on each cable system's main movies-on-demand channel in a special "Sundance Film Festival" branded section. To promote the partnership, Sundance Selects has created promotional spots that will run on some of the participating cable systems as well as on the Sundance Channel throughout the month of January.
Arianna Bocco negotiated the acquisition deals on behalf of Sundance Selects for The Shock Doctrine and 7 Days with Charlotte Mickie from E1 Entertainment International (Sundance Selects acquired U.S. rights for both titles). Bocco negotiated the deal for Daddy Longlegs with producer Tom Scott and sales rep Victoria Cook from Cinetic Media (North American rights).
Charlotte Mickie of E1 Entertainment International said, "The 'Direct from the Sundance Film Festival' initiative is tremendous - it's a huge step forward in 'event cinema,' bringing the excitement of the festival right into communities all over America. We're very proud to be part of this initiative with our movies The Shock Doctrine and 7 Days."
Tom Scott, Founder/Partner NaSA Entertainment, "Benny and Josh are brilliant story tellers, and we are excited to work with Rainbow Media and the Sundance Institute in a new and innovative way to bring Daddy Longlegs to U.S. audiences - in both Park City, UT and nationwide."
Offering films on the VOD platform is one of the new initiatives of the Sundance Film Festival, giving audiences across the country the opportunity to experience the 2010 festival. The festival recently announced the inaugural Sundance Film Festival USA, a nationwide expansion of the 2010 festival bringing filmmakers and their films direct from Sundance to eight different cities on the night of Thursday, January 28, 2010. Select films from the 2010 lineup (including Daddy Longlegs and The Shock Doctrine) will play at arthouse theaters in participating cities followed by a conversation with the filmmakers. For more information about Sundance Film Festival and a complete lineup of films visit: Festival.Sundance.org.
Daddy Longlegs, The Shock Doctrine and 7 Days are the latest acquisitions for Sundance Selects, the new theatrical and transactional video-on-demand film label for documentaries and world cinema which launched last summer with the release of Spike Lee's acclaimed film, Passing Strange. Sundance Selects releases are available on the on-demand platform of major cable operators, with select titles also receiving theatrical distribution.
Upcoming Sundance Selects releases include the following acclaimed films: Don Argott's thrilling documentary whodunit The Art of the Steal, which chronicles the long, politically charged struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation, the greatest collection ever assembled of Post-Impressionist and early Modern art (February 24th);
Chris Wiatt's documentary A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (January 2010); and Dominic Murphy's White Lightnin' which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (January 27th).
Recently releasesd Sundance Selects titles include: Academy Award-winner Adam Elliot's animated film Mary and Max, which opened the 2009 Sundance Film Festival; Kief Davidson's acclaimed documentary Kassim the Dream, which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival; and Tom Thurman's documentary Nick Nolte: No Exit.