The inaugural Sundance class of Amazon Video Direct Film Festival Stars program has arrived.
Back in January at Sundance 2017, Amazon Video Direct announced the launch of its Film Festival Stars (FFS) program, offering a non-recoupable bonus to the festival's films of up to $100,000 for streaming rights plus royalties per viewing. At the time, we spoke with the head of Amazon Video Direct, Eric Orme, who explained the intention behind the new venture. "We recognized that a lot of films at Sundance don't get full-service distribution deals," Orme said. "We want to provide a new distribution pathway for those films. Expanding distribution options means more great films have the opportunity to reach wider audiences."
Over the course of 2017 to date, Amazon has secured streaming rights for 76 films as part of the FFS program. At the Toronto International Film Festival, Amazon doubled down and increased the bonus to $200,000 for films playing that festival, and the company is indicating that deals will be sweeter for Sundance 2018 as well. In a statement, Orme said, "We’ll be extending Film Festival Stars to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with an emphasis on global distribution and enhanced bonuses for filmmakers, and look forward to seeing the great films we’ll be able to bring exclusively to Prime members."
Now, you can finally watch 15 films from Sundance 2017, including several award winners, on Amazon Prime. Amazon has encouraged filmmakers to use the upfront bonuses to support their theatrical releases, and many of these films had limited theatrical runs, playing small engagements at independent art houses around the U.S. So if you missed them in the theatres, now your chance to catch them.
Here are a few trailers from the recently released Sundance 2017 films on Amazon Prime.
Manifesto, written and directed by Julian Rosefeldt, stars Cate Blanchett as 13 distinct characters enacting manifestos pulled from the writings and works of a wide variety of artists over time.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize winner Marjorie Prime, written and directed by Michael Almereyda, based on the play by Jordan Harrison, is a sci-fi thinkpiece exploring how we choose to remember (and forget) our lives.
Winner of the Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision, Free and Easy, written and directed by Geng Jun, is a tragicomedy that tells the tale of a traveling soap salesman who arrives in a small Chinese town when a crime occurs, pitting the residents against one another.
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling, directed by Catherine Bainbridge and co-directed by Alfonso Maiorana, reveals the untold story of how indigenous musicians in the U.S. have influenced rock music and popular culture in major ways.
World Dramatic Audience Award winner I Dream in Another Language (Sueño en otro idioma), directed by Ernesto Contreras, follows a linguist to a jungle settlement to record a conversation between two elderly men in the dying Zikril language, but these two men have refused to speak to each other in decades.
Motherland, directed by Ramona S. Diaz and winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award, follows three women as they give birth in the one of the world's largest and busiest maternity hospitals in the Philippines.
Here is the complete list of Sundance 2017 films now available on Amazon Prime as part of the Film Festival Stars program:
- 500 Years (available worldwide)
- Axolotl Overkill (available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Don't Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! (available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Family Life (available in the U.S.)
- Free and Easy (Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision, available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Machines (Sundance Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography, available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Manifesto (available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Marjorie Prime (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize, available in the U.S.)
- Motherland (World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award, available in the U.S. and Canada)
- Plastic China (available worldwide)
- Pop Aye (World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for screenwriting, available in the U.S. and Canada)
- RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World (World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling, available in the U.S.)
- Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language) (World Dramatic Audience Award, available in the U.S. and Canada)
- The Good Postman (available in the U.S. and Canada)
- World Without End (No Reported Incidents) (available in the U.S.)