Under a deal just announced on Thursday, January 11th, approximately half of the short films being screened at this month’s Sundance Film Festival will be available for purchase at Apple’s iTunes store.
Sundance’s Web site already has its own free streaming videos, which will offer the shorts for only a three-month period beginning January 18, which is the start date of the festival in Park City, Utah. This will supplemented by the iTunes digital downloads which will be available for three years and once purchased will play for at least the life of the owner’s computer.
The Sundance Institute’s director of programming, John Cooper, said that the “Streaming on our site is not the same as owning, and there seems to be a world out there for both.
The actual filmmakers will receive most of the profits from the $1.99 download price. iTunes company, Apple, the Sundance Institute and cable television’s Sundance Channel will share the remainder of the profits. Filmmakers also will be free to make deals with other distributors, including the Sundance Channel.
As of Thursday, January 11th, at least 33 of the 71 narrative, documentary and animation shorts were set to be distributed through the Sundance site and iTunes, Sundance Institute’s Cooper said. He also said that a few more will be shown on the Sundance Web site only.
Just like their music, television shows and movies bought through iTunes, the Sundance shorts videos will play on Macintosh and Windows computers with Apple Incorporated’s free iTunes software as well as Apple’s video iPods. Sales are supposed to begin January 22 of 2007.
Cooper said that Sundance films tend to attract a niche audience but expects demand to be large, given the millions who have come online to watch Sundance short films in past years.
No current plans have been discussed to make full-length festival movies available online.
John Cooper finished by explaining that “What Sundance is really known for is as a platform for people to sell their films, and that’s mainly the feature film. We didn’t want to really interfere with that yet.”
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival in the United States and ranks among one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the U.S. and is held annually in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah as well as at the Sundance Resort. The festival is comprised of competitive sections for American and independent dramatic & documentary films and a group of non-competitive showcase sections.
iTunes is a digital media player program, introduced by Apple Computer Inc. in 2001, for playing and organizing digital music and video files. The program is also an interface to manage the contents on Apple’s popular iPod digital media players. iTunes can connect to the iTunes Store to download purchased digital music, music videos, television shows, iPod games and feature length films. iTunes has gained a reputation for being easy to use while still providing many features for obtaining, organizing, and playing media. It is available as a free download from Apple’s website, is bundled with all Mac computers and some iPods and also packaged with the Mac OS, X.