EXCLUSIVE: Amazon has a premiere of Jill Soloway’s new series I Love Dick at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, will undoubtedly be looking for a repeat of its successful acquisition last year of the acclaimed Manchester By The Sea, and has already snagged the Martin Scorsese executive produced Grateful Dead documentary. However, throwing a potential wild card into the festival circuit, the House of Bezos is also putting a special new offer out there for filmmakers in the Robert Redford founded fest’s competition categories and slates via its self-publishing Amazon Video Direct service.
The less than a year old user-generated content platform will now offer a non-recoupable publishing bonus and an enhanced royalty rate to qualified pics participating in this year’s SFF. Under this self-titled Film Festival Stars program, U.S. Dramatic or Premieres will get a $100,000 bonus with U.S. Documentaries and Documentary Premieres receiving $75,000. The deal entails the filmmakers handing over their rights to worldwide streaming V.O.D. or U.S. plus all other available territories.
In that vein, World Dramatic, World Documentaries, Next, Spotlight, Kids, Midnight and New Frontier films shown in this year’s festival will get a publishing bonus of $25,000 if they sign up for the AVD program.
Adding to the distribution offering, SFF’17 films will see a royalty rate of double what AVD standard has been. Which means, to the penny, that pics will get $0.30/hour viewed domestically and $0.12/hour for non-Stateside viewing.
“Prime Video customers have shown an affinity for independent film and we want to increase our depth of selection in this category,” AVD boss Eric Orme told Deadline before the official start of SFF’ 17 on January 19. “We recognized that the majority of films screened at major film festivals don’t secure full service distribution deals and Amazon Video believes these high-quality films deserve an opportunity to be made available to a large audience,” he added of the platform for pics that end up not getting a theatrical agreement. “The Sundance Film Festival provides an excellent opportunity to reach filmmakers who are interested in the self-publishing route to getting their films in front of a large and engaged audience – millions of Amazon Prime members.”
“One benefit of an opt-in program is we don’t need to select individual films for acquisition — the filmmakers can choose us,” Orme asserts of the new offer – though it is unlikely that Amazon won’t have its checkbook out for a number of films like the four-hour Dead docu Long Strange Trip this year as it has in the recent past.
Putting submitted content up with Amazon Prime shows like Soloway’s Transparent, Amazon Video Direct initially debuted on May 10 last year in the U.S., UK, Germany, Austria and Japan.