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Prescreen Offers Trailers for Sundance Film Festival Movies

Shawn Bercuson P 2011

The online movie rental and marketing start-up, launched by former Groupon executive Shawn Bercuson, says it is offering the most comprehensive selection of Sundance trailers online.

NEW YORK - Prescreen, an online movie rental and marketing platform that kicked off last year, has launched a section on its site that showcases all the available trailers for films selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Prescreen, founded by former Groupon executive Shawn Bercuson, is unaffiliated with the Sundance Institute and Festival, but says it is offering the most comprehensive selection of Sundance trailers on the Web.

Prescreen CEO Bercuson also told THR that Prescreen will highlight previous Sundance entries and winners in its daily film selections over the next two to three weeks. The trailer section will be available longer.

Without a central online place for trailers for festival films, Bercuson said Prescreen has worked with filmmakers and distributors to accumulate trailers for over half of this year's Sundance films. He expects to be able to showcase up to 70 percent of films by the time the festival kicks off.

The Sundance festival takes place Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah.

Prescreen, which had a presence at AFM in November and will be at Sundance, gives filmmakers and distributors an alternative to traditional advertising and distribution channels by offering curated content shared by users through social media. Subscribers to a daily email highlighting that day's featured movie can rent movies and stream them on demand. They also earn rewards and discounts for sharing movie information on their social networks. Users can rent a film for $4 on day one and $8 for the rest of a 60-day period.

“Sundance is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and happens to be the inspiration behind Prescreen,” said Bercuson. “Sundance has successfully brought indie films to the main stage by discovering and developing independent artists and audiences. Prescreen hopes to help continue this mission by helping content owners connect to an online audience they otherwise may not have the ability to reach via social media and online distribution.”

Prescreen’s Sundance Festival page features trailers from such films as Rodrigo Cortes' thriller Red Lights, starring Sigourney Weaver and Robert De Niro, and The Words starring Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid and Olivia Wilde.

"We want to make it easy for people to see trailers and experience them even if they don't go to Sundance," Bercuson told THR.

The showcasing of trailers helps market Sundance and the movies. "Anything they can do to get attention is great for them," Bercuson said. "And for us, it allows the filmmaker to find out about Prescreen. If their film is not picked up for distribution, we're a reliable and viable source."

Trailer views are popular with Prescreen users. Their number last month was up 50 percent over November.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai