Sundance 2013: Writer-Director Shane Carruth to Self-Distribute 'Upstream Color'

Upstream Color

U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shane Carruth)

A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the life cycle of an ageless organism. Identity becomes an illusion as they struggle to assemble the loose fragments of wrecked lives. Cast: Amy Seimetz, Shane Carruth, Andrew Sensenig, Thiago Martins.

The indie film makes its debut at the fest as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition category and will have its European premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in mid-February.

Writer-director Shane Carruth has opted to self-distribute his film Upstream Color through his company erbp. 

The indie film will make its debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21 as part of the U.S. Dramatic Competition category and will have its European premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in mid-February.

Upstream Color, which is the second feature from Carruth, will open April 5 in New York at the IFC Center before expanding in a platform release schedule in more than 20 markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Dallas and Chicago.

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Digital distribution will follow in May via cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Xbox, Sony Entertainment Network, VUDU and Netflix as well as a simultaneous DVD/Blu-ray release.

Carruth's distribution team includes theatrical booker Michael Tuckman, publicists Susan Norget at Susan Norget Film Promotion and Alex Klenert at Prodigy PR, online strategist Roger Tinch, producer Casey Gooden and the Sundance Institute's #ArtistServices Project. The move reflects the appeal of DIY distribution options increasingly available to filmmakers.

"As a filmmaker, you try to make a compelling case for an audience to stick around minute by minute with what is on the screen,” Carruth said. “By also crafting the marketing, we’re still doing that, still storytelling, but we’re trying to make a case for an audience to show up. Hopefully for viewers, framing the film this way and staying true to the film’s intent makes it a bit more of an intimate relationship."

Carruth won the 2004 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for his first film Primer. The cult hit  recently was rereleased on the top digital retailers along with direct downloads from the film’s website. 

Upstream Color recently screened for an industry-only audience of theater owners and programmers who attend the annual Art House Convergence in Utah, an event that takes place days before the Sundance Film Festival begins.

Amy Seimetz stars in the film, which was produced by Gooden, Ben LeClair and Meredith Burke.