Sundance fest lines up VOD for films

Institute joins with Rainbow to offer several films on demand

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As more indie filmmakers forgo traditional theatrical distribution in favor of VOD, the Sundance Institute is joining forces with Rainbow Media to present several films debuting at this month's Sundance festival as simultaneous cable on-demand offerings through the new Sundance Selects label.

Sundance Selects, a sister to Rainbow's IFC that is both a theatrical and VOD label, was introduced in the summer with the launch of Spike Lee's "Passing Strange."

Three films premiering at the Sundance fest, which kicks off Jan. 21 in Park City, have been chosen for the new Direct From the Sundance Film Festival initiative and will be available on VOD the same day each bows at the fest.

"Moving the storytelling of the Sundance Film Festival beyond 10 days in Utah remains a top priority for us," Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford said. "This collaboration with Sundance Selects is a new and important complement to this ongoing goal and a perfect way to introduce unexpected and refreshing voices to wider audiences simultaneous with the event."

The films are:

-- Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross' documentary "The Shock Doctrine," which examines how capitalism exploits crises. It will have its North American premiere and on-demand bow Jan. 28;

-- "Daddy Longlegs," Josh and Benny Safdie's autobiographical comedy about the responsibilities of parenthood, which bows Jan. 22 and is expected to have a theatrical run;

-- Daniel Grou's "7 Days," which centers on a surgeon whose world is torn apart by the murder of his 8-year-old daughter, bows Jan. 22.

Direct From the Sundance Film Festival titles will be available for 30 days in a Sundance-branded section on participating cable systems' main movies-on-demand channels.

IFC's Arianna Bocco negotiated the acquisition deals on behalf of Sundance Selects for "Shock" and "7 Days" with Charlotte Mickie of E1 Entertainment International. She negotiated the deal for "Daddy" with producer Tom Scott and sales rep Victoria Cook of Cinetic Media.

Sundance Selects is one of several initiatives designed to extend the festival's reach beyond Park City, a goal of new fest director John Cooper.

Another effort, the inaugural Sundance Film Festival USA, will bring pics from the fest -- including "Daddy" and "Shock" -- to eight cities Jan. 28.