Monday, February 28, 2011

Tribeca and Sundance Festivals Plan Big Growth

New York Times, 2.27.11
By BROOKS BARNES

LOS ANGELES — Two big film festival operators, Tribeca Enterprises and the Sundance Institute, are about to greatly expand their efforts to use technology to bring specialty movies to a national audience.

For years, the business function of festivals was straightforward: create excitement for independent films, and hope that distributors acquire them for release.

But the rise of Web streaming and video-on-demand services freed festivals from their geographic limitations. Suddenly, the likes of Sundance, Tribeca and South by Southwest were experimenting with simultaneous film premieres at their festivals and on Web sites like YouTube or cable on-demand systems.

Tribeca plans on Monday to announce a significant expansion of its fledgling movie releasing arm, Tribeca Film, which was founded last year as a test in releasing movies both digitally and in theaters. Tribeca Film plans to increase its annual output to 26 pictures, up from 11.

Now comes a new development — the end of experimentation and the start of full-fledged digital distribution efforts by festival operators.

Tribeca plans on Monday to announce a significant expansion of its fledgling movie releasing arm, Tribeca Film, which was founded last year as a test in releasing movies both digitally and in theaters. Tribeca Film plans to increase its annual output to 26 pictures, up from 11.

Among this year’s batch — set for distribution in theaters, on on-demand services in 40 million homes and on Web services like iTunes — are films starring indie favorites like Zach Braff and Vincent Gallo.

“We learned very quickly that our brand can resonate beyond New York,” said Jane Rosenthal, a founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, with Geoff Gilmore, the group’s chief creative officer.

Sundance, which has tinkered with distribution partnerships for years, is expected to announce a formal year-round strategy for helping indie filmmakers gain access to digital distribution in the coming weeks. People with knowledge of the matter, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid conflicts with the powerful organization, said plans called for Sundance-branded channels on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and others.

Sundance executives declined to comment, saying efforts were incomplete. A spokeswoman emphasized, however, that the Sundance model would substantially differ from the Tribeca Films effort by allowing filmmakers to retain full ownership of their work. Sundance, unlike most other festival operators, is a nonprofit that also runs workshops for budding filmmakers and playwrights.

“There is big opportunity in this marketplace, particularly for a pocket of films that may not always have huge theatrical appeal but can take advantage of video on demand and other digital platforms,” said Rena Ronson, co-head of the Independent Film Group at United Artists Agency.

Tribeca and Sundance are reaching beyond their traditional functions for reasons of economics and technology. Hammered in recent years by the recession and soaring marketing costs, art house distributors like Paramount Vantage and Picturehouse went out of business, leaving a void in the market.

“It was kind of genius for Tribeca to jump in because almost nobody was left to buy anything,” said Julien Nitzberg, the director of “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia,” a documentary about an eccentric Appalachian family that Tribeca Films successfully distributed last year.
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[CURRENT PROJECTS]

List of films in production.

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]

"In Dubious Battle" [2016]
An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s. Vincent....Al Anderson

"TENN" [TBA]

A story about the early life of Tennessee Williams

Directed by James Franco
Vincent D'Onofrio, Jacob Loeb

"American Falls" - [TBA]

In a rural town in Southern Idaho, the Suzukis, a Japanese American family, run a small motel. One night they get a strange visitor who sports ‘city’ clothes who turns out to be the first African-American man that Toru Suzuki’s children have ever seen. Yoshiko takes it upon herself to solve the mystery about this man, especially when 2 police officers come knocking on their door.

Short film produced by Erika Hampson.
Vincent D'Onofrio as Detective Foster.

'Purgatory' [TBA]

'Purgatory' [TBA]
Tagline: In the Wild West a lot of blood was spilled... but it didn't go to waste. Vincent....Dallas Stoudenmire

"A Fall From Grace" [TBA]

Detective Michael Tabb knows the city of St. Louis inside and out. He has felt its true heart, as much as its dark underbelly: but he does not know who, in both the dark and light - is taking the lives of young girls.

Director: Jennifer Lynch
Producer/Writer ...Eric Wilkinson

Vincent D'Onofrio ....George Lawson (GRACE's father)
Tim Roth.......Detective Tabb

Filming in St Louis - TBA

"Supreme Ruler" [TBA]

A man campaigns to become the leader of the Buffalo lodge.

Vincent D'Onofrio as Hank Dory
Ron Livingston as Steve
Marcia Gay Harden as Nancy

"The Monster Next Door" [TBA]

"The Monster Next Door" - Comedy Horror

Executive Produced by Dennis Johnson, Melanie Mohlman Produced by Eric Wilkinson, David Michaels
Written by Jim Robbins
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio, Bill Pullman, French Stewart, Bill Moseley

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]

'Down & Dirty Pictures' - [in Production - Filming TBA]
Vincent......Harvey Weinstein

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