Amazon is increasing the incentives for Sundance filmmakers to sign on to its Amazon Prime Video Film Festival Stars program by offering “enhanced bonuses” and global distribution.
“We launched the Film Festival Stars Program at Sundance earlier this year because we heard from our customers they love watching independent films,” said Eric Orme, head of Amazon Video Direct, in a statement. “So far in 2017, FFS has secured the streaming rights to 76 feature films that we’re confident will thrill and delight our customers… We’ll be extending Film Festival Stars to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with an emphasis on global distribution and enhanced bonuses for filmmakers, and look forward to seeing the great films we’ll be able to bring exclusively to Prime members.”
Earlier this year, according to Variety, Amazon offered a one-time cash bonus and higher royalty rates. In exchange, filmmakers had to grant Amazon 24-month streaming deals for the films, with the first 12 months being exclusive.
As the report pointed out, Amazon will pay $100,000 for U.S. dramatic films and premieres, $75,000 for U.S. documentaries and documentary premieres, and $25,000 for World Dramatic, World Documentaries, Next, Spotlight, Kids, Midnight and New Frontier selections.
Amazon appears to be aggressively chasing more of the prestige it garnered with “Manchester by the Sea,” its film that at this year’s Academy Awards earned multiple nominations (including Best Picture) and won for Best Actor (Casey Affleck) and Best Original Screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan). That kind of high-profile honor, as demonstrated this year by Hulu’s Emmy win for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” can help drive subscribers to a service.
Amazon’s renewed push comes as rival Netflix finally has its own Best Picture hopeful with “Mudbound.”
Amazon also today announced the official selections from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival that are now available on Amazon Prime Video. Those films include “Manifesto” starring Cate Blanchett, “Marjorie Prime,” and “Free and Easy.”