We help independent storytellers build audiences and sustain careers through innovations in marketing, distribution, and data transparency and imagine a world without barriers between storytellers and their audiences.
The Creative Distribution Initiative empowers filmmakers navigating the changing business of independent film. Through online resources, live workshops, and a network of allied organizations, the program provides support and insights on creative funding, marketing, and distribution. For Institute alumni, the Creative Distribution Initiative offers a wide array of digital distribution opportunities, promotion and consultation for Kickstarter campaigns, and strategies for audience engagement.
The Fellowship - inspired by the Institute’s longstanding artist labs and entering its second year - is an immersive, rigorous program for entrepreneurial producers and directors seeking new ways to build and reach audiences with their finished work. We are now accepting applications for films preparing for a 2018 or early 2019 release who are open to a creative release - i.e. without a traditional distributor.
The Fellowship is a curated program that includes grant funds, access to premium pre-negotiated distribution deals, and connections to experienced industry mentors with the Institute’s Creative Distribution team playing a strategic advisory role. We’re currently engaged in the Fellowship’s pilot year, and supporting two films: Columbus, a fiction feature; and Unrest, a documentary. Both films have excelled with the framework provided by the Fellowship and we are thrilled with the results. Case studies will be finalized on each film in early 2018.
We are seeking films at all budget levels featuring distinctive, singular voices. We will select three or four films on a rolling basis, and we will support fellows during their initial release period (6 - 12 months). Films will be selected by a committee comprised of the Creative Distribution team along with key representatives from the Institute’s Feature Film, Documentary, and Festival programs. Our evaluation process will have two stages. We will initially review applications reviewing essay questions and a trailer or clip. After this initial review, we will invite select applicants to submit their feature in its entirety, and notify others that their project has been declined.
The Creative Distribution Initiative offers the entire independent film community an intensive series of workshops across the country and throughout the year. These daylong events, often produced in tandem with the program’s allied organizations, offer independent filmmakers dialogue and debate between field leaders, insights into industry trends, and analyses of new technologies. Workshops have been held in Park City, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and Miami. Past topics include immersive tutorials on film deliverables and debates on causes and solutions of piracy.
In addition, useful resources, articles and case studies on key industry trends can be found here.
Through the Creative Distribution Initiative, Sundance Institute became the first curatorial partner of the creative funding platform Kickstarter. Since launching the deal in 2011, with promotional support from Kickstarter and dedicated strategic consultation from the Creative Distribution Initiative staff, over 350 filmmakers have successfully completed fundraising campaigns. The Creative Distribution Initiative has hosted several Kickstarter Schools—sessions devoted to explaining their service and best practices—in Park City, New York and Los Angeles.
The Creative Distribution Initiative provides its filmmakers with efficient and effective promotional and marketing support. Through relationships with leading platforms such as Assemble, Instagram, Squarespace, Facebook, Twitter, GoWatchIt, and Blurb we provide best practices for alumni, and curate their work with Sundance Institute support.
O’Melveny & Myers generously provided pro bono legal services for the program.
Sundance Institute's Creative Distribution Initiative offers entrepreneurial Sundance filmmakers direct deals to iTunes, Netflix, Amazon and other retailers through their aggregation partner Premiere Digital Services/Quiver Digital. This unprecedented deal gives filmmakers 100% of the revenue, monthly payments, and daily sales figures. This deal is available to you whether you work with a sales agent or not.
The Creative Distribution Initiative also offers free in-house consulting on Kickstarter campaigns to Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival alumni. Please do not hesitate to be in touch for any distribution and creative funding questions.
We are proud to work with a group of non-profit organizations who share our commitment to providing artists with more opportunities to share their work.