PARK CITY, UT –Sundance Institute today announced a new program to connect its artists with audiences by offering access to top-tier creative funding and marketing backed by the Institute’s promotional support. These essential services will act as building blocks for future program components which aim to provide filmmakers access to a broad and open array of third-party digital distribution platforms. Adding to the nonprofit Institute’s acclaimed programs for Screenwriters, Directors, Film Composers, Producers and Theatre artists around the world, the new services were developed based on research and input from filmmakers, industry advisors, its Technology Committee and its Board of Directors, including President Robert Redford. The creative funding component was announced today with Kickstarter, the largest platform in the world for funding creative projects.
A new way to fund and follow creative projects, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars to projects on Kickstarter every month. In exchange for support, backers receive tangible rewards crafted and fulfilled by the project’s creator. Support is neither investment, charity, nor lending, but rather a mix of commerce and patronage that allows artists to retain 100% ownership and creative control of their work while building a supportive community as they develop their projects.
“Technology now allows filmmakers to fund and make films in ways we could never have even conceived. Just as we did 30 years ago, the Institute is responding to a need, with a responsibility to help the individual artist,” Redford said.
“Today’s media landscape presents opportunities for audiences and artists to connect in new and exciting ways. This program is a natural and much-needed extension of our mission,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute. “With unparalleled recognition worldwide, Sundance Institute is in the unique position as a nonprofit to bring together a wide range of services and lend invaluable promotional support.”
Creative Funding Support
Kickstarter has agreed to provide branding, educational, and promotional support to Sundance Institute alumni. More than 350,000 people have pledged over $30 million dollars to projects on Kickstarter since its launch in spring 2009.
To launch the collaboration, the first alumni workshops took place at the Sundance Film Festival this week, conducted by Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler and attended by a range of artists from first time filmmakers to seasoned veterans. Beginning this spring, the Institute will curate alumni projects at Kickstarter.com and drive alumni and fans to support projects in various stages of funding. In addition, Sundance.org will showcase projects and interviews with artists on a monthly basis for even further reach.
“We’re excited to be working with the Sundance Institute and its esteemed community,” said Kickstarter cofounder, Yancey Strickler. “Kickstarter has been an effective tool for artists of all stripes, and we’re looking forward to the projects that this collaboration will bring to life.”
Education and Resources
In the coming months, Sundance Institute will build an online hub of resources related to independent distribution options, funding strategies and other key issues. The goal is to provide for filmmakers a central location to explore case studies and best practices, in addition to live workshops and training opportunities with Institute staff, alumni, industry experts and key partners.
As the first of these partners bringing their expertise to the community, Facebook will offer Institute alumni advice, educational materials, and best-practices tips on how to build and engage audiences via the service. Earlier this week at the Sundance Film Festival, Facebook led the first in a series of hands-on workshops for Institute alumni. During these workshops, artists received unique training on free tools and apps for social engagement, education in the types of pages and profiles they can utilize, and insight into Facebook’s advertising opportunities. Artists needing more direct assistance were able to share Pages while Facebook staff assisted them in making improvements and changing settings. Facebook and Sundance Institute have had a relationship for years and last year provided Page assistance for films including Waiting for Superman, A Small Act and Restrepo among 20 others.
All Sundance Institute artists from Sundance Film Festival, Labs and Grantees, will be the first to gain access to the programs. Further development will include access to a broad and open array of third-party digital distribution platforms backed by Sundance Institute promotional support. In the future, additional opportunities for theatrical exhibition will be explored in collaboration with organizations such as Sundance Cinemas, members of the national Art House Project, and others.
To execute the program, Sundance Institute has hired Christopher Horton as Associate Director of Filmmaker Services. Horton, who will relocate to Los Angeles after nearly a decade with Cinetic Media, will work closely with Joseph Beyer, Director of Digital Initiatives, Katie Kennedy, Associate Director of Development, Corporate along with the Institute’s Program Directors.
Legal Services for Sundance Institute have been graciously donated by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, headed by a team including Paul Iannicelli and Chris Brearton.
Kickstarter is the largest platform for funding creative projects in the world. Every month on Kickstarter, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars and help bring creative projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields to life. The Kickstarter community features projects by Oscar winners, Grammy winners, TED Fellows, New York Times best-sellers, Pulitzer Prize finalists, and thousands of others. Kickstarter is open to creative projects big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and avant-garde. www.kickstarter.com
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.