11 Independent Films to Make Digital Debut via Sundance Institute’s Artist Services

Los Angeles, CA — Sundance Institute today announced the 11 independent films now available through a variety of platforms and storefronts, via the Institute’s Artist Services program, which provides artists supported by the Institute with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing for their work. For details visit sundance.org/nowplaying.

Titles will be available on a variety of platforms, including  iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Microsoft Xbox, Sony Entertainment Network, SundanceNOW, VUDU and YouTube.

The films making their digital premiere include the Emmy Award-nominated documentary following two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof on his journey through war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo (Reporter), as well as the story of world-renowned Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft as she strives to adopt orphaned Sudanese twins (The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins).

Dear Mandela and Otelo Burning both focus on the South African diaspora, each shedding light on a group of friends struggling to find justice against the backdrop of brewing political turmoil.

Fresh off of participating in FILM FORWARD, an international tour that combines film screenings, workshops and discussions with filmmakers, The Light in Her Eyes offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their dreams.

Breakfast with Curtis will be released as part of a collaboration between Artist Services and non-profit partner organization Film Independent. Additionally, Happy Sad and Tall as the Baobab Tree will be released as part of a collaboration with San Francisco Film Society, and Otelo Burning through a partnership with Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP). These collaborations allow partner organizations to select films they have supported to receive access to the best-in-class digital distribution arrangements secured by Artist Services.

The Sundance Institute Artist Services program provides artists with exclusive opportunities for creative self-distribution, marketing and financing solutions for their work. The exclusive aggregation partner for distribution across all portals participating in the Artist Services program is Cinedigm. These deals were brokered via pro bono legal services generously provided by law firm O’Melveny & Myers, which has built the legal framework for the Artist Services program and participating filmmakers since its inception.




The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins (Director: Pietra Brettkelly) — Artist Vanessa Beecroft’s obsession to ‘save’ orphaned twins raises questions of a contemporary white woman’s right to adopt into the first world. Passion spills into her controversial art—including photographs of herself breast-feeding the twins, and a Venice Biennale performance of black women doused in blood-red paint. (2008 Sundance Film Festival)



Breakfast With Curtis (Director and Screenwriter: Laura Colella) — Syd, an eccentric bookseller with delusions of grandeur fueled by red wine, caused a rift five years ago between the freewheeling bohemian residents of his house and the family next door. He now drafts his young neighbor, Curtis, into a creative collaboration that sparks a season of change for all. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Film Independent)



Dear Mandela (Directors: Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza) — When their shantytowns are threatened with mass eviction, three ‘young lions’ of South Africa’s born free generation rise from the shacks and take their government to the highest court in the land, putting the promises of democracy to the test. (2010 Documentary Composers Lab and Creative Producing Documentary Lab)



Happy Sad (Director: Rodney Evans) — Two young couples in New York—one black and gay, one white and heterosexual—find their lives intertwined as they create new relationship norms, explore sexual identity, and redefine monogamy. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)



The Light in Her Eyes (Directors: Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix) — Houda al-Habash, a conservative woman preacher in Damascus, Syria, calls girls to the practice of Islam, teaching them that pursuing their ambitions is a way of worshipping God. (FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue)



Otelo Burning (Director: Sara Blecher) — Based on true events, Otelo Burning follows three teenage friends looking for an escape during the turmoil of South Africa’s apartheid, who discover freedom through the joy of surfing. Forced to choose between pursuing their dreams and fighting for justice, Otelo Burning is a gripping tale of courage, love, betrayal, hope and finding your freedom. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Independent Filmmaker Project)



Reporter (Director and Screenwriter: Eric Daniel Metzgar) — Reporter is the Emmy-nominated documentary film about Nicholas Kristof, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times. The film tracks him on a harrowing reporting trip through the Democratic Republic of Congo. (2009 Sundance Film Festival)



The Talent Given Us (Director: Andrew Wagner) — A retired New York City couple drive across the country to reconnect with their reclusive son, joined by their two unmarried daughters. (2005 Sundance Film Festival)



Tall as the Baobab Tree (Director: Jeremy Teicher) — In a rural African village poised at the outer edge of the modern world, a teenage girl hatches a secret plan to rescue her 11-year-old sister from an arranged marriage. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with San Francisco Film Society)



Towheads (Director: Shannon Plumb) — A mother of two tries to balance her artistic aspirations with the demands of motherhood in this playful look at the difficulties families face everyday. (Released through Artist Services collaboration with Film Independent)



When Billy Broke His Head (Directors: Billy Golfus and David E. Simpson) — When Billy Broke His Head...and Other Tales of Wonder is an entertaining, irreverent road movie about disability, civil rights, and the search for intelligent life after brain damage. (1995 Sundance Film Festival)

Sundance Institute
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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