Our #ArtistServices team is moderating a free panel on Saturday, August 10 during NEXT Weekend called The NEXT Waves of Creative Distribution with a surprise lineup.  The panelists will discuss the latest tech and trends in creative financing, digi distribution, guerrilla marketing and independent theatrical releases.

Distribution is always a hot topic when it comes to independent filmmaking and to give a little perspective, here is the synopsis for the Marketing, Distribution and Home Video panel from the 1988 Sundance Film Festival:

The shifting habits of movie-viewing away from theatres towards home video have brought on analogous shift in the marketing, distribution and even production agendas of documentary and feature films. Many companies will now guarantee a hefty production advance – predicated on theatrical exposure – to secure a film for video release.  In such cases, home video is “driving” production, and the theatrical performance of the film becomes, virtually, advertising for its video release.  How this complex situation affects today’s filmmaking – and film-viewing – will be discussed.

Check out more on The NEXT Waves of Creative Distribution panel and NEXT Weekend Film Festival here.

Photo by Jonathan Hickerson


What to Watch on Netflix This Week

Satisfy your independent film cravings by queuing up 8 new hits hot off the festival circuit.  Through the Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program, these talented, groundbreaking, and witty filmmakers truly embody the indie spirit by releasing their work directly to you.  Whatever your taste is, we invite you to watch some of our favorites.

Do not to miss these provoking documentaries:

Above All Else premiered at SXSW and portrays the real people and their struggles on the front lines of XL Keystone Pipeline battle. Directed by John Fiege

American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is a portrait on one of the greatest Asian American human activists America has produced. Directed by Grace Lee.

Before You Know It  premiered at SXSW and is a winning documentary about LGBTQ seniors navigating life’s challenges in their golden years. Directed by PJ Raval.

Evolution of a Criminal premiered at SXSW and tells the earnest and gripping examination of a reformed bank robber. Directed by Darius Clark Monroe.

Indulge in these bold, original narratives:

Something, Anything reveals a unique sensibility and delivers a refreshing story of human transformation. A New York Times Critics Pick directed by Paul Harrill.

Valley of Saints debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and wowed audiences with its story of unlikely romance in war-torn Kashmir where beauty and hope remain. Directed by Musa Syeed.

Water & Power is an epic Angelino tale of corruption and ambition based on director Richard Montoya’s stage play developed through the Sundance labs.

Experiment with our favorite Wild Cards:

Charlie Victor Romeo premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and puts the audience inside the tension-filled cockpits of actual flights in distress, offering a fascinating portrait of the psychology of crisis and a person’s will to live to the last second. Directed by Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels & Karlyn Michelson

The Foxy Merkins: A Lesbian Hooker Comedy premiered at Sundance’s NEXT FEST and hilariously follows lesbian hooker-in-training who teams up with a sexy grifter. Directed by Madeleine Olnek

All of these filmmakers released their films on their own with the support of Sundance and Premiere Digital. This means they own their rights and receive the lion’s share of the revenue.

If you are a Sundance Alumni interested in learning how #ArtistServices can help you creatively distribute, contact us at

#ArtistServices Austin

We had a blast in Austin last weekend! Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program gives filmmakers tools and education to help get their work made and out to the world. This workshop had all kinds of smart people presenting about everything from funding to social media to distribution (heyo!). 

Our own Casey Pugh presented on a panel with Fred Schroeder, co-director of STRIPPED, chatting about how the documentary used VHX to grow sales and experiment with bundling content. (Read more smart insights from STRIPPED’s distribution plan in their case study.) One great takeaway: Direct distribution doesn’t have to replace other distribution strategies — VHX is one puzzle piece that can compliment many other channels in your larger strategy. 

Photo: Charles Ramirez-Berg

We met cool people! We met frustrated filmmakers! Everyone had something to teach and something to learn. If you’re making film or video, check out the other summer events from the Sundance Institute happening across the country. 

RT @hollygherrick @VHXtv founder says that the most successful titles on the platform build their audiences early #ArtistServices @afs1985

— Sundance Institute (@sundancelabs)

May 30, 2015

“Go to festivals even if you don’t have a film playing. Learn the forest so you can navigate it.” - @rebfive #ArtistServices #ProducerAdvice

— Missy Laney (@missmissylaney)

May 30, 2015

#Filmmakers: Here is your social media cheat sheet. Don’t thank me, thank @360i #ArtistServices #Sundance #Austin

— Missy Laney (@missmissylaney)

May 30, 2015

Sundance Earth Day Selection:  2013 Edition

Today marks the 43rd Earth Day, and Sundance Institute’s #ArtistServices program is currently offering some special documentaries for home viewing that confront vastly different (but equally alarming) stories addressing urgent threats to the environment.  To observe Earth Day this year, we’re offering a hand-picked selection of sustainability-themed Sundance favorites for you to enjoy.

(L to R) If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, The Cove, Chasing Ice, and Crude.

Check out the full list of films here.