In recognition of the Sundance Film Festival's 25th anniversary, Sundance Channel will offer extensive, exclusive multiplatform coverage of the mid-January independent film extravaganza.
The Rainbow Media Services-owned Sundance Channel will offer viewers as part of its “31 Days of Sundance” programming stunt daily festival coverage, former festival movies, original online content via a dedicated minisite and exclusive video-on-demand offerings, according to Laura Michalchyshyn, executive vice president and general manager for the 30-million subscriber channel.
“This is our DNA and this is where we come from with regards to coverage of the festival,” she said. “As the official television sponsor of the 25th anniversary of the Sundance Film Festival and the biggest buyer of films from the festival, we really felt like this is the year to really blow out our coverage.”
Each night in January, Michalchyshyn said the network, which Rainbow purchased this past June from network co-founder Robert Redford, NBC Universal and CBS Corp.'s Showtime Networks, will air a documentary or film that was featured during a previous festival. “A significant number of those [titles] have never been seen on television before,” she said.
In addition, the network will air daily “Festival Updates” as interstitials during the festival's Jan. 16 to 25 run. The updates will include original shows such as Meet the Filmmaker, featuring interviews with Sundance filmmakers; Interview, starring radio host/pop culture commentator/comedian Faith Salie's discussions with various festival visitors and participants; My Premiere, which follows one filmmaker per day to his or her film's debut; and Spotlight, featuring interviews with festival jurors — last year's jurors list included Quentin Tarantino, Marcia Gay Harden and Diego Luna.
The segments will premiere simultaneously on the network and on Sundance's dedicated festival Web site (www.sundancechannel.com/festival), she said.
Michalchyshyn said the network will also premiere two original, Internet-only series. The 10-part, short-film comedy series Breakfast will chronicle the adventures of two independent filmmakers in New York as they produce a World War II epic.
The second, Cassidy Loves Moby, is a series of four short films starring music recording artist Moby and a curvy plastic Barbie-type doll that falls in love with him at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was shot on location at Sundance '08, with music written and performed by Moby.
“The Web series are new for us but we're hoping to try to drive more festival fans to our ongoing coverage on the Web site,” Michalchyshyn said.
The site will also feature daily blog postingsfrom select journalists and personalities attending the show reporting on festival news and the more than 120 featured festival movies aired during the festival.
Short films from past Sundance Film Festivals and photo galleries from this year's festivities round out the network's Sundance Web coverage.
Michalchyshyn said the channel's Sundance Web-site coverage drew more than 1 million unique users in January 2008, a record monthly performance for the channel.
With regards to on demand, Michalchyshyn said the network will create a package of “Festival Favorites,” including 13 exclusive films and documentaries, as well as a behind-the-scenes shows.
The movie features include such titles as Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro's Murderball (SFF 2005); Park Chanwook's Oldboy (SFF 2005); Jessica Yu's Protagonist (SFF 2007) and Bobcat Goldthwait's Sleeping Dogs Lie (SFF 2006), according to Michalchyshyn.
“If you're an armchair enthusiast and want to experience all things Sundance then this is the place to come to experience the festival from the comfort of your home,” she added.