On-Demand fest gets projects out to the public

During South by Southwest, fest sponsor IFC will world-premiere one film (Joe Swanberg’s “Alexander the Last”) and screen four others (including two acquisitions from last year’s festival), all of which will simultaneously play for 90 days on IFC’s on-demand service in its own SXSW-branded section.

The deal came about when Swanberg’s new film was finished, IFC marketing VP Ryan Werner explains: “He said he didn’t really care about a theatrical release as much as getting the film out there.” And IFC’s On-Demand Film Festival allows Swanberg to cut the usual delay between the fest circuit and a theatrical release.

IFC hopes all five films will benefit from “the excitement of the festival launch,” further hyped through wide cable promotion. “People like SXSW,” Werner says. “There’s a lot of good will toward the festival; there’s something very American about the films there.”

But will IFC treat SXSW as a market where things are for sale? The company is still sending its acquisitions team. “Last year we bought eight movies there,” Werner notes.

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