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Amazon Hits Tribeca Offering Up to $100,000 Cash Bonus for Streaming Rights (EXCLUSIVE)

Amazon is back on the film-fest circuit with a zero-haggle deal for indie filmmakers: It’s offering official selections of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival bonuses of up to $100,000 — plus royalties — in exchange for exclusive subscription VOD rights through the Amazon Video Direct program.

Separately, the ecommerce giant will be hunting for hot Tribeca titles to acquire under its Amazon Studios banner. But for filmmakers and distributors who aren’t able to clinch multimillion-dollar deals for their works, Amazon created the Film Festival Stars program as a straightforward distribution option.

The program is an extension of Amazon Video Direct, the open video-distribution service launched last year. From Amazon’s perspective, Film Festival Stars is a cost-effective way to funnel high-quality content into Amazon Prime Video, its subscription VOD service that competes with Netflix.

Amazon launched FFS at this year’s Sundance, announcing that 12 films had opted in before three more came in just before the opt-in deadline — “Marjorie Prime,” “Motherland,” and “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World.” All told, Amazon paid $575,000 in cash bonuses to filmmakers, creators and distributors of the 15 films.

At Tribeca, Amazon Video Direct will offer the full Film Festival Stars terms to rights holders of feature films in the lineup, asking for 24-month exclusivity for SVOD platforms. In addition, the company is extending FFS to the short films entered into the festival, with a $50,000 bonus pool to be shared among the five best-performing titles that opt in (in addition to usage-based royalties).

For feature films, Amazon wants exclusive SVOD rights for the U.S. plus all other available territories (all other distribution windows are non-exclusive). All films must be released on Prime Video no later than March 31, 2018.

The cash bonuses for Tribeca films — intended to help filmmakers market their product — are as follows: U.S. Narrative Competition titles will get $100,000; Documentary Competition films will get $75,000; and International Narrative Competition, Spotlight Narrative, Spotlight Documentary, Special Screening, Viewpoints, and Midnight films will get $25,000.

In addition, films that opt-in to Amazon’s FFS will receive enhanced SVOD royalty rates (30 cents per hour viewed in the U.S., 12 cents per hour overseas), which is double the standard Amazon Video Direct rates.

Amazon also is looping in Tribeca’s short films, which traditionally do not have clear paths to distribution. Under the shorts program, any short officially programmed in the festival will be eligible to win part of a $50,000 royalty bonus; $10,000 will be awarded to each of the top five shorts streaming on Prime Video, based on customer engagement, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.

For the shorts, the company will pay Amazon Video Direct’s standard SVOD royalty rates: 15 cents/hour viewed (U.S.) and 6 cents/hour viewed (non-U.S.).

More info on the AVD Film Festival Stars program at Tribeca can be found at amazon.com/avd-tribeca.

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