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Sundance vid line has stroke of Genius

Companies plan to release a 12 DVDs this year

HOLLYWOOD — Sundance Channel Home Entertainment has pacted with Genius Products to market an inexpensive DVD line of festival films that will build the Sundance brand in the mass market. Distribution deal is the Sundance homevid unit’s second this week.

The companies plan to release a total of 12 DVDs this year. The first titles, to be positioned as Festival Favorites, should bow at stores in May, coinciding with this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Specific movie picks and pricing are still being determined.

Under the agreement, Sundance will license its content to Genius, which has built a business selling budget-priced DVDs of nonexclusive, public-domain programming marketed under identifiable brands including TV Guide, AMC Movies and the Hollywood sign.

Genius’ reach with its branded product lines at mass retailers and specialty stores was especially appealing to Sundance.

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“The opportunity to curate and introduce the best independent films to a wider audience has always been a fundamental goal,” said Sundance Channel Home Entertainment VP Mike Haney.

Adding the Sundance brand to its stable should boost Genius as well.

Earlier this week, Sundance pacted with nonfiction DVD label Docurama. The New Video-owned Docurama will annually distribute six DVDs featuring Sundance Channel programming and past Sundance Film Festival pics. “The First Amendment Project” launches the line April 26.

(Susanne Ault is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive.)