Apple iTunes Offers Documentary ‘Sepideh’ After Sundance Premiere

Deal is first time Apple is distributing a film while it's still playing at Sundance

Trying to burnish iTunes’ glow for indie filmmakers, Apple is touting an exclusive digital window on “Sepideh” starting two days after the documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Sepideh” is now available for rental or purchase, for an undefined period of exclusivity, on iTunes for users in the U.S. and Canada. It’s the first time Apple has reached a deal to distribute a film while it is still playing at Sundance. The docu, which officially premiered on Sunday at Sundance, tells the story of an Iranian woman, Sepideh Hooshyar, who dreams of becoming an astronaut and teams up with the first female space tourist, Iranian-American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari.

SEE ALSO: Sundance Film Review: ‘Sepideh’

The “Sepideh” deal, according to Apple, is an example of how filmmakers can achieve broad distribution for their work on iTunes — a platform that has some 435 million active users. At last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, some films were available on iTunes during the run of the fest. And iTunes has offered independent films in some cases prior to theatrical debuts or day-and-date with their arrivals in theaters.

Berit Madsen, the Danish director of “Sepideh,” said in an interview that she was happy the documentary — which she spent more than four years working on — would reach a wider audience. “The really exciting thing for me is that, with iTunes, the most number of people will be able to see this film,” she said.

On iTunes, the HD version of “Sepideh” is $7.99 to purchase and $4.99 for 24-hour rental; standard-def pricing is $5.99 to buy and $3.99 to rent.

“Sepideh” is produced by Radiator Film in co-production with ZDF and Arte. Copenhagen-based LevelK is the film’s distributor.

IAC’s Vimeo is among other Internet players targeting indie filmmakers for digital distribution deals. Last week, Vimeo launched a program to grant up to $500,000 to help creators market their films if they have raised at least $10,000 from crowdfunding sites, in return for a period of exclusivity.

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