The official start of the Sundance Film Festival isn’t until January, but film-fanatics can curb their appetite for new content by using their Amazon subscription this month. The popular online retailer announced this week that the official selections from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival are now available on Amazon Prime Video for all to enjoy.
The collection of 15 films are made available through the Amazon Video Direct Film Festival Stars (FFS) program that is designed to establish an attractive distribution model for films screened at film festivals that either don’t secure theatrical distribution deals or are looking for distribution options after a theatrical release. The official selections from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival currently streaming include Manifesto starring Cate Blanchett, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize winner Marjorie Prime, and Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision, Free and Easy. These films enjoyed robust distribution strategies throughout the year, including award-winning festival and theatrical runs, and are now available in the U.S. with select titles available in additional territories.
“Amazon Video Direct’s Film Festival Stars program accelerates the career of deserving films, elevating cinematic curation into a galvanic connection with audiences who might never have discovered them,” said Richard Lorber, President and CEO of Kino Lorber, Inc. “It’s an innovative strategy that allows specialty film distributors like us to amplify support for the worthiest films—not only with additional financial backing, but unparalleled outreach only an amazing entity like Amazon can provide. I don’t know what genius dreamed this up, but we at Kino Lorber are enthusiastically participating—proud to be populating the Film Festival Stars roster with many of our most important releases.”
“We launched the Film Festival Stars Program at Sundance earlier this year because we heard from our customers they love watching independent films,” said Eric Orme, Head of Amazon Video Direct. “So far in 2017, FFS has secured the streaming rights to 76 feature films that we’re confident will thrill and delight our customers. These films appear alongside other great festival films already available on the service, including Amazon Studios’ The Big Sick. We’ll be extending Film Festival Stars to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival with an emphasis on global distribution and enhanced bonuses for filmmakers, and look forward to seeing the great films we’ll be able to bring exclusively to Prime members.”
500 Years – available worldwide
From a historic genocide trial to the ousting of a president, director Pamela Yates tells the sweeping story of mounting resistance in Guatemala through the eyes of the majority indigenous Mayan population, who now stand poised to reimagine their society.
Axolotl Overkill – available in the U.S. and Canada
In Axolotl Overkill, 16-year-old Mifti is a beautiful and reckless young girl. Her mother is dead, and her wealthy, eccentric father is too self-absorbed to be responsible for her. Mifti has no use for peers her own age, and being aware of the sexual power she wields with her looks and youth, she immerses herself in a world of adults of questionable character. Lovesick over an elusive older woman, she strikes up a friendship with Ophelia, an actress, and together they test the limits through Berlin nightlife and extreme partying.
Don’t Swallow My Heart, Alligator Girl! – available in the U.S. and Canada
The film follows Joca, a 13-year-old Brazilian boy, and Basano La Tatuada, a Paraguayan indigenous girl, living on the border between the two countries, marked by the waters of the Rio Apa. Joca is in love with Basano and wants to do everything to win her love.
Family Life – available in the U.S.
In Family Life, a young man spends a few weeks housekeeping for a relatively distant relative and enjoys taking over the comfort of their lives in Santiago. Soon, he meets a cute neighbor and starts pretending for his personal benefit.
Free And Easy – Special Jury Award for Cinematic Vision – available in the U.S. and Canada
When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results.
Machines – Sundance Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography – available in the U.S. and Canada
Director Rahul Jain presents an intimate, observantly portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India. Moving through the corridors and bowels of the enormous and disorientating structure, the camera takes the viewer on a journey to a place of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship, provoking cause for thought about persistent pre-industrial working conditions and the huge divide between first world and developing countries.
Manifesto – available in the U.S. and Canada
In the film, Actress Cate Blanchett portrays 13 distinct characters in vignettes that incorporate timeless manifestos—among them a school teacher, a puppeteer, a newsreader, a factory worker and a homeless man. Director Julian Rosefeldt draws on the writings of Futurists, Dadaists, Supremacists, Situtationists, and other artist groups, and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers to create Manifesto.
Marjorie Prime – Sundance Film Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize – available in the U.S.
Set in the near future, Michael Almereyda’s sci-fi pic Marjorie Prime, is based on Jordan Harrison’s Pulitzer-nominated play exploring memory, identity, love and loss. 86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance?
Motherland – World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award – available in the U.S. and Canada
Motherland is set at one of the world’s largest and busiest maternity hospitals in the Philippines. Ramona S. Diaz’s film follows three women as they navigate through the severe conditions of giving birth there — from jam-packed delivery rooms to overflowing corridors where babies are misplaced and then found.
Plastic China – available worldwide
Plastic China captures a plaintive sense of the human casualties from unfettered global consumerism. The gently observed portrait of families toiling at a plastic recycling factory in Shandong builds into a damning commentary on a modern China marked by extreme divides in wealth and opportunity.
Pop Aye – World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for screenwriting – available in the U.S. and Canada
On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together.
RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World – World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Masterful Storytelling – available in the U.S.
This powerful documentary about the role of Native Americans in contemporary music history features some of the greatest music stars of our time—Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jimi Hendrix, Jesse Ed Davis, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, and Randy Castillo. The film exposes a critical missing chapter, revealing how indigenous musicians helped shape the soundtracks of our lives and, through their contributions, influenced popular culture.
Sueño en otro idioma (I Dream in Another Language) – World Dramatic Audience Award – available in the U.S. and Canada
When a language dies, a unique vision of the world is lost forever. In I Dream in Another Language, a linguist arrives in a small jungle settlement hoping to record a conversation between two elderly men, the last two remaining speakers of the Zikril language. Unfortunately for him, the men are feuding and haven’t spoken to each other in 50 years.
The Good Postman – available in the U.S. and Canada
On the eastern edge of Bulgaria, bordering Turkey, amid wizened orchards and an ancient patchwork of farmlands, sits a poor and sleepy hamlet that time seems to have forgotten. Despite the sparse population of silver-haired citizens wistful for the brighter days of communism, democracy is in full force as the village prepares in earnest for its mayoral election. Meanwhile, an endless train of Syrian refugees bound for Europe silently traipses through the rural terrain, visible through the binoculars of one gentle and taciturn candidate, the good postman.
World Without End (No Reported Incidents) – available in the U.S.
Known for decades as a visual poet, filmmaker Jem Cohen has captured various corners of the world with a perceptive eye in World Without End (No Reported Incidents). Often filming by himself, Cohen takes a camera (16mm film, and more recently, video) and walks on the street like a modern-day Walker Evans, capturing images of people and landscapes in our smallest moments—everyday faces, vacant street corners, trinkets in windows, all the things we might see sitting on the bus and wish we could see again in a film.
Returning to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, the Amazon Video Direct Film Festival Stars program will emphasize global distribution, with enhanced bonus payments being paid for worldwide rights, as AVD aims to support overall Prime Video global growth.
Prime members will be able to stream the films exclusively via the Amazon Prime Video app for compatible TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices, and online at amazon.com/primevideo.