Amazon Studios decided to go on a shopping spree and acquired the streaming rights to 40 films that screened at SXSW earlier this year. Among the films included in the huge purchase is Ana Asensio’s drama Most Beautiful Island, which won the Grand Jury Award for narrative feature.
The online giant of streaming content and commerce shelled out a pretty penny for the rights, paying $1.9 million in upfront cash bonuses for the titles. The purchase is through Amazon Video Direct’s Film Festival Stars program, which launched last year. The program is designed to be a streamlined, no-haggle way for indie filmmakers to get paid for digital distribution. In addition to the SXSW titles, the AVD program acquired 15 films from this year’s Sundance Film Festival and has extended offers to filmmakers at the Tribeca Film Festival. The program has its eyes set on this year’s Toronto International Film Festival as well.
With the offer for the SXSW films, rights holders are required to license their titles to Amazon for streaming exclusively on Prime Video for a 24-month window starting prior to the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Rights holders who opt in to the terms receive a one-time, non-recoupable cash bonus up to $100,000 based on qualifying categories. The money is intended to go toward marketing the film in pre-SVOD windows. Films are required to be windowed into Prime Video within 11 months of the festival’s conclusion.
In addition, Amazon pays royalties to participating rights holders for content they make available through Amazon Video Direct, based on how much customers watch the title. Under the program, AVD offers double the regular royalty rate (30 cents per hour viewed in the U.S.; 12 cents per hour viewed outside the U.S.).
The contracts for the 40 films will be finalized in the next few weeks. In addition to Most Beautiful Island, the other titles included in the deal are Inheritance, Assholes, Win By Fall, Signature Move, Like Me, Sylvio, Satan Said Dance, Paa Joe & The Lion, A Bad Idea Gone Wrong, Maineland, The Cloud Forest, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, Bad Lucky Goat, Bill Frisell, A Portrait, Divine Divas, Pornocracy, Tormentero, Inflame, The Secret Life of Lance Letscher, I Am Another You, A Critically Endangered Species, Dara Ju, Spettacolo, Ramblin’ Freak, DRIB, Two Pigeons, Going to Brazil, Daphne, Meatball Machine Kodoku, The Honor Farm, The Light of the Moon, Flesh and Blood, Fits and Starts, La Barracuda, MFA, California Dreams, Easy Living, Let There Be Light, and Infinity Baby.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer