Sundance on iTunes
Free Downloads of Ten Short Films During the Sundance Film Festival
Every January, members of the independent film community don their parkas and head for the annual Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford’s brainchild born and raised among the mountain peaks of Park City, Utah. Filmmakers converge on the ski resort town with their butt-busting and life-consuming projects in hopes of finding a distribution deal that will allow the rest of us the privilege of seeing their films in our own towns someday. This year, however, Sundance has decided to open its door just a crack, and let in the future of digital broadcasting. They are bringing a tiny bit of Park City to our own computer screens, via that most ubiquitous and monopolizing of download engines, iTunes.
For the duration of this year’s festival, which runs January 15-25, ten short films—selected from the 97 that are in the program—will be available for free downloads from the online music store iTunes. If you already have iTunes on your desktop, go to the iTunes store and type in Sundance shorts and you should find the free downloads. (You can download iTunes by going to http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/.) As of this writing, the selected films have not yet been identified, but considering that they managed to make it through a selection process that weeded through over 4,000 entries from around the world, there should be some pretty remarkable examples of the short form among them. Just remember: they’re free, they’re accessible (except for those who simply refuse to let iTunes onto their desktops for political reasons), and they’re short. At less than 30 minutes a pop (the average short is about 15 minutes, and some are as brief as four minutes), you definitely won’t be investing a lot of time.
For more information about the films, you can download a PDF version of the festival’s program guide from the Sundance website (http://festival.sundance.org/2009/). This distribution deal is only available during the festival, so don’t bother sniffing around iTunes for this offer after January 25, 2009. As for peer-to-peer file sharing, well, that’s your own business.