Sundance 2006: Sundance.org video audience reaches 1 million

Salt Lake City, UT ” Sundance Institute announced today that audiences from around the world had watched more than one million videos, shattering previous records for Sundance.org, the official website of the Sundance Film Festival. Online visitors have downloaded a range of free programs from the 2006 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, including video highlights of festival happenings, exclusive filmmaker interviews and 50 short films that were screened in festival competition.

The 2006 Sundance Film Festival, which took place this year from January 19 to 29, is the only major film fest to premiere short films on the web within hours of their premieres in theatres in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It's an amazing thing to imagine and now to know that Sundance and the content of Sundance.org has been viewed over a million times in less than a month, said Joseph Beyer, Sundance Online producer. I think when we all look back at the history of Sundance's commitment to sharing the festival experience online; we'll be remembering this year and the great advancements we've made in establishing an international audience for our short film collection.

The number of video hits in 2006 has far surpassed those downloaded from the site in 2005 when users viewed fewer than 700,000 films and other Festival coverage over the six month period during which the video remain on the web. The 2006 site reached the million download milestone just 35 days after debuting short films and original content when the Festival opened on January 19, according to Deepblu Studios which helps manage the site.

User donations and festival sponsors like Adobe Software allow users to view short films and Festival coverage for free. For the first time this year, more than half of the shorts directors whose films showed in Festival theatres agreed to also have their works posted on Sundance.org. Users chose to download short films more than any other type of video content on the site.

I actually chose to do it because, quite simply, I want my film to be seen, said Jacques Thelemaque, director of the short THE TRANSACTION. I cant think of single short that suffers from overexposure and what better way than with the help of Sundance to insure that thousands, perhaps millions, will see our films collectively. People see it. People get it. Life is good.

Based on the number of downloads to date, the 10 most popular short films are:

GOPHER BROKE, Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller, directors

FUMI AND THE BADLUCK LEFT FOOT, David Chai, director

HAHAHA AMERICA, Jon Daniel Ligon, director

FOURTEEN, Nicole Barnette, director

A HALF MAN, Firas Momani, director

BUG CRUSH, Carter Smith, director

DIVORCE LEMONADE, Justin Hayward, director

THE TRIBE, Tiffany Shlain, director

YOU TURNED BACK AND HELD MY HAND, Gabriela Tollman, director

BEFORE DAWN, Blint Kenyeres, director

The 2006 Festival website remains active through June, 2006. In addition to 50 short films and documentaries that played at the world famous event in Park City, highlights include an exclusive extended on-camera interview with former Vice-President Al Gore, the subject of a Festival documentary; an international exchange between two Festival directors about immigration from Mexico to the United States; and a podcast of a centerpiece panel with director Wim Wenders and playwright Sam Shepard about writing and portraying the American West in films and plays.

There is more to come, too, said Beyer. The technology has been developing in conjunction with our goals so that in the future, to the ways that we can share Sundance artists and films with the world will not be limited by the capabilities of the desktop, which is incredibly exciting.