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PBS joins Sundance buyers’ coalition

US pubcaster PBS’s Independent Lens strand has joined a coalition of international buyers looking to acquire feature documentaries at this week’s Sundance Film Festival.

Annie Roney

The coalition, now in its third year, is helmed by California-based sales agent Ro*Co Films and was established to compete with global streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon.

Recent years have seen these VoD giants acquire all-world rights to a number of high-profile docs, often at eye-watering prices.

Independent Lens, presented by ITVS (Independent Television Service), joins a coalition that includes BBC Storyville (UK), NPO/VPRO (the Netherlands), YesDocu (Israel), DR (Denmark), NRK (Norway), RTÉ (Ireland), SVT (Sweden) and The Film Collaborative (representing global festival rights). The parties will pool their resources to put in a competitive offer for docs.

In a statement, Ro*Co founder and MD Annie Roney said: “We are walking into Sundance with broadcast commitments, executed licensing contracts in hand, pre-negotiated to allow second-window digital play as well as educational and semi-theatrical opportunities.

“We understand the muscle that these broadcasters bring to the table. Their support brings a commitment to on-the-ground press and marketing of the film in their territories, building awareness, profile and, most importantly, audience for the film.”

The 2018 Sundance Film Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs for 11 days.






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