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Three Sundance Films to Debut on YouTube

Independent movies will be available for rental before their Park City premiere

In an effort to bolster YouTube’s paid video platform, the website is partnering with the Sundance Film Festival to offer three independent movies screening at the festival for rental.

Among the feature films debuting on YouTube, are Michael Mohan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” Todd and Brad Barnes “Homewrecker,” and Linas Philips’ “Bass Ackwards.” YouTube users will have the opportunity to see the movies before they even bow at the Park City festival, the two partners announced on Wednesday.

Two movies from last year’s festival will also be available –Tze Chun’s “Children of Invention” and Louie Psihoyo’s “The Cove."

“These are early days and in the coming weeks we’ll also invite a small group of partners across other industries, in addition to independent film, to participate in this new option,” YouTube said in a statement today, “Anything that brings more content to the YouTube community is a good thing. And making content available for rent will give our partners unprecedented control over the distribution of their work—they can decide the price of their videos and the rental duration; they can decide when and where their content is available; and they can keep 100% of their rights.”

“We look at this just as an extension of the festival,” said “Homewrecker” co-director Brad Barnes, in a statement and Todd Barnes added, “This is where film is going. Who knows when it will finally take hold but we want to be there when it does. Especially if that’s now.”

YouTube is also sponsoring the Festival’s new NEXT section for lower-budget movies. The movies will only be available during the festival’s ten-day run and will rent for $3.99 a piece.

These deals seem in keeping with Festival Director John Cooper’s pledge to encourage filmmakers to seek out alternative distribution models for the movies.