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It was the biggest deal — literally and figuratively — of this year’s Sundance Film Festival: Netflix’s $12.5 million purchase of Dee Rees’ hard-hitting historical drama “Mudbound,” further establishing the streaming service’s dedication to snapping up auteur-driven cinema poised to get plenty of attention around awards time. And while Netflix has yet to prove its ability to take its starriest projects all the way to awards season glory and box office big bucks, it does have a big fan in Rees, who said she knew from the start that Netflix was the right home for her film.
At a post-screening press conference today at the New York Film Festival, Rees explained why she became a Netflix fan early on, and how that ultimately impacted her decision to go with the distributor. “For me, going into the sale, I had a different kind of idea of them because ‘Pariah’ was kept alive by Netflix,” Rees said, referring to her first feature film, which premiered at Sundance in 2011. “Even though Focus Features had acquired it and released it on a limited platform release, people kept seeing that film because it was on Netflix. My idea of them was a place for longevity, a place for auteurs.”
Filmmakers - Netflix - Release - Strategy - Rees
While some filmmakers might balk at Netflix’s limited theatrical release strategy, Rees saw the flip side: her film could have an even longer and more far-reaching home online, one not beholden to brick and mortar movie theaters. “I was thrilled, because of Netflix, we get a simultaneous global audience,” she said. “People in Texas will see this the same time as...
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