What Distributors at Sundance Want


January 24, 2019

Find out what type of films domestic distributors are looking to acquire at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

A recent article by Liz Manashil and producer Rebecca Green published through the Sundance Institute provides significant details about the distributors attending Sundance 2019 including typical term period, territories and rights sought by each, as well as the elements they’re looking for in a film.

Additionally, there are statements directly from the distributors about the type of films they are seeking as well as the company’s submission policy for producers and filmmakers.

The table below aggregates some of the useful data found in the research.

Highlights From Active Sundance Domestic Distributors

A-Z Distributor Wants & Submission Policy


“We describe our films as ‘tribal’ in that they all have pre-existing audiences—fans of a band, supporters of a cause, etc.—and our job is to identify them, inform them, and activate them.”

SUBMISSIONS: Open policy considering it fits company’s distribution model.


“First and foremost, we look for great filmmaking, performances and want to support a director’s vision. Since all our releases are in theaters, we really focus on acquiring films we believe have a core audience that goes to cinemas and can act as ambassadors for the film.” 

SUBMISSIONS: No blind submissions, agency submissions and relationship recommendations only.

Breaking Glass Pictures

“First, we look to see if there’s an audience for the film. We also look for elevated titles, genre, and LGBT focused titles. It’s very easy to get on the festival juice and get caught up in the moment. But, outside of the festival, will the film have the same appeal? When looking at titles, we almost always have a phone call with the producer/director. We like to hear their vision. We want to make sure it’s a good marriage.”

SUBMISSIONS: Open submissions policy.


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Cohen Media Group

“The film needs to be of a very high caliber and have awards potential. Also, CMG is director driven.”

SUBMISSIONS: Generally no blind submissions. Agency, producer, sales agency referrals.

Read More: Cohen Media Group acquires Landmark Theatres after Amazon and Netflix both walked away from the opportunity.

Entertainment One

“In the domestic space, something we think can really find audiences in a multitude of ways. Obviously much of the conversation nowadays is focused on new forms of distribution and consumer viewing habits. Looking for material that can have life on digital, VOD, SVOD, AVOD is very important to us because it’s harder than ever to capture audience’s attention. When we look at our global footprint in our international territories, we tend to partner with wide U.S. distributors whose U.S. releases can really push international box office numbers in a meaningful way. Also, as a global company, stories that feel universal and aren’t domestic in nature are always vital to us.”

SUBMISSIONS: Generally no blind submissions. Agency, producer, sales agency referrals.