You could say that last year’s Sundance film festival was Netflix’s coming out party as an aspiring movie studio, inking deals with major players, including a four-picture agreement with indie film darlings the Duplass brothers. Less than a year later, Netflix has become a bona fide force to be reckoned with in the indie film world, announcing this week plans for five new feature films to go with its already flourishing library of films currently in the works, as reported by Deadline.
The five new films will span across genres including Amateur, a story about a 14-year-old basketball phenom directed by Ryan Koo; Alistair Legrand’s Clinical, a thriller about a psychiatrist who gets involved with a patient after a violent attack; Underground, a story about a pledge who is torn about exposing underground hazing from Gerard Murray; Arq, a sci-fi film about a scientist trying to protect a powerful new energy technology, starring Rachel Taylor (Jessica Jones); and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, a ghost story starring Luther’s Ruth Wilson, about a nurse who takes residence in a haunted house.
The swelling schedule of films comes on the eve of Sundance, as a slew of producers and directors ready their projects to be picked up by distributors. And thanks to its savvy chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, Netflix has quickly become an alluring partner for indie filmmakers who otherwise might not get their movies seen. In a movie market that is increasingly driven by summer blockbusters, superhero flicks, and big budget action movies, Netflix offers a safe haven that allows smaller films to flourish — with a potential audience of 75 million viewers and growing.
Filmmakers who sign with Netflix don’t have to worry about ticket sales, premiere hype, or the myriad other complications that come with trying to get a film distributed in the traditional theater trajectory. And by distributing its own films, Netflix can license them to its vast global audience which now spans across 190 countries. As Deadline reports, all the new films will be made available across all Netflix territories at the same time.
The new films will join other projects forthcoming from Netflix, including Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (from producer Judd Apatow), Brad Pitt’s military farce War Machine, and Jamie Dornan’s civil war film Jadotville, among others. And with Sundance just getting underway, expect Netflix to make more headlines as the global streamer continues to acquire more movies in its quest to become the biggest distributor of original series and feature films in the world.