Sundance ’14: Vimeo bets big on crowdfunded filmmakers

Video platform Vimeo aims to further disrupt the traditional film distribution model with its new $500K fund. (Pictured: The Animal Project, debuting on Vimeo On Demand this spring)
January 17, 2014

Big news out of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival for crowd-sourcing-minded filmmakers: video platform Vimeo aims to further disrupt the traditional film distribution model, which has already been rocked by Veronica Mars, Kickstarter and many other crowdsourced platforms and projects, and this time it aims to do it with services and free exposure.

Vimeo is launching a USD$500,000 program aimed at supporting crowd-funded films, the company said Thursday, on the opening day of Sundance, in Park City, Utah.

Here’s how it will work: the half-million-dollar Vimeo Audience Development Fund is open to any filmmaker with a distribution-ready film, as well as $10,000 or more in funds already raised on a crowdfunding platform.

Vimeo will give qualifying filmmakers a minimum of $10,000 in marketing servicesĀ in exchange for an exclusive digital premiere window for distribution on Vimeo On Demand. That window will vary from filmmaker to filmmaker, on a “case by case basis,” according to the company.

Currently, Vimeo on-demand exclusivity windows often run for 30 days or more. Vimeo also will partner with these filmmakers to create campaigns on and off to broaden film exposure and grow audiences. They also offer a one-year subscription to Vimeo PRO, which currently goes for $199 per year.

Even though the Vimeo crowdfunding project itself is brand new, there are already “many, many” eligible filmmakers on Kickstarter alone, a Vimeo spokesperson told realscreen sister publication STREAM.

“Vimeo is committed to empowering filmmakers with the world’s best platform for direct distribution,” said Greg Clayman, Vimeo general manager of audience networks, in the statement. “While crowdfunding has changed the game in getting films made, Vimeo is taking the next step supporting filmmakers to get their work seen and purchased on Vimeo and across the web.”

Currently, there are more than 5,000 films on the Vimeo On Demand platform, which launched in March 2013, according to the company statement. Vimeo also has secured exclusive Video On Demand digital rights to 10% of the films that made their world premiere at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

Qualifying filmmakers interested in having their work considered for the Vimeo Audience Development Fund can email for more information.

Louis Chunovic is the U.S. East Coast reporter for STREAM, a Brunico publication launching soon that covers online video entertainment.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.