While the options for indie-film distribution and exhibition are improving, it's still difficult for feature-length films to find larger audiences outside the festival circuit. IFC and B-Side have both been making distribution deals with lesser-known, lower-budget indie films in the past couple of years, and now they're uniting to give even better chances of success to those films. Variety has the details on the partnership the companies have made together.

If you're a regular film-fest attendee, you might have used B-Side's festival web application to schedule your movie selections, and maybe rate and review the films you saw at the fest. IFC and B-Side will examine those ratings and statistics to figure out which films audiences liked most at festivals -- and if the films don't have distribution elsewhere, may buy the distribution rights themselves. The films would then get airtime on IFC as well as online distribution through B-Side, which started offering DRM-free movie downloads on their site earlier this summer.

The first film to receive this new distribution option will be the 2006 documentary Before the Music Dies. B-Side bought the distribution rights last year, and the doc about the music industry is already available on the B-Side website to purchase as a download or DVD. Now the Forest Whitaker-narrated film will be aired on IFC early next year. The Variety article notes that this partnership is with the television division of IFC, which means that these deals will not necessarily include theatrical distribution. Still, getting time on IFC is a great deal for festival favorites that might otherwise get lost in the shuffle.

[via IndieWIRE]