Bodied premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and won the Grolsch People's Choice Midnight Madness award. YouTube now holds global rights to the film and will preview it at the Sundance Film Festival this month. Bodied will then see a theatrical release later this year and will be accessible on YouTube Red.
This is a notable move for YouTube, especially since Amazon has been raking in festival films left and right. Last year, Amazon began recruiting festival filmmakers to its Video Direct platform, offering cash bonuses and larger-than-typical Video Direct royalties for the rights to their films. It extended those offers to filmmakers with movies at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW and the Toronto International Film Festival. At the Toronto festival, where Bodied debuted, Amazon snagged the rights to over 100 films.
Bodied stars Jackie Long, Shoniqua Shandai, Walter Perez and Rory Uphold. It also features Charlamagne Tha God and battle rappers such as Dizaster, Dumbfoundead and Hollow Da Don.