Thursday, December 24, 2009
It has been a time of many changes in the independent film scene; both scary and exciting. Through it all, independent filmmakers of all stripes keep pushing forward, making great work that moves, inspires, and amuses countless people around the world.
It has been a year of changes at IFP as well. After 12 years at IFP's helm, Executive Director, Michelle Byrd, stepped down to pursue other ventures, and I happily stepped in, after four and half years as a Board member, as the Interim Executive Director. As I reflect on this past year, I am delighted with the way that the IFP served our community. In 2009, the IFP produced the 31st annual Independent Film Week and 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, successful Script to Screen and Independent Filmmaker Conferences, and helped emerging and mid-career filmmakers through the Independent Filmmaker Labs, Fiscal Sponsorship, and Made in New York programs, among numerous others. Tom Quinn, director of The New Year Parade, writes that he "shuffled into the IFP Rough Cut Lab with a 40-minute cut and an overwhelming 180 hours of raw footage, totally green and lacking the confidence or know how to push the film forward. Throughout the Lab we were given so much amazing advice, and with it came the confidence to make the film we had set out to create. Since then the IFP staff, and everyone at Filmmaker have continued to be a tireless support system - a wind at our back and a map toward things ahead." The New Year Parade went on to win the Slamdance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize, receive uniformly stellar reviews, get a small theatrical and large DVD release, and now, is nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards "John Cassavetes Award" 2010.
On the nonfiction side of things, Independent Film Week's Spotlight on Documentaries 2008 alumni The Way We Get By (directed by Aron Gaudet and produced by Gita Pullapilly) premiered at the SXSW '09 Festival, where it took the Documentary Feature Honorable Mention. The film was selected as a special end of season presentation for PBS' P.O.V., who the filmmakers had met with while at Film Week. Also at Film Week, they met with ITVS, which ultimately provided significant funding for the project. The film had a theatrical release at New York's IFC Center and other cities via the International Film Circuit, and the DVD began self-release in November. It went on to win the IFP Fledgling Fund Grant for Documentary Outreach and has been nominated for a 2009 Cinema Eye Honors for Outstanding Achievements in Debut Feature.
IFP is the nation's oldest and largest non-profit organization of independent filmmakers. Since its start, we have supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers' voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP believes that independent films broaden the palette of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. Through our 30-year history, we have helped projects ranging from Michael Moore's Roger and Me to Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Half Nelson get off the ground.
In 2010, IFP will continue to support our thousands of members all over the world with year-round events, conferences, labs, networking opportunities, and resources. We couldn't do any of this without the kind and generous contributions of supporters like you.
So, give the gift of support to independent filmmakers.
MAKE A GIFT IN SUPPORT OF INDEPENDENT FILM.
Or simply join IFP now - or sign up a friend - for a year of free screenings, networking events, vendor discounts, a subscription to Filmmaker Magazine, and much more.
SIGN UP FOR A YEAR OF IFP MEMBERSHIP
Thursday, December 17, 2009
IFP'S 2010 INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LABS ON THE HORIZON - Start working on your applications over the holidays!
IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs is the only program in the U.S. supporting first-time feature directors with projects at the crucial rough cut stage, before they are submitted to festivals. The Labs are a free, week-long workshop in New York offering personalized feedback and advice on all aspects of the post-production process, audience building, and distribution strategies in the digital age, followed by continued support from IFP as the project premieres in the marketplace. More than half of Lab alumni have gone on to premiere at major festivals - including Berlin, Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, and Venice, and have enjoyed theatrical releases, been broadcast nationally, or released on DVD. Recent Lab projects have included Vanessa Gould’s Between the Folds, which premiered on Independent Lens this month, and Geralyn Pezanoski’s Mine, upcoming on Independent Lens in February; Tom Quinn’s The New Year Parade and Tariq Tapa’s Zero Bridge, both recently nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards (and each a Gotham Award nominee in 2008 and 2009, respectively), and Zeina Durra’s 2009 Lab project, The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, premieres in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2010 next month. Lab applications will be available in January for both the Documentary and Narrative Labs which will take place in spring 2010.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Looking through old programs from IFP's Script to Screen Conference today, I noticed that Adrienne Shelly participated in the 1996 conference devoted to the landscape for independent film and media writers. Devoted as she was to IFP's mission of advocating for and supporting independent filmmakers, it makes sense that the Adrienne Shelly foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to the memory of writer/director/actor Adrienne Shelly, created a grant 3 years ago to support the work of female directorial alumni from the IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs. The unrestricted, $5000 grant, called The Adrienne Shelly Director's Grant, went this year to Christina Beck’s PERFECTION, the story of Kristabelle, a woman in her thirties still living at home, who cuts herself to feel alive. She lives with her mother, who is also addicted to cutting through plastic surgery to maintain her youth. Through the help of a pot smoking young lover, a newly sober British comic and a little Chinese medicine, both women soon find that love can be more than skin deep. Pamela Cohn, at Still in Motion, reports that Beck, who she met at Independent Film Week in 2007, "will use this prize, in part, to release some developed film footage (donated by Kodak) that's been held in captivity at FotoKem in Los Angeles, where she resides."
According to the Foundation's website, "We know that Adrienne would like us to do everything possible to help young women pursue their filmmaking dreams, and to assist others in making the same leap from acting to writing and directing as Adrienne had done so successfully." IFP is delighted to be working with the Foundation to support talented female filmmakers like Christina achieve their dreams. The world needs many more of them.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
According to Rose Vincelli, IFP Program Manager and one of our master archivists, they are the following:
In the US Dramatic Competition, Blue Valentine, (Director: Derek Cianfrance; Screenwriters: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) won our 2006 Chrysler Prize and was previously a 2003 No Borders selection. The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, (Director and screenwriter: Zeina Durra; Producer: Vanessa Hope) is our first IFP Narrative Independent Filmmaker Lab alumni (2009) to be in Sundance competition. While Howl (Directors: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; Screenwriters: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman)—which apparently features the guy who plays Tripp on Gossip Girl and, more importantly, James Franco - was a No Borders selection in 2008. Also in this competition is Night Catches Us, produced by Jason Orans, one of our two producers selected to attend the Rotterdam Lab this year.
In the US Documentary Competition, we have My Perestroika, (Director: Robin Hessman), which won the IFP/Anthony Radziwill documentary development grant in 2005, and
The Oath (Director: Laura Poitras), a selection of Spotlight on Docs in 2008. Finally, A Small Act (Director: Jennifer Arnold), was in Spotlight on Docs this past September.
Indcidentally, 19% of the Sundance US Competition are IFP alumni. Congrats to them all!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I am prepping a new film with the shortest amount of time I have ever had to prep a movie. It is also one of the more ambitious projects I have been involved in. There is so much to do I can't afford to squander any time (luckily I have been prepping some blog posts in advance, so this doesn't take time -- it expands time!). The short prep is also unfortunate because now is a time that the producer has to do even more than ever before.
My To Do List may be more of a Wish List these days. Instead of doing everything I think I should be doing, I have to focus first on what absolutely needs to be done to get the film in the can.
Now is the time we should be doing things differently; yet given the opportunity to make the film I want, with the cast I want, even at a fraction of the budget that I want -- how can I let that opportunity go by?
Having more options and better tools, doesn't solve everything by any means.
These times are tough indeed. Everyone knows it is hard out there for an indie filmmaker, particularly for a truly free filmmaker. Most would acknowledge that it is harder now than it has ever been before. Few have revealed (or admitted) how the current situation will change their behavior. I think right now, with reality staring me in the face, I can only speak about what I wish I could do. There is still a big gulf between thought and expression. How does the present alter what we all wish to do on our films?
Personally speaking, I would say we need to evolve the definition of what it means to be ready to shoot a film. Granted, more can always be done on the creative level and that is certainly worthy of discussion, but here -- on TrulyFreeFilm -- we are discussing the apparatus, the infrastructure, the practices that can lead to a more diverse output, robust appreciation, business model, and sustainable practice of ambitious cinema. So, what would I do if I really had my shit together? I have been trying to answer this and share my thoughts along the way.
1. Recognize it is about audience aggregation: Collect 5000 fans prior to seeking financing. Act to gain 500 fans/month during prep, prod., post processes.
2. Determine how you will engage & collect audiences all throughout the process.
Consider some portion to be crowd-funded -- not so much for the money but for the engagement it will create.
3. Create enough additional content to keep your audience involved throughout the process and later to bridge them to your next work.
4. Develop an audience outreach schedule clarifying what is done when -- both before and after the first public screening.
5. Curate work you admire. Spread the word on what you love. Not only will people understand you further, but who knows, maybe someone will return the good deed.
6. Be prepared to "produce the distribution". Meet with potential collaborators from marketing, promotion, distribution, social network, bookers, exhibitors, widget manufacturers, charitable partners, to whatever else you can imagine.
7. Brainstorm transmedia/cross-platform content to be associated with the film.
8. Study at least five similar films in terms of what their release strategy & audience engagement strategy was and how you can improve upon them.
9. Build a website that utilizes e-commerce, audience engagement, & data retrieval. Have it ready no later than 1 month prior to first public screening.
10. Determine & manufacture at least five additional products you will sell other than DVDs.
11. Determine content for multiple versions of your DVD.
12. Design several versions of your poster. Track how your image campaign evolves through the process.
13. Do a paper cut of what two versions of your trailer might be. Track how this changes throughout the process.
14. Determine a list of the top 100 people to promote your film (critics, bloggers, filmmakers,etc)
15. Determine where & how to utilize a more participatory process in the creation, promotion, exhibition, & appreciation process. Does it make sense for your project to embrace this?
16. How will this project be more than a movie? Is there a live component? An ARG? An ongoing element?
17. How can you reward those who refer others to you? How do you incentivize involvement? What are you going to give back?
18. What will you do next and how can you move your audience from this to that? How will you not have to reinvent the wheel next time?
19. What are you doing differently than everyone else? How will people understand this? Discover this?
20. How are you going to share what you've learned on this project with others?
As I've said, I know I am not doing all of these yet on my current production, but that leaves me something to strive for the one following. The goal is to keep getting better, after all. But man, I wish I could be doing more!
The desire to do more is so huge, but time and resources limit me, limit us. Sometimes it feels like an accomplishment to at least get the film financed. Still though, I can't claim to be doing my job (producing) well if I am not doing all of these. I have to do better. I know it is even harder on smaller jobs. Still though, as much as our job descriptions keep expanding as our salary level decreases, this list is what we must accomplish. Or at least it is the list I think we need to accomplish right now.
I am going to shut up now and get to work. There's too much to be done.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Free Webcam Chat at Ustream
Thursday, November 19, 2009
In the midst of a reception celebrating the nominees for THE BEST FILM NOT PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU, our film critic friend Karina Longworth pulled out her iPhone to show us the just-posted list of the 15 documentaries shortlisted for this year's Academy Awards. As usual, the IFP has great representation on the list, with 3 of the films having gone through one of our programs.
They are: Garbage Dreams (Spotlight on Docs 2006, Good Pitch 2009), The Most Dangerous Man in America (Spotlight on Docs 2007), and Under Our Skin (Spotlight on Docs 2007). Congratulations to our alumni; our fingers are crossed.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Best Films Not Playing at a Theatre Near You are Coming to a Theatre Near You (If you live in New York that is)
One of the signature programs of IFP's Gotham Independent Film Awards, The Best Film Not Playing at a Theatre Near You is a highlight of the holiday season.
For the fourth year running, MoMA’s Department of Film, in association with IFP and its quarterly publication Filmmaker, screens the five nominees for the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You award. The nominees were selected by senior members of the Filmmaker editorial staff—Scott Macaulay, Jason Guerrasio, Brandon Harris, Ray Pride, and Alicia Van Couvering—and by Joshua Siegel, associate curator in MoMA’s Department of Film. The five nominees represent this year's best American independent films on the festival circuit that have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution.
Mike Palmieri and Donal Mosher's beautifully photographed exploration of family, OCTOBER COUNTRY, which has taken the film festival world by storm.
Ry Russo-Young's YOU WON'T MISS ME , which features an astonishing performance by Stella Schnabel and premiered at January's Sundance Film Festival.
Tariq Tapa's ZERO BRIDGE, filmed entirely
in the war-torn city of Srinagar, Kashmir, with a cast of first-time actors and a one-man crew.
Frazer Bradshaw's directorial debut, EVERYTHING STRANGE AND NEW, a haunting film about the disappointment of growing up and the inevitable fracturing of relationships.
And finally, GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH, a delightful musical mash-up directed by Damien Chazelle.
Don't miss this incredible chance to see films that have not been widely distributed. Buy tickets here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Announced on this side on the pond in the midst of Independent Film Week, IFP has joined forces with Shooting People to combine memberships. Last week, in the midst of the UK's biggest and most exciting film festival for nonfiction film, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Jess Search, co-founder of Shooting People (pictured), Ingrid Kopp, US director of Shooting People (pictured), and Danielle DiGiacomo (Community Manager of IFP, and also yours truly) officially announced the dual membership to their 21,948-strong UK constituency.
At the festival, IFP worked to spread the goals and resources of IFP to the international community of filmmakers that attended, including moderating a panel on Documentary Filmmaking: Making a Sustainable Living, while Shooting People ran a Digital Bootcamp as well as a pub quiz at the BritDoc pub (where these happy photos were taken).
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
But first, the obvious question. What happens to the blog now that Independent Film Week has ended? Do we devote all of our items to looking forward (roughly) 358 days toward next year's incarnation? Or do we focus our attention on other IFP programs throughout the year, our intersection with industry trends, independent film landmarks, etc. Why, an obvious question gets an obvious answer. So, in the next few days, we will be transitioning from being the Independent Film Week blog to being the all things IFP blog.
So while we try to brainstorm a new name for the blog, we will leave you with some more press coverage of last week, from the good folks at Film News Briefs, The P.O.V. blog , and The Enzian Blog and The Film Panel Notetaker .
Friday, September 25, 2009
studioc Sad #ifpfilmweek is over. Great panelists Great meetings Great People Thank you IFP Narrative Labs. MAKE GREAT MOVIES EVERYONE. best of luck
JustVisionMedia Finished with a great week at #IFPFilmWeek!
fromthehip All the amazing oranizations heresy the Good Pitch make me feel like I need to do MORE in a big way. #ifpfilmweek
bsroszell It was a lot of fun. See you all in Park City!(fingers crossed...)RT @thetested: it's a wrap. it's all just a swell memory now #ifpfilmweek
markwynns misses being at #ifpfilmweek
markwynns, I feel you.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Full coverage is at the Filmmaker Magazine Blog and Tweets are here , but here are some teaser excerpts:
"After meetings, hung out at the Project Forum cocktail thingy and debriefed with some IFP doc labbers who I hadn't seen since April. Anna Farrel impressed me to no end by distributing small jars of homemade jam to industry folks. There's a really lovely and lyrical scene in her film, Twelve Ways to Sunday, where one of the characters cooks jam" -- Rebecca Richman Cohen
"There is an opportunity to learn about and take advantage of alternate revenue streams to generate funds, not only for a current project, but the one to follow." - Pamela Cohn
"This felt like a strong set of meetings because these were people who seemed ready and able to do business. Participants were selecting our project out of interest in our project dossier, which we know to be enticing due to its unique concept. These were not assigned meetings." -- Jennifer Phang
luria Mira nair is lovely. Simply lovely. I am smitten. #ifpfilmweek
thetested Aw snap! RT @bsroszell "The Tested had shades of Mean Streets. The director will do big things" #ifpfilmweek
telegraph21 " the web is another artistic instrument" Asiel Norton. well said at #IFPFilmweek
Do follow the full coverage!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Observe the black and white photos of two of the world's most famous, and enduringly successful, independent filmmakers.
Where were these photos taken? Why, Independent Film Weeks of years past (technically, they were then known as the IFP Market). Flash forward to today: There is palpable excitement in the air at IFP's DUMBO headquarters as a couple dozen of us prepare for the 31st annual Independent Film Week, which starts, astonishingly, tomorrow at 10 am! And the web is reflecting this excitement. Starting today, and for the next week, participants of all stripes - from first time filmmakers in the Emerging Narrative section to seasoned producers moderating panels - will be blogging and "Tweeting" about the action.
Already, a few filmmakers participating in The Project Forum have posted about what they are expecting in the coming days. These entries can be found at the Filmmaker Magazine blog. Throughout the week, the following filmmakers, will post at least twice about their experiences:
Kristi Jacobson (HUNGRY IN AMERICA, Spotlight on Documentaries)
Paul Lovelace & Jessica Wolfson, a.k.a. Lost Footage Films (RADIO UNNAMEABLE, Spotlight on Documentaries)
Rebecca Richman Cohen (WAR DON DON, Spotlight on Documentaries)
Jennifer Phang (LOOK FOR WATER, No Borders)
Noah Harlan (FREE IN DEED, No Borders)
Melissa B. Miller (THE TESTED, Emerging Narratives)
We also have a series of Industry Twitterers who will be tracking the action in Tweet-forms. look for the Hash tag #IFPWeek. The first Tweet is from the incomparable Ryan Harrington, who will be wearing two hats during the week - as a conference panelist and Executive Producer in Spotlight on Docs. Make sure to check in daily on this blog, on Twitter, and at Filmmaker Magazine blog. See you at F.I.T.!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Day Five(9/4): Ianfischer Want to see who represents panel #indiegogo #IFPFilmweek
Day Six (9/7): monkeyplex #indiegogo #IFPFilmweek L.A. invasion for The Next Wave of Distribution & Unlocking Global Financing. Gotta love the indie red-eye!
Day Seven (9/8): hhwj #indiegogo #IFPFilmweek. Who is A CONVERSATION WITH… (The Truth About Non-Fiction)? Suspense is killing me.
Day Eight (9/9): anneflournoy @Emerging_Artist #IFPFilmweek was where the film was 1st shown and picked up interest which lead directly to Sundance #indiegogo
7 DAYS & 7 TICKETS LEFT! So enter now! The rules are listed here
And to answer hhwj's question -- the CONVERSATION with is R.J. Cutler, director of THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE, the year's most glamorous documentary.
As for the panels chosen by the winners, here are full descriptions and links:
WHO REPRESENTS?: ALL ABOUT AGENTS AND MANAGERS
Leading agents, managers, and lawyers are part of your resource team. How can they best guide your project from pre-production, through sales and distribution?
Jamin O’Brien, Producer - Worldview Entertainment LLC
Mary Jane Skalski, Producer - Next Wednesday
Josh Blum, Manager - Washington Squares Pictures
Kevin Iwashima, Sales Agent - IP Advisors
Dana O'Keefe, Sales Agent - Cinetic Media
Brad Petrigala, Talent Agent - Brillstein-Gray Partners
THE NEXT WAVE OF DISTRIBUTION
Join a panel of filmmakers, distributors and film exhibitionist who are thinking outside the box about new ways of getting films out to audiences. Find out how this “next wave” is effectively implementing their cutting edge ideas from new models in exhibition to varied forms of DIY and digital distribution.
Eugene Hernandez, Editor - IndieWire
Jake Abraham, Producer - Lovely By Surprise
Orly Ravid, Partner – New American Vision
Todd Sklar, Founder – Range Life Entertainment
UNLOCKING GLOBAL FINANCING OPPORTUNITIES
How do you begin to navigate financing opportunities within the international marketplace for your film? Do pre-sales exist anymore? Learn from industry experts how American independents are taking steps to secure financing within and outside our borders.
Dylan Leiner, Executive VP of Acquisitions & Production - Sony Pictures Classics
Charlotte Mickie, President, International Sales - Entertainment One
Michael Ryan, Producer/Journalist - Greyshack Films - Life During Wartime
Himesh Kar - New Cinema Fund, UK Film Council
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Ondi Timoner's extremely relevant documentary WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, about the internet pioneer Josh Harris, who basically predicted over 15 years ago that we would all be walking around ignoring each other while updating our Facebook status via our Blackberries, opened in New York last week.
If you saw the film, and you still aren't convinced that we do in fact, live in the "public" that is the virtual webosphere, then take this humorous piece from The Onion, mocking the panic people felt when Google went down for a couple of hours. I for one was at an internet cafe, laptop in hand, having a business meeting that centered entirely around Google Docs. And while my colleague and I tried to figure out what was wrong, I got several emails about "Google being down" and heard several conversations around me about it as well.
Now, how is this relevant to the Independent Film Week, in which human interaction and networking is the centerpiece? Well, one of the panels that is generating the most buzz is called CROWD SOURCING: BUILDING FANS, BLOGGERS, AND PRESS ALLIES. Moderated by Ingrid Kopp, director of the online filmmaker networking organization, Shooting People, the panel discusses ways of building audience via the plethora of Internet tools that are available.
The formal description: "From the start of a new project, filmmakers are bringing in audiences, press, fans, and friends to help shape their content and build word-of-mouth. Find out how to increase and retain viewers using new technology and strategic web building – and why doing so sooner rather than later is critical to getting your latest project noticed."
In this difficult financial climate, internet outreach and promotion has become essential in getting a eyeballs on a film. In short "eyeballs on a laptop" is the new "butts in seats" making this upcoming panel is pretty much essential viewing.
For more information and tickets to the panel: go here.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Over at the IndieGoGo blog the team is working hard to pick daily winners. These are the awarded thus far and their winning entries.
Day One (8/31) : comike011 ART HOUSE & ALTERNATIVE VENUE PROGRAMMING looks good #indiegogo #IFPFilmweek
Day Two (9/1): erincrum #IFPFilmweek #indiegogo Also, want to see this panel: PAYING THE BILLS – SUSTAINING YOUR FILM CAREER
Day Three (9/2): MalikMcNish #indiegogo #IFPFilmweek I can't wait to attend the FRESH FUNDING: MODERN IDEAS FOR DOC FINANCING panel
12 DAYS & 12 TICKETS LEFT! So enter now. Again, to enter:
1. Twitter about your favorite IFP Conference panel session
2. Include both #indiegogo and #IFPFilmweek in your tweets
3. No limit on number of tweets per twitterer per day (no bots please :)
Here are the descriptions of the panels the winners are most exciting to see.
ART HOUSE AND ALTERNATIVE VENUE PROGRAMMING
As audiences for films become more segmented, how can filmmakers work directly with art house and alternative venue programmers to showcase their latest content and bring audiences back to the theatres? This session will bring together DIY filmmakers and programmers to discuss what works best to market, position, and program independent films in art house theatres and alternative venues, and how to maximize financial impact for both parties.
Josh Braun, Sales Agent - Submarine Entertainment
Heather Winters, Producer - Studio On Hudson
Josh Green, VP Distribution - Emerging Pictures
Ned Hinkle, Creative Director - Brattle Theater, Boston
Mark Elijah Rosenberg, Artistic Director - Rooftop Films
PAYING THE BILLS: SUSTAINING YOUR FILM CAREER
How do you make a living as an independent filmmaker? Hear talented filmmakers in different levels of their careers discuss their day jobs, and how they carve out time and money to make their personal work.
Esther Robinson,Filmmaker/Journalist - Filmmaker Magazine
Tze Chun, Filmmaker - Children of Invention
Jesse Epstein, Filmmaker - Wet Dreams and False Images
Ross Kauffman, Filmmaker - Born Into Brothels
Reva Goldberg, Communications/ Special Projects - Cinereach
FRESH FUNDING: MODERN IDEAS FOR DOC FINANCING
How do you navigate the array of options to fund your next non-fiction project? Learn the big picture of documentary financing and current sales trends to keep your film on track from start to completion.
Louise Rosen, Agent - Louise Rosen LTD
Peter Broderick, President - Paradigm Consulting
Katy Chevigny, Executive Director - Arts Engine Etc.
Wendy Ettinger, Co-Founder - Chicken & Egg Pictures
Julie Goldman, Partner - Cactus Three Films
Ryan Harrington, Consultant - Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
Monday, August 31, 2009
Tickets include access to all 30 conference panels during Independent Film Week (Sept 19-23)
1. Twitter about your favorite IFP Conference panel session
2. Include both #indiegogo and #IFPFilmweek in your tweets
3. No limit on number of tweets per twitterer per day (no bots please :)
Daily IndieGoGo "Twinners" will be selected at random from the respective day's tweets.
IndieGoGo provides tools for fundraising, promotion, and discovery. The platform enables people to showcase their work, mobilize their fans, and DIWO (Do-It-With-Others!). Members have raised over $150,000 to date and used IndieGoGo in over 90 countries.
Friday, August 28, 2009
IFP Lab Advisor, Mentor and Independent Film Conference panelist Ted Hope receives Filmmakers Alliance award
But for now, watch his moving speech here. and continued here
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Almost a year after writer-director extraordinaire Bryan Wizemann participated in Independent Film Week's Project Forum last year, he very generously agreed to recap his incredible year for me. Bryan, like all our Project alumni, is most definitely a filmmaking force to be watched! Here he is:
"Attending the IFP market last year proved invaluable. Our meeting with Amy Slotnick (Frida) directly led to our screenplay being optioned by Jamin O'Brien and Worldview Entertainment. They are out to directors right now and development is moving quickly. The script is called Humor Me, written with Andrew Semans, and it follows a woman who gets dumped because she's just not funny, and the movie follows her along as she tries to become funny. It has all the hallmarks of a high-concept romantic comedy, but retains an indie sensibility. We have high hopes for it.
During that year, a short of mine got released into the online ether. Called Film Makes Us Happy, it's a short doc that portends to be the last fight my wife and I will ever have about making films. I could describe it, but better just to watch it, it's currently the featured film at Wholphin's website alongside a short interview.
What I'm probably most excited about is working with the producer Mike S. Ryan toward making the feature An Entire Body. It's a dark, dramatic work, which doesn't make development any easier, especially when most independent financing has evaporated, but we're close. The script won a national award not too long ago, and we've attracted some great people. We're one lead actress away, so cross your fingers... Any additional info on any of the film work can be found at http://ballastfilms.com/"
So follow Bryan on his website, and follow more checking in from IFW alumni on this blog. And if you have an experience to share, you know who to contact.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Approximately 11 months ago, I sat across a table from director Ian Olds and his producer Nancy Roth. With his delicate features and perfectly coiffed hair, Olds certainly doesn't look like a guy who has spent months in two of the most harrowing and war-torn countries in the world: Iraq and Afghanistan. Olds was there with his feature film, FIXER: THE TAKING OF AJMAL NAQSHBANDI
A feature-length documentary, FIXER follows the relationship between an Afghan interpreter and his client, American journalist Christian Parenti. This intimate portrait of two colleagues shifts dramatically when Ajmal is kidnapped along with an Italian reporter and ultimately, murdered. I had been familiar with the film previously, while on the voting committee at the Tribeca Gucci Fund, which gave the film a much-deserved grant.
Since meeting with Ian at IFP, he and his film enjoyed incredible success. Along with being broadcast on HBO in the next couple of weeks (see schedule here ) won raves at festivals across the world, from IFF Rotterdam to Tribeca Film Festival, where Olds won the " Best New Documentary Filmmaker" award, and Olds was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film .
Nest up for Ian, he told me recently, is a return to fiction film. I can definitely expect him back at Film Week in the future; he is a filmmaking force to be reckoned with.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The first Independent Film Week blog poll closed its voting today. The winner is Courtney Hunt's Sundance-winning FROZEN RIVER.
Here are the results broken down.
1. Frozen River - directed by Courtney Hunt
2. Paris is Burning - directed by Jennie Livingston
3. Roger and Me - directed by Michael Moore
4. (A TIE) Slacker - directed by Richard Linklater and Clerks - directed by Kevin Smith
Not so keen on the comedies, guys?
Thanks everyone for voting, and a new poll will be posted tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The film, according to Filmmaker Magazine's Scott Macauley is "a teen drama that references (with, by the way, both imagination and restraint) the classic “good girl corrupted by the bad” storyline familiar from films like Thirteen and Poison Ivy. But it‘s also an affectionate and good-hearted homage to not only seminal films of the 1960s but also to the heady rush of young artistic discovery familiar to any sensitive ex-high schooler. Cassidy‘s tale of the contemporary mod subculture — teens in geometrically balanced dresses and suits who listen to British-flavored rock and ska and drive Vespa scooters — is full of knowing nods to Antonioni‘s Blow-Up, Godard‘s Bande à part and the films of William Klein.
is a dual alum of IFP - first IFP Narrative Rough Cut Lab and then last year's Independent Film Week. In her first entry, Cassidy wrote of her first meetings. An excerpt: "My first meeting was with Stephen Raphael of Requiring Viewing a very cool guy who is working with Lance Hammer and his film Ballast.I also met with the awesome Scott Macaulay, Sam Sibble of the Film Sales Company, Jared Moshe of Sidetrack Films, and Josh Green of Emerging Pictures. It was an invaluable opportunity to have access to such amazing film people."
Since her time at Independent Film Week, Cassidy has been featured in IndieWire, played several festivals – from San Francisco to Brisbane, Australia, and won three awards at OutFest - The Outfest 2009 Audience Award For Outstanding First U.S. Dramatic Feature Film (Cash Prize Of $5,000 From HBO), The Outfest 2009 Audience Award For Outstanding Soundtrack, and The Outfest 2009 Grand Jury Award For Outstanding Screenwriting.
More updates daily on past Independent Film Week filmmakers, and if anyone else has a success story to share, please comment.
Friday, August 14, 2009
It's wonderful of course, to see one's organization supporting amazing and successful filmmakers. But what is also interesting is the various ways that the films roll out in our ever-shifting distribution landscape, and how everything these filmmakers deal with -- every decision they and their dedicated teams make - is something that is continually shifting, and being addressed throughout the Week, by them and their colleagues, at the Filmmaker Conference.
Take distribution - a subject of much angst, confusion, fascination, excitement. If you look at the films in the newsletter for the last two weeks, you can see the broad array of distribution paths different films take these days. COLD SOULS, Sophie Barthes' philosedy (when this term takes of in the same way as "Mumblecore," please credit me) took the path of least resistance - traditional arthouse theatrical. While the social issue documentary MADE IN L.A. rocked out the multi-platform hybrid release with not only a PBS broadcast, but multiple ways of distributing the DVD - which includes allowing organizations of different sizes to put on screenings that will benefit their own related missions. While the MADE IN L.A. team (Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo) were able to be effective by partnering their unique self-distribution ideas with more traditional distributors - PBS and California Newsreel - the innovative filmmaker Nina Paley created an bold new way of self-distributing her daring and genre-defying film SITA SINGS THE BLUES. Using the Creative Commons share-alike license, she writes on her website, she is able to ask anyone to "please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues."
So while in one room, filmmakers like Barthes, Bahar, and Carracedo are sitting at tables, pitching their projects to producers, distributors, and broadcasters, other tastemakers and filmmakers are in another, engaging in enlightening conversations about the ways in which these films can intersect with an audience.
And this is just one example of the synthesis that is Independent Film Week - a true coupling of practice - working filmmakers finding funds, finding distribution - and theory -- panels discussing big questions like where will distribution go next? How does Web 2.0 affect this? What are the new innovations? How can social media help with financing? By the time the Conference rolls around, some of the answers may be different than they are today.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
The lineup for the Good Pitch at IFP’s Independent Film Week, taking place in New York City on 24 September was announced today.
The Good Pitch brings together inspiring social-justice film projects and a group of expert participants from charities, foundations, brands, government and media to form powerful alliances around groundbreaking films. For more information see The Good Pitch Website
The Good Pitch in North America is a partnership between the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP), generously supported by the Fledgling Fund, Working Films, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tides Foundation and anonymous donors.
From nearly 200 applications, eight filmmaking teams have been selected to pitch their films and outreach campaigns to an invited audience, in order to amplify the impact of their social-issue documentary projects.
The selected filmmakers are Michael L. Brown (25 to Life), Glenn Baker (Easy Like Water), Mai Iskander (Garbage Dreams), Beth Davenport and Elizabeth Mandel (Rose & Nangabire), Gayle Ferraro (To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America), Beth Murphy (What Tomorrow Brings), Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern (Youthbuild) and Mary Ann Smothers Bruni (Zhinan).
For the full press release, visit: http://www.ifp.org/ifpnews/newsitem.php?id=653
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Note: this post was published in IndieWire in August of 2007.
Doc Filmmakers Guide to the IFP Market
By Agnes Varnum
Approaching its 29th incarnation, running from September 16 -19, the Independent Feature Project’s Market has become an important stop for documentary films. Unlike a festival, the Market is intended to give buyers and festival programmers a peek at new work. Through closed screenings, networking meetings like “speed dating” as well as buyer-requested one-on-ones, and a host of typical parties and social opportunities, to the uninitiated, the Market can be, as IFP executive director Michelle Byrd called it, “mystifying.”
This year, the Spotlight on Documentaries section of the Market (there are also programs for narrative work—No Borders and Emerging Narrative), will host 65 work-in-progress, 20 completed features and 6 completed short projects. Director of programming Milton Tabbot notes, “An interesting theme this year are science-related projects, and projects by new filmmakers from other disciplines, particularly performing arts. We saw less of the kids-in-competition projects than we have in the past few years.” The 91 selected projects represent about 20% of the total submissions, so the programming is highly selective. “Filmmakers should consider whether their work is ready for industry exposure. Few projects in the Market are in the first stages of development, though presentation is important. A great pitch will get in, even if it’s early.”
An important aspect of what the Market offers its selected projects is screenings at the Angelika Theater. Only open to the industry representatives accredited by the Market, they offer a chance for filmmakers to see their work on the big screen, often for the first time. Christopher Wong, who attended the 2006 Market with “Whatever It Takes,” said, “The screening allowed me to judge the reaction of a totally unbiased audience to my film. I got the chance to see what was funny, what made people cry, and also what didn't work.”
After scheduling a single screening for each project, remaining open slots are sold. Wong and others advise purchasing an additional screening if possible. However, a Market alumnus who preferred to remain anonymous notes, “Everything had a price tag on it and a hefty one at that. If you want an extra screening, pay this. If you want a full page ad in the catalog, pay that…Before it was all said and done we paid close to $1000 and this didn't include the cost of lab fees and press materials.” But, for many, the opportunity to network with the industry heavy-hitters in attendance outweighs the sometimes hefty price tag of attending.
Jeremy Stulberg, who attended the 2005 Market with “Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa,” then in the early stages of development, said, “We met our Consulting Producer Emily Gardiner Herzog there [and] we also had a meeting with Diana Holtzberg and Jan Rofekamp of Films Transit International, who ultimately ended up repping the film.” Most of the filmmakers surveyed for this article advised managing expectations—that you probably won’t walk away with a distributor or a pocketful of cash but as Hugo Perez (2006 Market with “In the Footsteps of Orpheus” and 2007 with “Summer Sun, Winter Moon”) put it, “Think of your meetings (official and otherwise) as the beginning of a conversation that will continue to play out after the market is over.”
This year will see 31 filmmakers who have attended the Market in the past. Shannon O'Rourke (2006 and 2007 with “Maybe Baby”) and Tracy Heather Strain (2006 with “Lorraine Hansberry Project”) have seen 10 Markets between them. Both offered that connecting to other filmmakers can be as fruitful as making industry connections. O’Rourke said, “It's a really fun venue for meeting other filmmakers, seeing and supporting each other's projects, and connecting as artists in a country with drastically diminishing sources of funding for independent filmmakers.” Strain adds, “We help promote each other's projects.”
If you are keeping track, advice so far is mange your expectations of what will happen during the 4-day gathering, don’t go overboard on spending and be open to networking with other filmmakers. Michael Chandler, (2006 Market with “Knee Deep” and 2007 with “Greedy Trial Lawyers: Will We Miss Them When They're Gone?”) advises “It is intense: be prepared for hectic.” Chandler pointed out that the industry reps by and large hadn’t seen material from his film at the time of their meetings. Byrd told indieWIRE that in response to feedback from last year, DVDs with 3-minute clips from all documentary projects have been sent to buyers in advance. So, in addition to a dossier with written synopsis submitted by filmmakers, buyers also now have the opportunity to watch clips in advance. Advice about showing clips? Chandler said, “I saw one woman showing Hans Robert Eisenhauer [Arte/ZDF] a video on her laptop--a good idea for next time.”
Who can you expect to meet at the Market? A big portion of the program for works-in-progress are buyer-requested meetings. After perusing the dossier, industry reps from long-time Market supporters like HBO, PBS and ITVS, A&E Indie Films and the Sundance Channel, and new this year, Participant Productions and BMP Films, tell Market staff with which filmmakers they want to have a half-hour meeting. The Market schedules those meetings and provides filmmakers with a schedule. Not in works-in-progress? Attend the speed dating events and networking breakfast and luncheon hosted by sponsoring companies.
Some projects have lots of meetings while others may have only a few. Strain said, “I try not to compare when other projects and filmmakers receive more favorable time slots, bigger screening audiences, longer meeting lists, or more personal messages…instead, I ask myself things like: ‘Did I present my project in the most compelling way in print and in my pitches?,’ ‘Was my application sample strong?,’ ‘How much time did I spend inviting people to my screening before I left home as well as at the Market?’ and ‘Are my marketing materials effective?’”
In addition to screenings and one-on-one meetings, there is a tape library. Some buyers will camp out in front of the small screen to see as much as possible. In addition to providing filmmakers with a list of the people who attended your screening, filmmakers also receive a list of who watched your film in the tape library. Says Tabbot, “The usual thank-yous to people you meet with is an important follow-up step, but also, stay in touch with IFP. We want to serve as advocates for Market alumni, whether it is putting in a good word with a festival or announcing updates in our newsletter.”
Awards and prizes at the Market vary each year. This year, The Fledgling Foundation is sponsoring awards for a socially conscious project and an Emerging Latino Filmmaker award. Nominees will be announced at a later date. In 2004, “La Sierra” won a Best Feature Documentary award and went on to have a very successful run. Andrew Blackwell (2004 with “La Sierra”) said, “Without [the Market], showing up at our first big festival would have been more of a shock, and we would have been less prepared.”
The piece of advice repeated over and over from each of the filmmakers who contributed to this article, is best said by Sarah Jo Marks (2006 with JUMP! and 2007 with “Girls on the Wall”), “Think about not just this project, but future projects and use this opportunity to meet people that can help further your career. And have fun! You're in New York, eat a good meal, enjoy the city.” Tabbot concluded with, “If you have questions, call me. We are here to help ease anxiety and to give the best advice we can.”
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
For more coverage of Independent Film Week, continue to check back as we announce highlights and details and aggregate press coverage.
Monday, August 10, 2009
With that in mind, we have designed a new survey allowing you guys to tell it like it is -- be as honest as possible; we are looking to the future here!
If you are a fast typer-slash-thinker, it shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes; if you however, prefer to pour yourself a mimosa and langorously ponder these very important questions, perhaps you will enjoy 45 minutes of thinking about the independent film community and your role in it. Thanks so much! Here is the survey:
Click HERE to take it!
IFP’S 31st ANNUAL INDEPENDENT FILM WEEK LINE-UP ANNOUNCED
116 INVITED TO THE PROJECT FORUM INCLUDING NEW PROJECTS TO BE DIRECTED BY JODIE FOSTER, FRED SCHEPISI and NUMEROUS DOCUMENTARY VETERANS
NEW STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, B-SIDE AND THE GOOD PITCH
Monday, August 10, 2009 (New York, NY) – IFP, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, announced today the line-up of its Project Forum of the 31st Annual Independent Film Week taking place in NYC September 19 – 24.
Additionally, it announced the expansion of its strategic relationship with the Sundance Institute; and new partnerships with B-Side, the four-year-old tech company which runs websites that handle ticketing and mine audience response data for 250-plus fests in North America, and The Good Pitch, a forum produced by Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation which brings together inspiring social-purpose film projects and a group of expert participants from charities, foundations, brands, government and media to form powerful alliances around groundbreaking films.
Formerly known as the IFP Market, Independent Film Week is the oldest and largest forum in the U.S. and is qualitatively and quantitatively the best and biggest opportunity for an independent filmmaker to connect with industry professionals – including producers, funders, distributors, broadcasters, sales agents and festival programmers. It is the only forum in the
A total of 116 projects have been invited to the Project Forum. Acceptance is by invitation only, and free of charge to filmmakers. All projects are accepted based on artistic merit. Projects participate in one of three sections: Emerging Narrative (for first-time feature directors currently in post seeking representation, completion funding, and festival invitations), No Borders International Co-Production Market (for producers with partial financing seeking additional partners), and Spotlight on Documentaries (for filmmakers in production, post, or with a completed film seeking financing partners, broadcast/distribution, and festival invitations). (See attached for a complete list of accepted projects).
“IFP’s niche has always been the presentation of projects in development,” says Michelle Byrd, executive director, IFP. “We’re really pleased to extend the efficiency of Independent Film Week to play host to a new strategic partner in The Good Pitch, and to greatly expand our decades-long collaborative relationship with the Sundance Institute. And with the support of B-Side, we will dramatically increase our technical proficiency and tools.”
Read the rest of the release here.
IndieWire also has the story!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
September 19 – 23, 2009,
IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Conference is the must-attend event for film and media professionals to learn how today’s creative choices and business decisions are impacting tomorrow’s artists, industry and audiences. Taking place during Independent Film Week, the Conference will include advice from pioneering independent filmmakers and insights from esteemed industry leaders.
Panelists and Keynotes to be announced soon!
For updates and more info, go to www.filmmakerconference.com
To purchase passes now, go to http://conference.ifp.org/filmmaker_conference/purchase.html
About IFP's Independent Filmmaker Conference
Running concurrently with the 31st Independent Film Week (formerly IFP Market), the Conference addresses creative initiatives, critical technology, current issues, and global marketplace trends through diverse panel discussions, case studies, and keynotes. The Conference is a must-attend social networking opportunity for creative professionals wanting access to the discussion on filmmaking in the current landscape – and where it’s heading next.
After debuting with a program in the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers' voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP believes that independent films broaden the palette of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism.
Currently, IFP represent a network of 10,000 filmmakers in