Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Narrative Lab Deadline Extended to April 2!

IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs is the only program in the country that supports emerging independent filmmakers with projects in post-production through the completion, marketing and distribution of their first feature film.

This free, year-long mentoring fellowship supports ten narrative projects each year, providing them with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers.

If you're a first-time narrative feature director with a project in assembly, rough or fine cut, this is the program to help you get your film into shape.

Beginning with the five-day intensive in New York (June 7-11), selected projects gain editorial feedback, assess strategic partnerships & marketing opportunities, and evaluate their options for maximizing the reach of their film via festivals, traditional theatrical roll-outs or through innovative, DIY distribution methods. Filmmakers also meet with cutting-edge technologists to build their brands, as well as explore the myriad of modern web and promotional tools necessary to build engaged audiences for their projects.

The year following the Narrative Lab includes continued mentorship, collaborating on a distribution strategy specific to your film, and participation in IFP's Independent Film Week: Emerging Narrative program.

Past Narrative Lab Alumni have premiered at Slamdance (The Guatemalan Handshake; The New Year Parade), Sundance (The Imperialists Are Still Alive!; Half-Life), SXSW (Jumping Off Bridges; Older Than America; Rainbow Around the Sun; Sorry, Thanks; St. Nick; The Wedding Bros.; Woodpecker), Toronto (The Real Shaolin), and Venice (Zero Bridge).

Deadline for Narrative works-in-progress just extended to April 2!
More info and applications at http://Labs.ifp.org

Monday, March 22, 2010

IFP Alum PUTTY HILL take on Austin!

The Putty Hill gang, getting chicken and waffles: Marc, Steve, Joyce, Jeremy, Matt, Amy, Eric, Rachael, Jordan

Last Saturday I departed a wet and blustery Baltimore for SxSW with Putty Hill director Matt Porterfield, editor Marc Vives, and our friend Amy Belk. As soon as we stepped out of the airport into Austin's perfect, sunny, 77 degree weather, we knew immediately that it would be an amazing trip. We drove with the windows down just because we could, looked out in awe of the new landscape, and psyched ourselves out for the delicious meals to be had with every BBQ and taco joint we passed.

We arrived at the charming house we'd be renting for the week, just over a mile outside downtown Austin, and couldn't resist relaxing outside for a while just to take it all in. When we finally went to pick up our badges at the Austin Convention Center, the hub of SxSW, we were overwhelmed. As we made our way through a sea of film and interactive attendees and volunteers, we passed the trade show over here, promotional stands and panel rooms over there, and hundreds of posters hanging up everywhere. There was no doubt that this festival, in true Texan spirit, was huge.

On Sunday evening, the whole Putty Hill family got together: Myself, Matt, Marc, Amy, Jeremy Saulnier (cinematographer), Eric Bannat (producer), Steve Holmgren (producer), and Rachael Rakes (publicist). Even our producer and co-writer Jordan Mintzer flew in from Paris and spent less than 24 hours in Austin just to make the premiere. We met up at a food truck on E. 6th St called Lucky J's to enjoy some pre-North American premiere chicken and waffle tacos, which, I might add, were delicious and are highly recommended.

Our premiere was at the Alamo Lamar, one of the bigger theaters at the festival. There were some minor issues with the image quality of our projection, but no one seemed to mind as the film was very well received by our audience. One woman even commented that Putty Hill was the most authentic film she has ever seen(!)... does it get better than that? Following our North American premiere, in true Putty fashion the team went to local dive bar The Liberty for a modest but memorable celebration. We don't remember what happened next.

Our two remaining screenings were at the Alamo Ritz, in the heart of downtown on 6th street. This theater was smaller but a nice size; more intimate, and very well-suited for our film. Matt, Marc, Amy and I all sat through the final screening last night, and we were glad we did because it was an interesting experience watching the film with an American audience after our premiere last month in Berlin. I enjoyed hearing laughter at certain nuances and moments of humor in the film, which I think were missed in our screenings in Germany. The projection looked perfect, and again we had a really wonderful Q&A with people who were enthusiastic about the film and asked thoughtful questions.

Q and A session

Aside from the beautiful weather, friendly atmosphere of Austin, and our successful screenings, I can't forget to mention another highlight of this trip... the FOOD. I love the food truck culture in Austin and my favorite was Chi'lantro, which served up Korean-Mexican fusion. The Al Pastor plate from Al Pastor restaurant, as introduced by SxSW Manager/Programmer Jarod Neece, was a delicious deal. We even ventured out to Driftwood, TX to eat at the famous Salt Lick, which was easily the best BBQ I've ever had.
Salt Lick BBQ

After all these eats it's likely I'm returning home 20 pounds heavier, but I'm also returning 20 pounds happier. Overall, it's been an amazing trip. We've met some wonderful filmmakers, made new fans and friends, all the while accumulating some great press – and it's just the beginning! In April alone, Putty Hill will screen at BAFICI (Buenos Aires), CPH PIX (Copenhagen), Atlanta, and IFF Boston. If you haven't seen the film yet, what are you waiting for? Matt will be attending all of these festivals, so please come out to say hi! I, in the meantime, will hang back in Baltimore to work off these tacos...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Watch IFP's SCRIPT TO SCREEN CONFERENCE this weekend on UStream!

In a historic first for IFP, we will be streaming 6 out of the 11 panels of this weekend's SCRIPT TO SCREEN CONFERENCE on our Ustream.tv Channel here or in the middle of our homepage.

So even if you're away from the city, you can still see Terry George (HOTEL RWANDA), Steve Bodow (THE DAILY SHOW), Lena Dunham (TINY FURNITURE) and numerous others talk about making a career in independent film.

The streamed panels will be:

Networking & Notice Workshops, Contests & Competitions | 11-12 PM
Moderated by Rachel Chanoff, SUNDANCE SCREENWRITERS' LAB
Featuring Gordy Hoffman, BLUECAT SCREENWRITING COMPETITION; Tamir Muhammad, Director, TRIBECA ALL ACCESS; David Nugent, Director of Programming, HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL; and Paul Rachman, Co-Founder, SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

Conversation With Steve Bodow, Head Writer, THE DAILY SHOW | 12-1 PM
Moderated by Jason Guerrasio, Managing Editor, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

Double Duty: Directing Your Own Script | 3:30-4:30 PM
Moderated by Brandon Harris, Contributing Editor, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE


Sunday, March 21

Conversation With Terry George, HOTEL RWANDA | 2-3PM
Moderated by Scott Macaulay, Editor in Chief, FILMMAKER MAGAZINE.

Writing for a New Landscape: New Media & Cross-Platform Opportunities 3-4PM
Moderated by Christian Vesper, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions, Program Planning and Scheduling, SUNDANCE CHANNEL
Featuring Keith Bunin, Writer, IN TREATMENT; Lena Dunham, Writer/Director, TIGHT SHOTS, DELUSIONAL DOWNTOWN DIVAS; Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo and Zack Lieberman, Writers/Directors/Producers, THE WEST SIDE

Conversation with Brian Koppelman, SOLITARY MAN | 5-6PM

Moderated by Elvis Mitchell, Film Critic

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rebecca Richman Cohen, IFP Alum/Director of WAR DON DON, blogs from Tamale-land

Left to right Daniel Chalfen, Francisco Bello, Rebecca Richman Cohen, and David Menschel

Hi blog readers,

I’m the director of War Don Don – a feature length documentary premièring in competition at SXSW. I’m totally bleary-eyed, but also still giddy from excitement of bringing the film into the world. It’s been a whirlwind few days between screenings and barbeque and meetings and breakfast tacos and parties and superb guacamole. I have not gone hungry in this city, and while I’m keen to write some restaurant reviews, I’ll keep my blogging to the cinema.

I’ve found Austin audiences to be as warm and lovely as Austin weather - and both our screenings were well-received, followed by engaged and thoughtful questions at Q&A. The festival has been in excellent order and things have moved seamlessly. It’s been busy, but I’ve had time to see some other films – and there are some very very good ones out there. NY Export: Opus Jazz and Marwencol were two that I found captivating. The Canal Street Madam had an excellent audience response. When things quiet down after tomorrow, I’ll see more.

SXSW really feels like a place where things are moving and shaking in exciting ways. The interactive part of the festival seems to be generating a lot of exciting new ideas, and dare I say: toys. I’m game to explore some of that tomorrow! But for now, I’m off to do whatever it is that we filmmakers do. And I’m hoping that it includes tamales like last night...

5 IFP Alumni Win a Chance to Pitch at the Script to Screen Conference

Five lucky IFP Program alumni have won a free pass to this weekend's Script to Screen Conference, based on the strength of their one-sentence pitches. The five filmmakers and their projects are:

Brian Iglesias, THE MESSIAH
Shari Carpenter, SATURDAY'S CHILD

The five winners will be able to pitch to the following panel:
Mike Ryan, Producer, JUNEBUG, PALINDROMES; Johnathan Dorfman, Producer, CHOKE, JOSHUA, SAVAGE GRACE; Ryan Kampe; Sales Agent/Partner, VISIT FILMS; Annie Marter, Director of Production and Acquisitions, OVERTURE FILMS
on Saturday, March 20th at 1:30 pm.

To see what the winning pitches are, and how these filmmakers fare, purchase your weekend pass now!

SXSW Update: Mostly Film Marketing

Good morning from SXSW! I’ve got just over a full day left at the fest, and I’m starting it with screenings of two IFP films in competition – Miao Wang’s Beijing Taxi and Cameron Yates’ The Canal Street Madam. Both have had outstanding marketing schemes at the fest. At the Beijing Taxi party – Beijinger 80s-style punkrock bands playing in a Mexican bar – Miao (with her parents as assistant marketers) sold t-shirts and one-of-a-kind flipbooks showing scenes from the film. The Canal Street Madam branded condoms, including their screening times, were a huge hit at all the parties. Looking forward to seeing both films at the Alamo Lamar today. I am in love with that theater chain (thou I am certainly not their only suitor) – there’s nothing quite like being served pizza, beer, and a chocolate peanut butter milkshake during a film.

SXSW has have commissioned a series of 30-second intro reels, magical realism hazards of filmmaking, from filmmaker David Lowery (his St. Nick is a Narrative Lab alum and premiered at SXSW 09). SXSW's originality has made the filmmakers here step up their game. Life 2.0 had a Q&A via Second Life, the Happy Poet team parked the vegetarian food cart that is the center of the film in front of the theater (I'm pressing them to put recipes on their website), and to my glee, everyone seems to have clever 1/2" buttons with images from their films.

Yesterday I was a Programmer in one of SXSW’s Mentor Sessions. I’ve only ever been on the producing side of this event, so it was fun to have my own speed dating table and meet new filmmakers working on great projects.

The SXSW jury awards presentation is tonight - fingers crossed for our films in competition!

-Rose Vincelli, IFP Program Manager

Monday, March 15, 2010

Robin Wilby, IFP Alum, World Premieres LOOP PLANES at SXSW

Yesterday was a momentous day of firsts: my first time in Austin, TX; the first time I've ever seen a film I directed play at a "real" festival; and the world-premiere of my short film LOOP PLANES.

My producer (Julie) and I began our adventure to the SXSW Festival in the midst of a horrible NYC rainstorm and a delayed flight. There was quite a bit of terrifying turbulence, but I got to watch UP IN THE AIR, so it wasn't so bad. We were welcomed into Austin by beautiful 70 degree weather and met up with "Loop Planes" Co-Writer (Austen) and her Fiance (Jason), who had flown in from LA. I immediately fell in love with Austin, it's such a beautiful city, brimming with exciting and positive energy. The Festival itself is enormous and includes: Film, Interactive Media, and Music. The number of attendees, as well as the number of volunteers that run the Festival is overwhelming, and the vibe is amazing.

The first film we attempted to see was GREENLIT. Even though we arrived really early, the theater was packed and there were no seats left. So, we opted to go bowling instead. It turns out I'm terrible at bowling, but it was a lot of fun. Outside the theater was an insanely long line for "The People vs. George Lucas." I'm serious, the line was insane, and complete with people dressed as Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. (We couldn't resist a photo op.)

That night was the world premiere of LOOP PLANES. It played in front of a great feature documentary called HIS AND HERS, which follows 70 female characters from an infant to a woman in her 90s. It explores these women's relationships with men: fathers, boyfriends, husbands, and sons. I have mixed feelings about being paired with a feature, especially one so different from our short. LOOP PLANES
explores gender in a totally unconventional way (you'll have to watch the film to find out more), while "His & Hers" reinforces conventional gender roles. So, on the one hand because people were there to see the feature and the audience was the opposite of the target audience for our film, I'm not entirely sure whether anyone there totally "got"it; but on the other hand, I hope this film opened people's mind a little or introduced them to material they would otherwise not be exposed to.

Because this was the first time LOOP PLANES seen anything I directed show at a "real" festival, I was nervous and excited all week. What if there was some huge glaring error we somehow missed? What if no one liked it? As the opening image appeared on the screen, my first and only thought was pretty much, "omg the picture is huge!" I was still unable to see the film objectively, but overall I think it looked good, sounded good, and the story came across. People clapped when it ended and there were a few murmurs of "good job." So, I would say that it went pretty well. Of course there are small things I noticed here and there that I wish I could change, but as everyone reminds me, "an artist's work is never done." (There was one big glaring error though, and I'm unsure of what happened, but the end credits got all messed up. We're definitely going to have to address this for future festivals.)

After our screening, Julie and Austen and I got our pictures taken in front of SXSW's "red carpet" -- another first, and incredibly surreal. Then we went to a little tex-mex restaurant, and I had probably the most amazing burrito ever.

The weather and the energy of the Festival continues to be amazing. There is a tremendous turnout, so much so, that we were turned away from another screening because of lack of seating. The film is called DIRTY PICTURES, a documentary about a chemist (Dr. Alexander) who discovered the effects of Ecstasy and over 200 other mind-altering drugs, using himself and his wife as test subjects -- super bummed I missed it, but I got to see Dr. Alexander walk into the theater ;)

I'm a graduate student at Columbia University and because several other Columbia University students have films showing here, we're all going out tonight to celebrate! I can't wait to see more amazing films and perhaps get into a few panels and enjoy the beautiful weather for the rest of my time here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

IFP' Script to Screen Conference Final Winner Announced

The lucky winner of the Script to Screen Conference pass is Indian Cowboy. According to Twitter, "Indian Cowboy's" real name is Nikhil Kamkolkar and he is a filmmaker/actor/writer from New York. Nikhil will get to ask the following tweeted question to writer Peter Hedges (WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?, ABOUT A BOY, PIECES OF APRIL) in person.

@#IFPS2S Is writing your second script a harder challenge? Do you or not focus the second script to be more "commercially" viable?

For more information about the contest, read the previous blog post.

To buy tickets and find out more about the Conference: click here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

IFP's Script to Screen Day Two Twinner Announced

The lucky winner of the Script to Screen Conference pass is Jae Choe. Jae will get to ask the following tweeted question to writer Peter Hedges (WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE?, ABOUT A BOY, PIECES OF APRIL) in person.

#IFPS2S Do you make a concerted effort to avoid being pigeonholed or build on what got you noticed a la genre or subject matter?

For more information about the contest, read the previous blog post.

To buy tickets and find out more about the Conference: click here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

First Day's SCRIPT TO SCREEN Winner Announced Below!

As promised, IFP is selecting one lucky Tweeter/winner (Twinner) to attend the upcoming Script to Screen Conference in person, and ask Pete Hedges a question. The lucky winner of yesterday's incarnation (the contest lasts for 3 days) is: circlesoffire. According to Twitter, this is one Emily Millay Haddad . The winning question:

circlesoffire: @ifpfilm How do we stay flexible as writers for screens as small as your thumb and as big as a palace? #IFPS2S

Again, to win a pass:

Read about the panel:
Workshop #2: Now What? Sustaining A Screenwriting Career
You’ve found success by winning a screenwriting contest, selling your first script, finding representation or even making your first film – but now what? How do you leverage this success and continue to sustain a career as a writer or writer/director? What are the steps to take to ensure you get your next project off the ground and continue to stand out in an increasingly competitive creative environment?


2. On March 10th, March 11th, and March 12th - Tweet Your Question

Tweet your question for Peter Hedges at IFP's Twitter Page.

Make sure to include hashtag #IFPS2S.

3. See if you've won and attend the Conference
A winner will be picked and blogged about each day at The Independent Filmmaker Project Blog. The winner will win a weekend pass to the Conference, and get to ask their question in person!

Saturday and Sunday
March 20th and 21st at 92Y Tribeca (200 Hudson Street)

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

IFP Joins Forces with Shooting People and NYWIFT for first ever U.S. Delegation to Hot Docs

IFP is delighted to announce that, together with our partner organizations NYWIFT and Shooting People, we are helming the first-ever U.S. Delegation to Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary film festival. For a huge $400 off the normal price, our members who choose to attend will gain full access to the Toronto Documentary Forum (May 5 & 6) , International Co-Production Day (May 3) , and be featured in the Digital Doc Shop market.


Additionally, the delegation will get access to the rest of the festival: all 255 screenings, the Doc Shop digital market screening library, all Hot Docs Conference sessions and programmes, including Hot Docs Talks, Kickstart panels, CoffeeTalks and Micro Meetings, The annual Hot Docs Awards Presentation, a full roster of parties and receptions, and much more more. The delegates will join the ranks of over 1,900 registered documentary professionals from more than 25 countries, over 300 international broadcasters, film foundation representatives and acquisitions executives representing the world’s key broadcast markets, and over 400 accredited media representatives.

This is not only an exciting opportunity for all of our nonfiction producing members, but also a historic one.

The offer for the very discounted rate of $577.00 Canadian dollars, ends NEXT TUESDAY, March 16th. Don't miss an incredible opportunity! Read more about all eight of the delegations here. For more info on how to buy your discounted pass, click here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

IFP Alum Wins Oscar, and Unlikely Kanye West-style Drama ensues!

When Roger Ross Williams's documentary film MUSIC BY PRUDENCE (an alumnus of Independent Film Week's Spotlight on Documentaries), was announced as the Winner of the Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short", my expectations were for a suitably humble and hopefully short acceptance speech. Boy was I - and the dozens of people I watched with at DCTV's firehouse headquarters in Chinatown - surprised. Just a couple of seconds into William's grateful speech, he was rudely interrupted and completely overtaken by a loud woman with a very large sense of entitlement. It took only a few minutes for the Kanye West comparisons to begin, and just a few more for Salon.com to get to the bottom of the brouhaha.

We at IFP have nothing but congratulations for Williams and his film. And Williams has done nothing but return the love. Check out his testimonial about IFP on our new homepage. He writes: "When I boarded a plane two years ago, headed for Zimbabwe armed with nothing more than a camera, I never thought it would lead me to an Academy Award nomination. The 2008 Independent Film Week – Spotlight on Documentaries section and IFP’s Fiscal Sponsorship program helped get me there by providing the concrete support and the connections I needed to get my funding in place."

Friday, March 5, 2010

Free Financial Advice for Filmmakers Tomorrow!

I was alerted to this incredible free opportunity by Esther Robinson, founder of ArtHome and filmmaker extraordinaire. Since most of us HAVE used credit cards to fund a project (or even our rent), this is the perfect opportunity to start the steps of reigning in one's financial chaos.

Here's the blurb: Have you used credit cards to fund a project and can’t seem to pay them down? Are you looking for free, objective, one-on-one financial advice? Join the Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment for a day of FREE one-on-one financial counseling and workshops designed to help working artists and arts administrators in all disciplines, as well as independent workers reduce debt and manage credit. Details are here.

It takes place tomorrow, March 6th from between 12-5 pm at the Dwyer Cultural Center. 258 St. Nicholas Avenue (at 123rd Street)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

IFP Alum Kim Reed Blogs about PRODIGAL SON's opening day!

It’s hard to describe the anxiety surrounding the opening day of a film’s theatrical release. After three years of making PRODIGAL SONS, where so many elements are in your control, or at least within your ability to respond to surprises, on opening day there are so many things out of your control — the dark science of ads, the slippery impact of media coverage, the Wild West of reviews.

Then you wake up on opening day and look out the window to see the biggest snowflakes you’ve ever seen, and they’re piling up into the fourth largest snowstorm in New York City history.

It’s probably good that we didn’t know at the beginning how bad the storm would be. We had too much work to do, including many calls to Delta airlines to get my mother Carol and aunt Kathy, two subjects of PRODIGAL SONS, into town for the premiere and Q&A sessions.

We were reassured by a NY Times Critics’ Pick, a New York Magazine Critics’ Pick, and a glimpse at the script of At The Movies (the Ebert “Thumbs Up” show) that told us we’d get “See It!” exhortations from A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips. And Outreach Producer Pamela Cohn had lined up great opening day co-hosts (including IFP/Filmmaker Magazine!). But on opening day one becomes acutely aware of how hard it is to translate critical acclaim and community outreach into lines in front of the theater. We even had the surreal, unimaginable exposure of a full hour on the Oprah show behind us, but our producing team (comprised of Israel Ehrisman and Jason Evans) was still hitting the snowy ground the morning of opening day. We left postcards in high traffic spots, and tossed carpenters a ten dollar bill to let us hang posters in the windows of a business under construction.

The first Q&A I did was smack dab in the middle of the heaviest part of the storm, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed in the turnout. Then I realized that I recognized two people in the tiny crowd — David Duchovny and Téa Leoni, and they were asking great questions, not to mention generous with their praise. PRODGIAL SONS is a very emotional and personal journey, and after a year and a half of festival circuit Q&As I’m used to the emotional, personal connections our film inspires. But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the intimacy of that first Q&A, during the heaviest part of the worst storm in the snowiest NYC February ever. This little Cinema Village snowglobe made for a nice microcosm of the documentary film world: a small percentage of discerning film lovers, harboring away from the noisy Hollywood Movie storm, riding someone else’s emotional rollercoaster for an hour and a half, then bonding with strangers over how they’ve all been moved. Moved. It’s such a wonderful idea, that we can walk into a cinema as one person, and walk out someone different. That’ll keep you trudging through the snow to hand postcards to strangers — who knows who might actually come to your next screening?

Kimberly Reed
Director/Producer, Prodigal Sons

How did the rest of opening day go? PRODIGAL SONS sold out the two opening night screenings, had a great Q&A session with Rick Moody (author of The Ice Storm), and got held over for a second week at Cinema Village. A national rollout starts this weekend, with San Francisco, Berkeley, and Seattle.
For more information visit www.prodigalsonsfilm.com
Upcoming screenings listed at http://prodigalsonsfilm.com/drupal/see-film

Watch the Sold Out Panel!: IFP Industry Connect at the New School: Funding Your Film

Getting funding is the great holy grail of independent filmmaking, so it makes sense that our February 22nd Industry Connect funding panel was filled to capacity. For those of you who missed it, watch the whole thing here! The panel featured moderator Sarah Lash, (Head of Acquisitions, ATO Pictures), and panelists Jason Orans (Producer, NIGHT CATCHES US), Milton Tabbot (Senior Director of Programming, IFP), Adella Ladjevardi (Grants Manager, Cinereach), and Yancey Strickler (Co-Founder, Kickstarter).