5 Reasons to Apply for Independent Film Week
The good news is that deadlines for IFP’s Independent Film Week programs Spotlight on Docs and No Borders International Co-Production Market were extended. The bad news is, that deadline is Friday, May 24th! If you are thinking of burning your rough assembly to DVD or printing out that screenplay just in time, IFP Producer and Programs Manager and Co-Programming extraordinaire Rose Vincelli Gustine was kind enough to give NFS a few thoughts on the program. (Spoiler alert: I went last year, and I loved it.)
There I was, an independent nobody from nowhere at IFP’s Independent Film Week, waiting in this cheerful room abuzz with filmmakers talking to each other. I was excited and extremely nervous as I waited for my first meetings with producers, programmers, and the like who'd requested meetings with me. ME? Who the hell was I?! Independent Film Week was my first real chance to actually find out what the independent film scene was made of, and I'd recommend it to fellow filmmakers. Here are my top five reasons why:
1. You get to go to New York.
Besides the skyscrapers and east coast vibes, it's a place where you can revel in a lively independent film community. Says Rose:
People are getting hip to the idea that you really need this community to be sustained. Not just in terms of needing people to help you make your movie, but needing people to champion your movie, to watch your movie, to tell their friends to watch your movie. And I feel like there’s a lot of that going on.
2. And yet, you don’t have to live in New York.
If you want to live and tell stories on a completely different side of the country, Independent Film Week champions work from all around. Rose:
Independent Film Week is a curator and a highlighter, not just of work from New York but from around the U.S. in North Carolina, Louisiana, or Minneapolis, where don’t have as strong as an independent film scene, but you still have filmmakers who are making good work. For me that’s what I’m excited about, bring in more filmmakers that want to make work in say Nashville but want access to the kind of industry here.
3. You make connections with that mysterious entity called the Industry.
If you have a Rolodex of industry contacts in the highest place, good for you! For me, Film Week was the first time I ever talked to anybody who was actually in the Film Industry. And the list of attending industry is huge!
"Even if they aren’t interested in your project today, they might be interested in the next project and you have that relationship with them. And having an idea of what industry is looking for, even if that’s not driving the creative choices, is useful."
4. You may find yourself a longterm champion.
IFP's Milton Tabbot or Amy Dotson will have watched your work, and will follow your career. (Just look at the careers of other filmmakers who have gone through Film Week.) IFP has been around since 1979, so they're in it for the long run.
We’re looking for projects that are really strong, but we’re also looking for really strong filmmakers: people who are going to have a career in film, or if not film, then television or web, or whatever the future holds.
5. You might meet a few filmmakers who get you.
If I did, you could too.
If you're thinking of sending in your application this year or next, Rose offers one big tip: make the best project you can, and don't share it until you are feeling 100% about it. So if you aren't quite ready this year, take your time. But if you have a project that you feel good about, check out the application guidelines, and consider applying before it's too late!