February 9, 2013

Making Your First Feature Film? IFP Supports Rough Cuts with Narrative/Documentary Labs

Every year I make sure to post about this, as New York-based IFP's Labs are designed for first-time feature directors at the rough cut stage -- a stage at which filmmakers can often use help, but especially first-time feature directors (as you can imagine, if the timing is right I'm definitely going to apply once MANCHILD is in the can). It takes a village to make an independent feature, and IFP can bolster the support structure around your project, as well as give you valuable feedback and mentorship. If you're a first time feature director and you've got a rough cut, think about applying to the Documentary Lab or Narrative Lab -- you have until March 8 and April 5, respectively.

Supporting filmmakers when they need it most – through the completion, marketing & distribution of their first feature films - IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs is the only FREE program in the U.S. for first-time feature directors navigating how to build audience and stand out in a crowded marketplace. In the last three years, we’ve shepherded projects that have gone on to distribution deals at Focus Features, Radius / The Weinstein Company, Oscilloscope, BBC, PBS, and HBO, as well as prestigious premieres at Venice, Toronto, IDFA, Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin, and SXSW. 

Recent notable alumni include Concussion (Radius/TWC), Pariah (Focus Features), Una Noche (Sundance Selects), and documentaries Give Up TomorrowThe Light In Her Eyes (both PBS’ “P.O.V.”) and War Don Don (HBO).

Program date are, for the Finishing Labs: Documentary:  May 13-17, 2013; Narrative: June 10-14, 2013. The Independent Film Week & Marketing Lab takes place in September, and the Distribution Lab in December. The labs themselves are free to participate in if you are accepted, but the application fee is $50, and you also have to be an IFP member to apply; memberships start at $35/year.

Link: IFP Labs

Your Comment


Thanks for the post, I just found out about this. Good stuff!

February 9, 2013 at 12:37PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Is this U.S. residents only Koo?

February 10, 2013 at 5:06AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


the Labs is only for US-based filmmakers, or Americans living abroad. If you live in the US, we don't care about residency/citizenship, only that you're living/working here -- check out the site & let us know if you have other questions. -Rose / labs@ifp.org

February 11, 2013 at 10:00AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


This sounds like a program that can certain yield benefits for filmmakers who don't have a solid plan for their film or who don't have contacts that can shepherd or foster relationships with studios. Given what the program boasts, $50 is nothing, and you can probably deduct that money somehow.

Still, $50 isn't "free" (I'm playing ;) ). Thanks for posting this.

February 10, 2013 at 7:41AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM