IFC Puts It's Money Where It's Name Is
by Eugene Hernandez
The Independent Film Channel made a major move in support of both
established and emerging filmmakers yesterday with the announcement
by its President Kathleen Dore that it is forming IFC Productions and
Next Wave Films, two new companies dedicated to indiefilm production.
IFC Productions will produce 2 or 3 feature films each year, while Next
Wave will annually provide finishing funds for 3-5 films, primarily by
During a lunchtime interview yesterday, Jonathan Sehring, the IFC's Sr.
VP of Programming and Production and Peter Broderick, the newly named
President of Next Wave, spelled out the channel's plans for the two entities.
Sehring, who is charged with overseeing the new production
unit, as well as Broderick's company, explained that the move is a
"natural outgrowth" of the channels recent forays into production,
including Steven Soderbergh's "Gray's Anatomy" and Tim Robbins' "The Typwriter, The Rifle and The Movie Camera".
Sehring revealed that the IFC's new in-house unit will be making movies
for the theatrical market, rather than with using an airing on IFC as a
projects' primary focus. "Ultimately what we want to do is build (a)
library where we control the pictures after their intitial distribution
cycle." The company's first project is John Sayles new film, "Men With Guns" ("Hombres Armados"), which is being co-financed with Lou Gonda and Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen's newly formed Clear Blue Sky Productions. Sehring, and Director of Development Caroline Kaplan are promising a hands-off
approach in dealing with the established independent filmmakers they
plan to work with. Sehring is looking to the IFC's board of notable
filmmakers (Martin Scorsese, Joel & Ethan Coen, and Jim Jarmusch among
others) and beyond for projects that the new company can co-finance or
fully finance. As an example, Sehring offered that the company could
front as much as 40% of the budget for a $5 million film.
With regard to Next Wave Films, Peter Broderick is admittedly anxious to
carry on the tradition of fostering independent films much in the same
way John Pierson has. Broderick, Vice President of the IFP West, is
also known in indie circles as the author of a well known series of
articles for FILMMAKER Magazine detailing production budgets for such
no-budget films as "El Mariachi", "Go Fish" and "The Living End". During theinterview yesterday, Broderick explained that his plan is for Next Wave
Films to help finish projects, as well as guide them through the maze of
festivals to a theatrical distribution deal. Additionally, Broderick
revealed that, with the LA-based company, he hopes to "create an
infrastructure of support for no-budget filmmakers" through networking
and resource information accessible "online, on the phone, or even in
person." Without an office or a staff set up as of yet, Broderick admits
that he is hitting the ground running -- the company's first submission
is expected by overnight express today; he plans to watch it and then
depart for the South by Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas.
Summing up his channel's plans, Jonathan Sehring stated that through
these two new companies the IFC plans to "give the filmmaker money, and
let them do what they do best."