IFP/Los Angeles Finds A New Name: Film Independent
by Eugene Hernandez
The IFP/Los Angeles took the major step of distancing itself from the other five Independent Feature Project chapters Tuesday, announcing a new name for the organization. The group will now be known as Film Independent, or FIND. Its wholly owned high-profile programs, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, will continue, now presented by FIND. The other IFPs are expected to remain unified.
The move marks the birth of a new L.A. based non-profit film organization serving some 6,300 members. About 3,000 members comprise the loose affiliation of five IFPs, including chapters in Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis - St. Paul, New York, and Seattle.
"Being a distinct, LA based organization allows us more flexibility in responding to the needs of the independent film community," Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson told indieWIRE Tuesday, "Those needs are evolving so quickly [while] the community is [also] growing so quickly." Continuing she added that the process of picking and trademarking a name was difficult, but she is excited about the move. "The name is pretty straightforward and transparent about what we do and what we are advocating for," Hudson explained.
The staff at FIND will remain the same. The future of Filmmaker Magazine, a joint publication co-owned by the IFPs in Los Angeles and New York, remains to be determined, according to Hudson. "We are working that out," she said, when asked about the publication. Hudson indicated that members of the five remaining IFP organizations will have voting privileges for the annual Independent Spirit Awards and FIND will welcome IFP members to utilize its services in Los Angeles as it has in the past.
FIND will launch a new website for its members this fall, separating itself from the joint website currently shared by the IFP chapters.
Rumors of changes at the IFPs began to swirl within the indie community last fall when the LA chapter was said to have proposed a new relationship. In late March, the buzz continued with reports that the IFP/Los Angeles was making the move and then producers Christine Vachon and Ted Hope joined the fray, arguing that the IFPs should remain unified.
The IFP/Los Angeles was formed in 1980 and executive director Dawn Hudson joined the group as its leader in 1991. In those years the group has grown from 900 members in 1992 to more than 6,300 today.
"The community of independent filmmakers in Los Angeles is growing exponentially, it is exciting that in this moviemaking capital, that a big sector of those moviemakers are independent. We just want to make sure that every single one of those filmmakers is served."
"IFP and its chapters around the country will continue to serve the independent film community both domestically and internationally, as we have for the past 27 years," said IFP/New York board chairman Ira Deutchman in a statement. "We often find ourselves working jointly with organizations, both large and small, to execute various programs and events. That will not change; our commitment to foster independents will remain steadfast."
Jane Minton, the executive director of IFP/Minneapolis-St. Paul reiterated that the other IFPs intend to remain unified. "We are going to stay associated as IFPs and move forward in our relationship with one another. We have always looked to New York as the ideological birthplace of independent film and New York has always been really generous with us in terms of sharing resources." Further commenting in the conversation with indieWIRE, Minton complimented the Los Angeles group with developing projects worth emulating for her members adding, "I am sure that our relationship will continue with L.A., I am not sure how that will take shape but I am sure that it will continue -- I wish the IFP/LA and their new direction all the best and I wish us the best too."
"We're just really focused so much on what we've got going on with this new Center for Media Arts, as well as classes and grant," explained Minton, touting this Saturday's opening of a new facility for her members. "I don't know that it's going to have this earth-shattering effect on us, it might be one of those things that seems really dramatic, but isn't."