Michael Gottwald and Josh Penn, who have produced "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and the Ross Brothers' "Tchoupitoulas," are doing research and blogging about doing grassroots-inspired audience outreach for films. (See, for instance, Gottwald's blog post about online vs. offline organizing.) Filmmaker Micah Schaffer ("Death of Two Sons") will be producing a resource for filmmakers to find co-production partners and cross-border financing for independent film. Ryan Silbert (producer of "Holy Rollers," Oscar-winning short "God of Love") will be focusing on transmedia storytelling, working on the intersection of film, video games and technology.
The Cinema Research Institute was launched by John Tintori, the Chair of the Graduate Film Program at NYU as a way of fulfilling the university's motto, "a private university in the public service." Tintori went to the dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, Mary Schmidt Campbell, who was excited at the prospect of the film department sponsoring research for the benefit of the greater arts community.
In 2012, the Institute's first year, Ryan Heller is contacting filmmakers to give information about the economics surrounding their indie films. Claire Harlam is finishing up her resource for creating audience communities online, and Edward McDonald is working on a way to get student films funded more easily.
Fore more information on the Cinema Research Institute, visit their website.