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DAILY NEWS: IFP’s National Effort and Brooklyn Fest Plans

DAILY NEWS: IFP's National Effort and Brooklyn Fest Plans

DAILY NEWS: IFP's National Effort and Brooklyn Fest Plans

with articles by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

>> IFP Eyes National Opportunities; Regional Chapters Renamed as Organization Emphasizes Common Goals; Seattle Group Formed

(indieWIRE/04.22.02) — The Independent Feature Project, a membership
organization for independent filmmakers that was founded in 1979 in New York
City, has detailed plans for a nationwide effort to more closely unify
chapters in various regions of the country. The move, including the
establishment of a national executive director, will connect the combined
IFP chapter’s approximately 9,000 members in the United States.
Additionally, the consortium has announced the formation of a new chapter in
the Northwest; the IFP/Seattle will open this month, headed by executive
director Lisanne Dutton.

IFP/National Executive Director Morgan Rumpf joined IFP/National Board
President Jane Minton, Executive Director of the renamed IFP/New York
Michelle Byrd and Executive Director of the renamed IFP/Los Angeles Dawn Hudson in a conference call with indieWIRE to discuss the announcement.

The IFP’s national effort began with last year’s hiring of Rumpf, after a
nationwide candidate search. It is being expressed through the
re-development of the IFP website (www.ifp.org) which will re-launch next
month. Based in Los Angeles, Rumpf served as the executive director of
OUTFEST, Los Angeles’ Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, from 1994 – 1999 and
signed on as IFP/National Executive Director in 2001.

“The first step of the new IFP/National is to create a vehicle for sharing
information,” Rumpf explained during last week’s conference call. “That is
really the place that we are going to start, then comes access, then comes
advocacy and other programs.” The site, Jane Minton added, will offer news,
information and other content which can be tailored to the needs of members
in particular regions.

The six renamed chapters of the IFP (IFP/New York, IFP/Los Angeles,
IFP/Minneapolis/St. Paul, IFP/Chicago, IFP/Miami, and the new IFP/Seattle) have adopted a shared logo as part of the agreement.

Detailing the steps towards the development of the IFP consortium and the
establishment of a national guiding body for all of the chapters, Michelle
Byrd explained that the first bridge came with the formation of FILMMAKER
in 1992. The quarterly publication was launched ten years ago as
a joint effort of the IFP and the IFP/West (with indieWIRE’s Karol Martesko
among the team that developed and ran it). The IFP in New York talked publicly
about an effort to unify the IFP’s when Byrd was named executive director in
New York in April of 1997.

“Many of us on the board of the IFP (in New York) are interested (in the
plan) and have been talking about this for years,” IFP board member Richard
told indieWIRE at the time in April of ’97. On the same day, Byrd
added, “It (the plan) really makes sense — working together a little bit
(more) closely…would be beneficial. The indie community is not that huge
that we cannot benefit from each others programs.”

Talking about the changes with indieWIRE as part of the conference call last
week, she explained, “the planets aligned at one moment in time,” adding,
“(this is) a leap of faith — (it) seems to be the right thing to do,
because it will benefit filmmakers.”

Even as far back as 20 years ago, there was talk of unification, Dawn Hudson
offered in the conversation with indieWIRE last week. She emphasized that
changes in the boards of the various chapters led to changes in “old
feelings of territorialism and proprietary ownership.”

“This is not just marketing, but content,” Byrd concluded, “We are saying
that we are all on the same page (and that) we support independent film
nationwide, period.”

A board that includes Rumpf, the women that head each IFP chapter, and
members of the boards of those chapters, is leading the national IFP
consortium. Each chapter will remain an independent not-for-profit
organization governed by its own board — existing programs will remain
unique to their local chapter. Out of the consortium though, leaders intend
to develop new programs and efforts.

“Our voices will be heard in the future when we take up an advocacy issue,”
Dawn Hudson concluded. “That one lone LA filmmaker wile have a much larger
voice.” While Morgan Rumpf concluded, “We will be addressing the issues over
time that any one chapter does not have the ability to handle on their own.”

“To the filmmaker who lives in Pierre, SD,” concluded IFP/National Board
President and Executive Director of IFP/Minneapolis/St.Paul Jane Minton,
“You are not along anymore, we are out here for you and there are ways to
get access to the things that you need right from your computer.” [Eugene

>> Brooklyn Makes ‘Progress’ for Upcoming Film Fest

(indieWIRE: 04.22.02) — With the theme of “Progress,” the Brooklyn
International Film Festival
opens April 29 at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The lineup includes several world premieres along with U.S. and East Coast
premieres as well as European films that have previously screened at
European festivals including the Venice and Berlin Film Festivals.
Additionally, films from Asia, Australia and South America are also slated
for the event, which organizers said promises to screen work centered on
“[a] coming of age through intergenerational conflicts and misunderstandings.”

Program highlights in this year’s BIFF include British director Mike Figgis
East Coast premiere of “Hotel.” According to a fest release, “Mike Figgis
travelled to the Island of Lido di Venezia in the Venetian Lagoon
accompanied by a cast of over 30 actors including David Schwimmer, Rhys
, Salma Hayek, Burt Reynolds, Lucy Liu, Saffron Burrows and Max Beesley. They were to play the guests and staff of a hotel. All they had was the briefest of character outlines. None of them had a script, in fact,
there was no script…For five weeks, the group lived, improvised and
filmed under one roof. Out of their improvisations came ‘Hotel.'”

Sergio Goes‘ “Black Picket Fence” will world premiere at the event. The
documentary is described by organizers as a portrait of the bleak realities
of life in the public housing projects of Brooklyn’s East New York, one of
the inner city’s most dangerous and violent neighborhoods. Other highlights
include the East Coast premiere of “Getting My Brother Laid” (Sven
); the U.S. premiere of “Julietta” (Christopher Stark); the East
Coast premiere of “The Princess Blade” by Japanese director Sato Shinsuke;
and the U.S. premiere of Italian director Federica Martino‘s “Beauty Queen

“After a long deliberation, we have finally determined the film program,”
said BIFF director Marco Ursino in a prepared statement. “It is compelling
to know that so many filmmakers are confident enough to enter into our
competitive festival.” [Brian Brooks]

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