IFP’s Independent Film Week and Independent Filmmaker Conference, formerly the IFP Market and before that the IFFM (Independent Feature Film Market), is taking place this week in NYC and is (in the words of Executive Director Joana Vicente) “the oldest and most successful forum in the U.S. where filmmakers, film lovers, and film professionals can come together to support independent projects.” And while the number of those projects that are available for previewing as works-in-progress has grown progressively smaller in recent years, this is still a valuable opportunity (perhaps more so for filmmakers than programmers) to network, take meetings, attend panels, and see a multitude of docs and a few narratives in various stages of early development.
So while the number of classroom “microcinemas” needed for daily screenings at the Fashion Institute of Technology is now just two, I’m eager to see and hear about a lot of new projects from some accomplished filmmakers, many of whom have screened at the Florida Film Festival over the years: Lauren Wolkstein’s CIGARETTE CANDY, winner of a Special Jury Award at FFF 2010, is developing her short into a feature; Topaz Adizes, 3-time veteran of FFF with LAREDO TEXAS, TRECE ANOS, and CITY, is developing a thriller about a war photographer with Tim Hetherington, co-director of RESTREPO; Destin Daniel Cretton’s SHORT TERM 12, Sundance Jury Prize winner and part of the touring Sundance Shorts program shown at Enzian last December, is being turned into a feature; I’M NOT ME is from Rodrigo Lopresti and Zak Mulligan, the DP for OBSELIDIA; Alrick Brown’s KINYARWANDA is produced by Darren Dean, producer of FFF 2009 Grand Jury winner PRINCE OF BROADWAY; AIN’T I A WOMAN is by Robin Honan, co-producer of Cynthia Wade’s Oscar-winning FREEHELD; Dori Berinstein, FFF award-winner with SHOWBUSINESS: THE ROAD TO BROADWAY, is back with CAROL CHANNING–LARGER THAN LIFE; acclaimed doc filmmaker Judith Helfand is represented by COOKED, about a killer heat wave in Chicago in 1995; FFF vets and award-winners David Redmon and Ashley Sabin (MARDI GRAS: MADE IN CHINA, KAMP KATRINA, INTIMIDAD) are in post on their new GIRL MODEL; Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine, directors of the Oscar-nominated WAR/DANCE, are finishing INOCENTE, about a remarkable and talented homeless teen in San Diego; Murray Nossel (PATERNAL INSTINCT) has a Holocaust survivor doc called THE LETTER CARRIER; Jeremiah Zagar, who did the stunning IN A DREAM, has a mysterious new project (no photo or synopsis in the catalog) with the working title of LIVE FREE OR DIE; PAUL RACHMAN of AMERICAN HARDCORE fame has the eagerly anticipated LOST ROCKERS in production; THE ORDER OF MYTHS producer Sara Cross has a film about the landmark NYC music store, Colony Records, called MANHATTAN LULLABY; DIRTY WORK director David Sampliner has a film about manhood and fathers & sons called MY OWN MAN; Joseph Pierson, director of long ago FFF competition feature EVENHAND, about crooked Texas cops, has an Alaska doc called PRISONERS OF WHITTIER in development; Robinson Devor, of THE WOMAN CHASER, POLICE BEAT, and ZOO fame (infamy?), has an intriguing film in preproduction called UNTITLED SARA JANE MOORE PROJECT; and there’s even a doc about the people behind the New Yorker cartoons called VERY SEMI-SERIOUS by Leah Wolchok. And that’s just to mention a few and not even including the Perspective Canada Showreel which promises clips from Bruce McDonald’s HARD CORE LOGO 2 and Jacob (TREEVENGE) Eisener’s HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN plus nine others.
Case studies for WINTER’S BONE and CYRUS with the filmmakers present are also attractive, the Meet-the-Programmers speed dating sessions are always useful, and the Festival Forum Roundtable discussion should be interesting, and all in all, it appears that this year’s Independent Film Week will be time well spent in the Big Apple.