The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) name is no more. On Wednesday, the 41-year-old nonprofit announced it is rebranding as The Gotham Film & Media Institute, or the Gotham for short. Leaders say they are making the change in response to how the nonprofit has changed over the years and in order to prepare for continued growth in an evolving media landscape. The new name reflects both its most prominent program, the Gotham Awards, and its New York City origin and spirit. The name-change goes into effect on January 11, coinciding with the 30th Gotham Awards, streaming live on Facebook at 8 p.m. ET.
“Today as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Gotham Awards, we’re looking at the needs of the next generation of storytellers. They share our founding values of openness, daring, and resourcefulness. But they also need our support in new ways, new formats, and media,” executive director Jeff Sharp said in a video announcing the news.
Journalist and Gotham board member Soledad O’Brien continued: “So to better fulfill out mission, we’re expanding our mandate and we’re raising our profile to support it. The IFP brand doesn’t fully reflect our evolution, nor the priorities of the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers.
IFP bills itself as the largest and longest-running nonprofit dedicated to independent film. It was founded in 1979, offering the first American market for independent filmmakers. Its long-running signature event, IFP Week, is a sales and development forum noted for helping build connections between emerging filmmakers and industry leaders. In recent years, it has helped launch such acclaimed films as “Moonlight,” “American Factory,” “Swallow,” and “The Witch.” Last year’s virtual IFP Week expanded to offer for the first time an Audio Hub created in response to the rapid growth of audio storytelling.
Among the planned expansions teased in the video below include partnerships between top universities for four-credit film programs. Among the partner colleges listed are Colgate University, Columbia University, the Ohio State University, University of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island School of Design, and Rutgers.