IFP’S Independent Film Week – 2014 Wrap-up

As ever, the Independent Filmmaker Project’s Independent Film Week, which wrapped last Friday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, remains a seminal annual event for those involved in indie film, be they industry figures or media types like me. Indeed, one of the things that makes the event so special is that it brings these group together in a communal context.

A few strong themes emerged in this year’s edition. The event frequently explored the communal nature of film projects, with producers, marketers, and others given plenty of speaking along with filmmakers. To the IFP’s credit, they also went out of their way to devote panels to all aspects of the filmmaking process, including cinematography (Day one’s “Visual Storytelling,” an in-depth conversation about the role of the cinematographer) and music (Day two’s “Striking the Right Tone” a panel focusing on documentary score-composing).

The Importance of marketing and salesmanship also emerged as a crucial theme. From marketing (Day Three’s “Wrapping Your Brain Around Marketing”) to branding (Day 4’s “Branded Content: Breaking In Without Selling Out”), panels repeatedly emphasiez that in today’s climate, getting one’s baby out into the universe takes more than just making a good film. Business savvy is a must.

One thing came through very clearly: IFP is devoted to helping independent filmmakers master the industry. IFW fosters education and facilitates networking between different industry-figures. This year, IFP took an even more hands-on approach with its inaugural IFP Durga Entertainment Grant—a twenty-thousand dollar prize designed to encourage its recipient down the path of independent film. This year’s recipient was Eleanor Burke, IFP Filmmaker Labs grad and the director of 2010’s ‘Stranger Things.’

I look forward to next year. Independent Film Week remains a fantastic way to stay up-to-date on independent film—not just from an artistic perspective, but from a business standpoint as well. As this year’s event made clear, the two are inseparable.

— David Teich

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