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In a press release sent out today, the IFP has announced that they’ve expanded their Independent Filmmaker Labs to include distribution.

In collaboration with Ted Hope and Jon Reiss, the Distribution Lab will take 20 projects (10 docs, 10 narratives) and gives them a year-long fellowship to assist the filmmakers with marketing and distributing their films. Filmmakers will receive, among other things, year-round access to IFP staff and Lab leaders, one-on-one mentorship with working producers and a five-day Completion Lab. To learn more about the Lab and its benefits read the full release below.

Also on the IFP front, the Independent Filmmaker Narrative Lab has extended its deadline to April 2. To learn more about the Lab and how to apply go here.


For Immediate Release – New York, NY (March 30, 2010) IFP announces the expansion of its prestigious Independent Filmmaker Labs, introducing the addition of its 2010 Distribution Lab in collaboration with Ted Hope & Jon Reiss.

While many programs are well geared toward teaching filmmakers how to write, produce, direct, and compose their films, IFP’s Labs are currently the only program in the country that supports diverse, low-budget, independently produced filmmakers when they need it most: through the completion, marketing and distribution of their first feature film. Focusing exclusively on feature narratives and documentaries at this critical stage, this highly immersive mentorship program provides participants with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch both their films – and their careers.

“The IFP was originally founded to help filmmakers get their films seen and build the audiences necessary to help them sustain full bodies of work and lasting careers. It is our mission to make sure new voices are heard and that filmmakers are continually supported by a community of peers and professionals who can help them succeed”, says Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP. “A lot of theory and inspiration exists about distribution on the Internet and in panels, but cold, hard facts and techniques are hard to come by. This program aims to fill that void by uniting all of the knowledge and tools that are now available to filmmakers to complete and distribute their films.”

The need for collaboration is greater than ever – and as the oldest and largest non-profit in the country supporting independent filmmakers, IFP is in the unique position to provide participants with the individualized mentorship, one-to-one strategies, workshops and community of peers and industry 10,000 strong that can help them reach their artistic goals, support the launch their film, and maximize their exposure in the global marketplace.

IFP is collaborating with Hope and Reiss on the Distribution Lab due to their extensive independent film experience and dedication to first-time feature filmmakers. Ted Hope, co-founder of This is that and Good Machine, has produced close to sixty films, including the first features of Alan Ball, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, and Ang Lee. He blogs at and co-founded the Indie Film review site Recently named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Jon Reiss authored Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era,the first step-by-step guide to help filmmakers navigate the rapidly changing landscape of distribution and marketing. A critically-acclaimed filmmaker, the book is based Reiss’ own experiences as well interviews with experts in the field and other filmmaking pioneers.

“Educating filmmakers about the new distribution and marketing realities is of critical importance for our community, “ says Jon Reiss “Media content creators of all types need to realize that the days in which you could merely “create” and let someone else distribute and market are nearly over. A new paradigm exists in which making films and finding a way for that film to reach an audience are not merely equally important, but need to be organically integrated into a seamless whole.”

Taking the next logical step in its five-year old Lab Program, IFP is currently in the process of selecting 20 projects (10 documentaries and 10 narratives) from a national candidate pool for an expansive, year-long Lab Fellowship that continues to assist filmmakers with their marketing and distribution plans either concurrent with or directly following their festival premieres.

Participation will include:

  • Year-round access to IFP Programming Staff and Lab Leaders, including producers Lori Cheatle (51 Birch Street), Lesli Klainberg (Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema), FILMMAKER Magazine Editor-in-Chief and Producer, Scott Macaulay (Gummo), Susan Stover (Laurel Canyon) and director and marketing & distribution specialist, Jon Reiss (Think Outside the Box Office, Bomb It!).
  • Ongoing one-on-one mentorship with established independent producers & filmmakers throughout the year; Mentors include producers Howard Gertler, (World’s Greatest Dad, Shortbus), Peter Gilbert, (Hoop Dreams), Ted Hope (Adventureland), Tia Lessin,(Trouble The Water, Fahrenheit 9/11) (Peter Phok, (Trigger Man), Heather Rae, (Frozen River), Anish Savjani, (Wendy and Lucy, Nights and Weekends), Amy Sewell, (Mad Hot Ballroom).
  • Participation in a five-day summer intensive Completion Lab, featuring workshops, case-studies and individualized sessions providing filmmakers with technical, creative and strategic advice needed to complete their films; programming includes editing, sound design, music rights & composition, as well as building the foundation for festival, marketing, sales and distribution strategy. ( 2009 Workshop leaders included, amongst others: Filmmakers and DIY pioneers Lance Weiler (Head Trauma), Gary Hustwit (Helvetica), Aaron Rose (Beautiful Losers); Anton Sanko, Composer (“Big Love”, Delirious, Handsome Harry); Barry Cole, Music Supervisor, Spot Music (Beauty Shop); Editors Sabine Hoffmann (Hounddog, Ballad of Jack & Rose, Brother to Brother), Michael Levine (Billy The Kid, My Kid Could Paint That), Lee Percy (The Ice Harvest, Maria Full of Grace; Boys Don’t Cry), Sam Pollard (When the Levees Broke, Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever), Jay Rabinowitz (The Limits of Control, I’m Not There, The Fountain);
  • Broadening filmmaker networks through access to IFP’s Independent Film Week in the fall, where fellows will attend an intensive Strategy & Networking Lab focused on specialized workshops on web building, sales & marketing and audience building. Fellows will also take part in pre-scheduled meetings with potential buyers, investors, sales agents and key festival programmers, as well as build audiences through the Lab “Sneak Preview” Showcase. All participants will additionally have full access to the 35+ interactive panels at IFP’s Future of Film: Filmmaker Conference;
  • A winter intensive Distribution Lab, specifically focused on hands-on creation and analysis of the necessary tools and initiatives for each films’ festival launch, individualized distribution strategy, and web and marketing plans. Supervised by Jon Reiss, this will include the creation and review of marketing materials for each project (such as trailer, key art, press kits, social media outreach campaigns, websites etc.), as well as establishment of online and on-site audience building techniques for multi-tier, long-term release strategies.

“The hard truth is that very few filmmakers truly “do-it-themselves.” In order to get their films completed and truly take greater control over the distribution and marketing of their work, filmmakers need strong partners, collaborators and a community of like-minded artists to support their creative endeavors,” says Amy Dotson, Deputy Director of Programming for IFP. “IFP looks forward to providing these connections for our Lab filmmakers and also leading the way for helping the next generation of independent filmmakers succeed in today’s difficult marketplace.”

As part of IFP’s ongoing commitment to diversity, the Independent Filmmaker Labs also seek to ensure that at least 50% of the participating projects have an inclusive range of races, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and physical abilities in key creative positions. 50 % of all selected projects also come to the program from directors working outside New York and Los Angeles.

Since 2005, the Labs have previously focused on helping low-budget, first time filmmakers complete their films and launch them at festivals. To date, 87 documentaries and narrative features have participated in the Labs, with 65% participating narrative and documentary films completed and premiered at major US and international festivals (including such recent narratives The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (Sundance Narrative Competition 2010) and Zero Bridge (Venice International Film Festival 2008) and documentaries War Don Don and Beijing Taxi (SXSW 2010).

The Independent Filmmaker Lab program is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, Newman’s Own Foundation, SAGIndie and Time Warner.


About IFP

After debuting with a program in the 1979 New York Film Festival, the nonprofit IFP has evolved into the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, and also the premier advocate for them. Since its start, IFP has supported the production of 7,000 films and provided resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers – voices that otherwise might not have been heard. IFP fosters the development of 350 new feature and documentary films each year through its Project Forum of Independent Film Week, Independent Filmmaker Labs and projects in its fiscal sponsorship program. IFP believes that independent films enrich the universal language of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. The organization has fostered early work by leading filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Edward Burns, Jim Jarmusch, Barbara Kopple, Michael Moore, Mira Nair and Kevin Smith. For information:

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