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5 New Faces of Independent Film Direct New Short Films for Project by Nokia Productions and Spike Lee

Scott Piro ( )
Patrick Kowalczyk ( )
PKPR, 212.627.8098

New York (July 22, 2008) - With the future of independent film a hot topic this summer, Filmmaker magazine today joins the debate with the publication of its 10th annual survey of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film." Published by IFP, the nation's largest and oldest organization of independent filmmakers, Filmmaker is the leading print and on-line source for exclusive coverage on the art and craft of independent filmmaking. In addition to announcing this year's line-up, Filmmaker also announced that five filmmakers from the list will participate in Nokia Productions' current film competition with director Spike Lee.

The survey, featured in the summer 2008 issue, is online now at, and available on newsstands at the end of the month, showcases 25 up-and-coming filmmakers poised to shape the next generation of independent film. Innovators earning nods from Filmmaker include: Encyclopedia Pictura, a filmmaking duo behind the acclaimed 3-D Björk "Wanderlust" video; Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo and Zachary Lieberman, the creators of the award-winning Web series, "The West Side"; Barry Jenkins director of the current festival favorite Medicine for Melancholy an IFC Films release in 2009; Joshua Safdie, director of the Cannes Film Festival's Directors' Fortnight closer The Pleasure of Being Robbed which IFC Films will release in October; and Aasif Mandvi, "The Daily Show" correspondent who co-wrote and stars in the upcoming 7 to the Palace.

"The people on Filmmaker's '25 New Faces' list are not only innovators we believe will be impacting tomorrow's film scene, but they're also artists engaged in a vital re-think of what it means to be independent today," said Filmmaker's editor in chief Scott Macaulay. "Crisscrossing from short-form work into features, from docs to fiction and from the web to theaters, they are creating careers as original as their films."

Of the 265 on the list over the past ten years, nearly 90% have been filmmakers, including such breakthroughs as Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson), Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas). Notable actors include several high profilers in the early days of their careers such as Ryan Gosling (The Believer), Ellen Page (Hard Candy), Peter Sarsgaard (Another Day in Paradise) and Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry).

The five directors who will create new short films for consideration by Spike Lee for his film with Nokia Productions are: Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo and Zachary Lieberman, E.E. Cassidy, Daniel Robin, Christina Voros and Matt Wolf. Each will shoot their 3 - 5 minute film on a Nokia mobile device. Their films will revolve around the overarching topic of "humanity" and, along with submissions from the general public, will be considered by Spike Lee for inclusion as part of the third act on his film for Nokia Productions.

The 25 New Faces are:

  • Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo and Zachary Lieberman are the creators of the Webby award-winning on-line series, "The West Side."
  • E.E. Cassidy's We Are the Mods, was a recent participant in IFP's Independent Filmmaker Lab and is now finishing up post-production before heading off to festivals.
  • Encyclopedia Pictura is the hot music video team behind the acclaimed 3-D Björk "Wanderlust" video.
  • Jesse Epstein is currently completing the final short of her body image feature.
  • Shana Feste's debut feature The Greatest is set to be produced by Lynette Howell and Beau St. Claire and will star Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon.
  • Barry Jenkins' re-defining of "urban African American" can be found in Medicine for Melancholy, a current festival favorite, which IFC Films will release in February.
  • Myna Joseph's short, Man, played at Sundance and New Directors/New Films before being chosen as only one of four Americans for this year's Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Eric Latek's documentary Sweet Dreams premiered at Full Frame Film Festival.
  • Julia Leigh is an in-demand screenwriter whose spec script The Witness will be directed by Walter Salles. She's also been hired to write another screenplay for Plan B and Paramount Vantage.
  • Andrew Okpeaha MacLean was the recipient of the Best Short at Sundance in 2008 for Sikumi, the first film ever told in the Inupiat language of his native Alaska.
  • John Magary was in Sundance's 2008 Director's Lab and Screenwriter's Lab working on his upcoming feature, Blood Abundance.
  • Aasif Mandvi is best known as "The Daily Show" correspondent. He's now in production on the indie film 7 to the Palace, which he co-wrote, and stars in.
  • Bent-Jorgen Permutt is known for making documentaries in sub-Saharan Africa. His latest feature documentary, Lumo, received the Student Academy Award for Best Documentary and it is currently airing on PBS as part of the POV series.
  • Oren Peli's Paranormal Activity terrified audiences at its premiere at Screamfest last October and was then promptly picked up by DreamWorks.
  • Jennifer Phang's debut feature Half-Life premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival in the New Frontiers section and received the Narrative Grand Jury Prize at the GenArt Film Festival.
  • Tom Quinn's debut feature, The New Year Parade, is set in his native Philadelphia and won numerous awards including the Grand Jury prize at this year's Slamdance Film Festival.
  • Dee Rees, a former intern on Spike Lee's Inside Man, is turning her much acclaimed short Pariah into a full-length feature with the help of executive producer Effie Brown and support from the Sundance Institute.
  • Daniel Robin is the recipient of the Best Short at Sundance 2008 with
    my olympic summer.
  • Mark Russell was the visual effects supervisor of Alex Rivera's Sundance Award winning debut feature Sleep Dealer and the forthcoming Charlie Kaufman helmed Synecdoche, New York.
  • Joshua Safdie's debut feature, The Pleasure of Being Robbed, closed the Directors' Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival and will be released by IFC this October.
  • Tariq Tapa's neorealist debut feature Zero Bridge was shot in the Indian-occupied city of Srinagar, Kashmir, and has been tipped to premiere at one of the Fall's big international festivals.
  • Matt Wolf directed Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell, which premiered at this year's Berlin Film Festival.
  • Christina Voros' short documentary, The Ladies, was nominated for a Student Academy Award and she is currently on the festival circuit with her narrative short Rosy.
  • Benh Zeitlin's 27-minute short film Glory at Sea shared the short film prize at SXSW and he is heading back to New Orleans, the setting for his last film, to shoot two guerilla features.
  • David and Nathan Zellner, while already well known on the festival circuit, these Austin-based brothers are back with a new feature, Goliath, which will be released by IFC Films later this year.

About Filmmaker magazine
Established in 1992, Filmmaker is a quarterly publication covering the craft and business of filmmaking. Editor-in-Chief Scott Macaulay's perspective as a working independent producer ensures that the magazine's voice is authentic in covering the behind-the-scene aspects of the creative, technical and business realities facing specialized film. With readership of more than 60,000, Filmmaker is available through direct subscription and at more than 1,000 leading newsstands worldwide. Filmmaker is published by IFP, the nation's largest and oldest organization of independent filmmakers.

About IFP
Founded as a satellite program of 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 believes that independent films broaden the palette of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism. For information:


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