Why Independent Film Matters
Democracy has long proposed-and globalization and multiculturalism now demand-that good citizens be informed from a variety of perspectives. One of the most powerful ways to share and receive such input is through the universal language of film. Whether it is projected in theaters, watched on television, viewed on a DVD, or streamed over the Internet, a film can entertain, educate, enlighten, and inspire us, influencing how we understand and act in the world. Independent films, driven by a filmmaker’s unique vision, address issues and disseminate stories and points of view that may be too risky for those who are constrained by commercial considerations.
IFP’s Role in Independent Film
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 believes that independent films broaden the palette of cinema, seeding the global culture with new ideas, kindling awareness, and fostering activism.
Currently, IFP represents a network of 10,000 filmmakers in New York City and around the world. Through its workshops, seminars, conferences, mentorships, and Filmmaker magazine, IFP schools its members in the art, technology, and business of independent filmmaking (there are special programs to promote racial, ethnic, religious, ideological, gender, and sexual diversity). IFP builds audiences by hosting screenings, often in collaboration with other cultural institutions-and also bestows the Gotham Awards™, the first honors of the film awards season. When all is said and done, IFP fosters the development of 300 feature and documentary films each year.
Why IFP Matters
Even as the Internet and other new media are creating a dizzying array of new opportunities, the consolidation of media ownership in fewer and fewer corporate hands threatens access to many traditional platforms. Major film studios are acquiring fewer independent films and marketing more of their own productions and co-productions as “independent.” To create a truly independent film and make sure it is seen takes more technological sophistication and business acumen than ever before. Having helped build the infrastructure of the independent film movement and long nurtured its community, IFP now reinforces its leadership role by frankly addressing the changes and challenges the industry confronts.
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