WHAT IS THE INDEPENDENT FILM SCHOOL?
In 2006, after playing a key role in various writing groups, I invited folks to an impromptu screenwriting workshop. Eight people showed up. Word got out about my knack for training writers and within two years, several hundred writers had been to my workshops. As I went on to direct and produce as well (mostly by necessity), my workshops organically developed in the same indie-spirit direction. In 2009 I added producing and directing workshops, and those saw the same success. I currently teach my workshops under the alias of The Independent Film School. All workshops offered under this alias are personally taught by me.
I’m a perpetual student and workshop junky myself. Each of my workshops is as clear and accessible a presentation as I can create, of the best tools that I encounter in the world. I spend more time making films than teaching, so I get to continually modify and develop my favorite tools, combine them across disciplines, and invent new ones. My tools are the result of applying what I learn to my own work, and observing their effects on my students.
My guiding principle has been to create the workshops that I wish I had gotten to take. I think back to my own beginnings as a filmmaker and I create the workshops that I wish that young woman had gotten to attend: ones that are packed with concrete information, and are super supportive and encouraging. My life would have been very different if I had gotten the encouragement that artists need. My workshops are a gift to this young woman, a token of my appreciation that somehow, against all odds, she managed to believe in herself just enough, and reach out for help just enough, to be able to keep going. It’s been a highlight of my work to discover that my gift to myself has automatically become a gift to so many of my peers as well.
–Ela Thier, founder
The Independent Film School
c/o Women Make Movies
462 Broadway, Ste. 500WS
New York, NY 10013