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Indie Prods Targeted At Int’l Film Finance Confab

The second International Film Financing Conference will open Jan. 13 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Conference Center with an open day seminar focusing on the methods and players in independent feature financing.

Inspired by the annual European Cinemart in Rotterdam, Iffcon ’95 is an intensive weekend of seminars and networking sessions anchored by two dozen selected projects seeking financing for development and/or production. This year’s slate ranges from a documentary on the Black Panthers to the relationship comedy “Varleena’s Hideaway.” Some projects are well advanced, requiring perhaps $50,000 for completion costs, to films in gestation looking to raise as much as $3 million.

“Our experience going after European pre-sales and production partners, and the existence of Cinemart, got us thinking about how important and necessary a conference dealing with these areas was in the U.S.,” noted conference co-director Wendy Braitman. “There’s an enormous disparity in the ways and means of getting indie funding here and in Europe. Government and institutional support is limited in the States and broadcast outlets are far richer in Europe and the Far East for non-mainstream productions.”

Michael Ehrenzweig, the other conference director, also pointed out that the appetite for American indie product overseas has traditionally been far healthier than at home. Following the first edition, the office was flooded with inquiries from reps of international film and television production companies.

The event has attracted reps from Canal Plus, Germany’s ZDF/ARTE, Britain’s Channel 4, MICO/NHK of Japan and Mexico’s Macondo Cine-Video as well as American companies including HBO Showcase, Samuel Goldwyn Co., Playhouse International Pictures and ITVS.

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