Michelle Byrd, executive director of the Independent Feature Project, is rejigging the annual IFP market, reducing the number of projects selected for screening by 40%.
Byrd has also promoted Patricia Finneran to the newly created position of artistic director of the IFP market, which runs Sept. 26-Oct. 4 in Gotham.
Other changes include no screenings of narrative features; greater focus on works in development and scripts; increased business services for the industry; and more than $50,000 in cash and services to filmmakers through juried awards.
“Once we were able to let go of our historical embrace of projecting completed narrative features, we could visualize a new world of services and opportunities,” said Byrd, who along with IFP director Ellen Cotler elected to re-evaluate the event. “We are committed to our niche of piquing industry interest at the development stage, and we do not want to compete for finished films which are on their way to the festival circuit.”
Market’s four sections include the eighth annual No Borders international co-production market, wherein narrative and doc projects in development are presented by producers with track records. An Emerging Narrative division will be a competitive section of fiction projects focusing exclusively on scripts, shorts and works in progress. Spotlight on docs, sponsored by HBO, will capitalize on the IFP’s 23-year legacy of presenting award-winning nonfiction work at the feature-length, short, and work-in-progress stage. Market will, as in the past, include a film conference and expo.
The Emerging Narrative section will have 62% fewer narrative projects than last year. Eighty-five scripts, works in progress and shorts will be accommodated. “Our goal is to heighten attention around a select group of talented, emerging filmmakers –particularly those still seeking production and completion funding,” said Finneran.
IFP Market will present the Gordon Parks Independent Film Awards. Two awards of $10,000 each will be presented to an African-American director and a screenwriter participating with a project in any of the market’s sections. The directing winner will also receive a $5,000 product grant from Eastman Kodak.
Finneran is charged with getting out the new message on the IFP market. Diane Spence and Colin Stanfield continue in their roles of guiding the film conference and expo, as well as the No Borders international co-production market.
Another first for the market is the exclusive use of an online submission process beginning April 1 at www.ifp.org.