×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

IFTA Posts Record Membership Growth

35 companies join as independent sector builds abroad and U.S. and overseas members looks for advocacy, guidance

The Independent Film & Television Alliance has just seen its biggest membership growth in the last 20 years, with 35 companies from 21 countries joining over the last year.

New members at IFTA, which organizes the American Film Market and lobbies for the global independent sector, include Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios, Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media, New York’s Visit Films and some 15 other U.S companies, mainly world sales agents.

But the record IFTA growth is a global phenomenon, and a sign of the times. One driver: the steady growth of film and TV production outside the U.S. and its international distribution ambitions, led by China.

Years back, Chinese films were principally sold for international out of Hong Kong. Now IFTA members include several mainland China-based companies, such as CMC Pictures, which sold milestone blockbuster “Wolf Warriors II,” and sponsored last year’s American Film Market bags.

Other new Chinese IFTA members include animation giant Fantawild, producer of “Boonie Bears” and Yi Animation Inc, as Chinese companies harbor ambitions of creating family entertainment brands not just for China but the world.

Popular on Variety

China is not alone, however. Also joining IFTA ranks are AAA Entertainment, an African film sales agent, and TBA Studios, a top Philippine production house.

As production globalizes, however, so does the need for global advocacy and guidance, given the disruption of long-standing business models by the eruption of global video platforms and integration of the major studios, broadcasters, and cable companies, said an IFTA press statement.

“Our member companies are seeking a strong advocate for their interests and a community in which common concerns can be shared and solutions can be developed,” said IFTA president and CEO Jean Prewitt.

“IFTA is the only global organization that meets that need,” she added.

Over the last three years, Prewitt has been one of the leading voices in the industry push-back against much of the European Commission’s project for Digital Single Market, articulating clearly its often byzantine issues but large dangers to the industry, politicians and journalists alike. IFTA also serves as a one-stop shop for guidance to business practices, trends and norms.

The need for advocacy does not look to go away any time in the near future. Apart from concern about how Digital Single Market rulings finally play out, the biggest issues for the next few months look likely include intermediary liability and platform accountability with respect to illegal content online and access to content protection tools, Prewitt said, as well as promoting marketplace opportunities for independents, including spotlighting barriers potentially arising from vertical integration between content supply and distribution outlets.

IFTA has its work cut out.

More Film

  • Weathering With You

    Japan Box Office Leaps to $2.4 Billion Record in 2019

    The Japanese box office leaped by 17% in 2019 to set a record $2.4 billion score, according to figures announced Tuesday by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, locally known as Eirin. The previous high was the $2.2 billion recorded in 2016. The Makoto Shinkai animation “Weathering with You” was the highest earning film [...]

  • Lionsgate Developing 'Memetic' Apocalyptic Horror Movie

    Film News Roundup: Lionsgate Developing 'Memetic' Apocalyptic Horror Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Lionsgate is developing graphic novel “Memetic” as a feature, the latest Laura Ziskin Prize is announced and Firelight Media creates a fund for nonfiction filmmakers of color at the mid-career mark. PROJECT LAUNCHES Lionsgate is in final negotiations for motion picture rights to the apocalyptic horror graphic novel “Memetic” for [...]

  • Sylvie's Love Review

    'Sylvie's Love': Film Review

    Sultry music swells as the camera swoons over a young couple in a tender nighttime embrace. The 1950s residential New York City street is carefully rain-slicked and lined with shiny classic cars: an obvious stage set. Gene Kelly might just have swung on that lamppost; Doris Day might lean out of an upstairs window to sigh [...]

  • Martin Scorsese Irishman BTS

    Martin Scorsese's Body of Work Extends Far Beyond Male-Centric Mafia Movies

    Actors sometimes complain about being typecast, but it’s a fact of life for anyone in entertainment. John Ford is usually labeled a director of Westerns, despite “The Grapes of Wrath” and  “Mister Roberts.” David Lean is known for his epics, but he also directed “Brief Encounter” and “Summertime.” Vincente Minnelli? The director of musicals, overlooking [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Will Oscar Campaigning Turn to Mudslinging?

    On March 5, 1963, Army Archerd wrote in Variety: “There’s been a not-so-subtle campaign pyramiding since Oscar nominations that Omar Sharif is an ex-Egyptian soldier who fought in the Israeli War. Forget it: Omar sez: ‘I never fought in any army.’” Archerd also denied the rumor that Sharif was Muslim. Two big takeaways: 1. Mudslinging [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Why Blake Lively Isn't Trying to Be the 'Female James Bond' in 'The Rhythm Section'

    “The Rhythm Section,” Reed Morano’s new espionage thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her family’s untimely death, is not a female-led approximation of a “James Bond” film. Though Barbara Broccoli, the magnate producer whose family has been solely responsible for the franchise, is producing the movie, “The Rhythm Section” is decidedly not [...]

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez. Kristen Anderson-Lopez,

    Kristen Anderson-Lopez Talks Responsibility, Representation in 'Frozen 2' and the Biz

    Gender parity isn’t an issue in Oscar-winning songwriting-composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s house, what with her longstanding collaboration with husband Bobby Lopez, but at the Oscars luncheon on Monday, it was a different story. “There were 13 female directors represented in the shorts and documentary fields,” Anderson-Lopez notes, adding, “but how do we get from there to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content