Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), Manhattan, New York, champions the future of the independent storytelling community..."

"The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP)  http://www.ifp.org/ champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. IFP fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community, represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin."

Member from 2000-2005

"IFP guides storytellers through the process of making and distributing their work. It offers creative, technological and business support through year-round programming, which includes Filmmaker Magazine, Independent Film Week, Envision, The Gotham Independent Film Awards, and the Independent Filmmaker Labs. IFP’s latest initiative, the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, is an incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where storytellers from multiple disciplines, industries, and platforms can create, collaborate and connect. Through its programming—which also includes seminars, conferences, and mentorships—IFP creates exciting opportunities for promising new voices from a diverse range of racial, ethnic, religious, ideological and sexual perspectives.
Founded in 1979, IFP is the larges and oldest not-for-profit dedicated to independent film." More info at

"Programs help filmmakers navigate the industry, develop new audiences, and encourage close interaction between all participants."

According to Empire Magazine, following are the top 15 of the 50 greatest independent films, as presented on AMC. http://www.filmsite.org/independentfilms.html

15. Blood Simple (1984), d. Joel CoenThe Coen Brothers launched themselves upon an unsuspecting world with this noir throwback in 1984, and they haven't looked back. But all their subsequent success - and many of their trademark flourishes - can be dated back to this Texas-set tale of private eyes, murder most foul and more double (triple, and quadruple) crosses than you can count. The style is present and correct in the almost black-and-white locations and bright red blood, but it's the tone that stands out. Like Fargo without the warmth of Marge Gunderson, or Miller's Crossing without the qualms of conscience, Blood Simple is the darkest, and arguably up there with the best, of the Coens' films.
14. Stranger Than Paradise (1984, W. Ger/US), d. Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch is another in the small canon of American directors who have spent their entire career outside of the mainstream - hell, even when he's got Johnny Depp in his movie the box office seems relatively unperturbed. But it's this early work - just his second feature - that stands among the best. Possibly the biggest reason for Stranger Than Paradise's inclusion here is, despite all outward appearances, Jarmusch's craftily disguising that he knows exactly what he's on about. It wasn't for another film or two that his themes of the universality of humankind, regardless of race, creed or colour, became apparent. Consider also his legacy on the likes of Wayne Wang and Greg Araki.
13. Memento (2000), d. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan's modestly budgeted sleeper hit managed to claw it's way over the indie fence and into mainstream recognition on pure ingenuity. Before Memento, the 'character with amnesia' subgenre was, generally, a rather tired one (and has become so again since), but using the simplest of devices - telling the story's episodic structure in reverse order - the filmmakers (Nolan's brother Jonathan wrote the basis of the screenplay) forged a tale that was arse-clenchingly compelling, and ironically, unforgettable. And let's not forget it was the first major breakthrough in screenwriting structure since Pulp Fiction and its many clones, which in itself deserves an award.
12. Eraserhead (1977), d. David Lynch
Another piecemeal movie - shot over five years on a virtually non-existent budget, prompting lead Jack Nance to keep that same distinctive pre-Marge Simpson haircut for the duration of the shoot - Eraserhead is one of the strangest, most perplexing movies you'll ever see. It's jam-packed with deeply unsettling imagery, a grating, scraping, percussive soundtrack and an almost omnipresent sense of dread and doom. Despite all that, it's one of Lynch's most complete, a true surrealist masterpiece for everybody, barring the guy who made it - in Lynch's world, this is probably the equivalent of Bad Boys 2.
11. Bad Taste (1987, NZ), d. Peter Jackson
Compared to the long hard slog that was making Bad Taste, the Rings trilogy was a walk in the park. Famously funded almost entirely by himself and shot on weekends over a period of FOUR YEARS, Jackson not only wrote, directed, and appeared in a couple of roles, but supervised the special effects, constructed makeshift 'steadicam' equipment and probably made the tea, too. The result is as ramshackle as you'd imagine, but is also an endlessly inventive, vibrant alien invasion movie with extraordinary levels of gore, black comedy and an early peek of the scampish, OTT sense of humour that is evident in even the most serious and worthy of PJ's canon. At times you can almost hear him giggle himself silly, behind the camera.

A few favorites:

Memento, Trailer

Sideways, Trailer

Monty Python's Life of Brian, Trailer


Anonymous said...

Love Sideways! But I think it's the only film I've seen on this list. It just hit me that I'm not much of an independent film watcher. There are a few that I'd like to see.

The Trailer of Memento looks very interesting. Will rent it.

K. :)

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Hi, K.! Many aren't indie fans. Before I'd written my screenplays which are big budget films, I believed my first film would be a low budget. I became a member of IFP before I became agented in 2005.

But there are small film gems. Memento will blow your mind. My g/f and I had to watch it several times as we had to vote for the IFP Spirit Awards before we had an idea of what was going on. I believe it's one of the best films I've ever seen.

Enjoy, K.! :))

Ron said...

FAB post, Petra!

I LOVE independent films. In fact, many of my favorite actors are ones who mainly do independent films (someone like, Parker Posey). Christopher Guest is an independent film director who will often write, direct and produce his films on a very small budget, but they are always AWESOME.

Love Memento! Faaabulous story and film. I have yet to see Sideways, but everyone (and even my brother) has told me that I would love it. I'm also a big wine lover, and I know that the movie has something to do with wine.

And I love the photo with Stanley Tucci in it. What a GREAT actor!

Very enjoyable post, my friend!


petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Thank you, Ron!

I think my love for indies came from the Coen bothers and Jim Jarmusch. They're wonderful writer/directors and have created some of the best, like Coffee and Cigarettes, and Night on Earth.

It's so hard to make a film with millions let alone on a shoestring budget. One never feels it's a small film when done well.

Did you ever see the film, Pi? Another great one.

Adore Stanley Tucci since his appearance in The Big Night.

If you love wine, you'd love Sideways, Ron. :))