New York Film and Video Festival

New York Film and Video Festival

If you’ve just overcome the hurdles of making your first independent film, the experience of finding festivals and distribution for your project can be incredibly daunting.  The A-List festivals frequented by Hollywood’s Who’s Who are usually the first choices for an independent filmmaker. Unfortunately, they are also the most difficult ones for small independent films to be accepted into because of the high standards and politics that they employ in their selection processes. Most of the films that win awards and screen at the elite festivals are made either by so-called “specialty” divisions of the major studios, i.e. Warner Bros., Disney, 20th Century Fox, etc. or are represented by high power sales agency firms who specialize in getting their projects into said events to facilitate sales on them. Moreover, the major studios themselves are increasingly using film festival premieres to promote their own projects in order to garner positive publicity and platform their theatrical release.

So in the past thirty years, a system that was filmes gospel designed to promote movies produced in opposition to the studios has been almost entirely co-opted by them, leaving the beginners and true independents out in the cold. Every year, 120 films are selected for exhibition at one particular star-studded festival. These films are chosen from more than 8000 dramatic, documentary and short film submissions. However, most indie directors and producers starting out probably aren’t going to have access to a Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp right off the bat and seeing as how nearly all high-profile festival projects are celebrity-driven, the chances for an intriguing film with a no-name cast becomes even slimmer. Many first time filmmakers are eager to get noticed with their breakout film that was often done on a small budget with savings or mortgaging their house.  They find it harder to attract star power and it becomes an impossible task to stand out against the films that have millions invested in them and celebrity attachment.

Just ask director Dan Frank who applied to all the major festivals with his films Little Bruno and Devils Highway. Frank says, “After figuring out that my independent low-budget films were being ignored because they had no major stars in them, I realized nobody at film festivals were even looking at them and I was wasting my money sending out entry fees. So I entered my films into the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival ( NYIIFVF)  and my life has changed for the better. I go to the Cannes Film Festival and Marche du Film every year with them and I’m actually making a living in the film business.”  Since the entering the NYIIFVF, Frank’s films have sold to several international territories including: Russia, Thailand and Germany, through the festival’s distribution company ITN Distribution.  He’s made a TV cooking series called “Bikini Kitchen” with Stormy Daniels that has buyers interested around the world and produced and directed the documentary Medicinal which has screened in 16 cities and Medicinal 101 and is screening 43 times. “Since my screenings at the NYIIFVF in New York, LA and at the Cannes/Marche du Film. I’ve learned more about the film business that I ever did in film school ” says Mr Frank. His company URD ( Upward Rising Development) is theatrically re releasing Steve Soderbergh epic film “Che” starring Benicio De Toro in Los Angeles.

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