On September 29 the Independent Feature Project (IFP) kicked off its 23rd annual independent film market and conference. The week-long event allowed hundreds of indie filmmakers a chance to showcase their work, lobby for funds and pitch new projects.
While the Paltrows and DeNiros of the film world were uptown at Lincoln Center celebrating the much-hyped New York Film Festival, things downtown were a bit less glamorous but no less busy or productive or, dare we say, important.
More than 330 films were shown at the market last week, ranging from two-minute trailers to feature-length documentaries. Yet, there was more on people’s minds than celluloid art. Discussions were weighty and often included opinions and personal accounts of the September 11 tragedy. It seemed filmmaking, for all its redeeming and edifying qualities, took an emotional backseat to the state of world affairs at the moment.
The IFP market’s screening venue, the Anjelika Film Center, is a brisk fifteen minute walk from the infamous “Ground Zero” . The proximity of grim reality to the make-believe world of film was not lost on this year’s attendees, especially the New Yorkers. Still, the show went on and the Market offered some informative seminars that covered topics from digital film editing to pitching scripts to upbeat and inspiring panel discussions such as the one offered by director Mira Nair and cinematographer Sandi Sissel, who reminisced about their successful collaboration on the indie masterpiece “Salaam Bombay.”
But talking shop seemed to be nothing more than exchanging cursory pleasantries. While people were busy handing out postcards and promotional materials for their films, they still took plenty of time to share stories and discuss how terrorism, war and a sweeping sense of insecurity will inevitably find its way into their work.
In some cases, it already had.
Get the whole story in part two of IFP MARKET 2001: WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE FILMMAKER NOW?