NYFA's Consulting Program for Filmmakers

Matthew Seig informs of a helpful new program for New York Filmmakers. Don't miss out on it! Filmmakers can have a tough time finding professional guidance on new work or works-in-progress. The critiques they attract before reaching their audience are usually limited to acceptance or rejection letters, perhaps accompanied by a few brief comments. Filmmakers’ written material, social-media and distribution strategies, and sometimes the films themselves, are often created single-handedly by the artists and could be improved with a little professional advice.

For those who can be in New York on November 10, New York Foundation for the Arts has developed a unique consulting program for filmmakers. It was modeled after one of NYFA’s signature services for visual artists, called “Doctor’s Hours,” which provides one-on-one consultations with museum curators and gallery owners. Similarly, Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers will offer an opportunity to meet with fundraisers; social-media producers; festival, art house and television programmers; and grass-roots and theatrical distributors, many of whom are familiar names in the indie community.

During each private one-on-one twenty-five-minute session, filmmakers can present a work sample or trailer, written material, or web content.

There is a fee of $35 for each consultation, and a filmmaker may have up to three consultations during the evening (6:00 PM to 9:00 PM). Registration opens on October 25. Further details, a list of the consultants and their bios, and registration pages can be found at nyfa.org

Consultants: Thursday, November 10th, 6-9pm

Caitlin Boyle, Grassroots and advocacy-driven distribution, community screening initiatives, grassroots marketing and communications, audience outreach and engagement.

Jim Browne, Distribution, festivals, exhibition, digital distribution options

Anne del Castillo, Submitting work to television and navigating PBS

Amy Finkel, Websites, interactivity, documentary production

Eliza Licht, Social media, community outreach, developing audiences

Victoria Linchong, Proposals, grants, written materials

Lynn Lobell, Proposals, grants, written materials

Michael Tuckman, Distribution, festivals, promotional campaigns

Chris White, Preparing work for television, website content, trailers and editing

*If you will be requesting feedback on a grant application or written material, please be prepared to provide it to us at least one week in advance

For consultant bios visit our website These bios provide an opportunity for you to research which consultants would be appropriate for the advice and feedback you are seeking.

Perhaps best known for its programs for visual artists but serving all disciplines as well as other arts organizations, NYFA’s Fellowship, Professional Development and Fiscal Sponsorship programs have served thousands of filmmakers, including Barbara Kopple, Joe Berlinger, Todd Haynes, Reginald Hudlin, Tamara Jenkins, Nathaniel Kahn, Spike Lee, Mira Nair and Kimberly Price. A series of presentations for filmmakers on subjects such as social media; grass-roots outreach; DIY and split-rights distribution; transmedia; and new technologies; some now available by podcast, was begun in 2009 (with an inaugural presentation by Ted Hope) and has now led to the development of Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers.

In the era of multidisciplinary art and transmedia, NYFA is a unique resource. The email list for notifications of future Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers is at nyfa.org > Email List > Artist Learning.

Matthew Seig is a Media Specialist for New York Foundation for the Arts.

Show Biz Is No Longer Business As Usual

NY Foundation of The Arts' Matthew Seig pointed out Michael Feingold's recent Village Voice article to me.  Although it addresses the problems of NY's theater world it is equally applicable to the film world.  Give it a read.  Feingold lays out both the benefits and the challenges:

testing actors, challenging directors and designers, setting the bar high for playwrights to extend their reach. And I know, too, that if made affordable (but how?), it would benefit a New York audience that has long since given up going to the theater, an audience not interested in fighting its way through ill-mannered tourist crowds to see old musicals redone cheaply and stars that it can see for free (or the cost of a Netflix download) on its home screen. The audience is ready; the artists are ready. What will the theater do?

Who Can Really Help Indie Film? #3: Small Film Festivals

Today's post is a guest post from Mathew Seig of New York Foundation For The Arts.  We are thankful he's picked up on this question and hope many of you also offer up suggestions.

Small film festivals, but they need help from larger ones.

Assuming that we care about films playing to a live audience in a dark theater, film festivals are the most likely venue that most independent filmmakers are going to have. For that purpose, the thousand or two thousand small U.S. festivals are as important as the largest. So instead of focusing solely on the large festivals that usually dominate our attention, let’s consider the small local and regional film festivals where independent films get most of their exposure. Large or small, film festivals have an important place in the changing world of independent film discussed by Ted Hope (“The New Model For Indie Film: The Ongoing Conversation”) at New York Foundation for the Arts on May 28, 2009 and then posted on TrulyFreeFilm.

As with so many of the independent films that they show, small festivals (and community micro-cinemas and similar venues) exist thanks to the largely unpaid efforts of serious film lovers. They don’t offer premiers of star-driven films or attract distribution representatives, but we increasingly rely on small festivals to nurture artists and audiences, and to bring personal and specialized cinema of all kinds to out-of-the-way communities. Yet small festivals share with filmmakers an urgent need to adapt to the changing circumstances of the entire business. Unlike the concern we regularly hear for filmmakers, distributors and theaters, there isn’t much hand-wringing about the fate of small festivals, or their quality, or much information about how they can keep up with the times, grow and improve.

Small festivals are largely staffed by people with a strong love of film but often without much knowledge of exhibition. To survive, prosper and grow, they need information, support, encouragement and useful criticism. The people who can best help them are those who have experience managing successful festivals, and who know how to develop relationships with audiences, sponsors, distributors and filmmakers.

Large festivals are some of the most logical places to institute this process. They provide important access to films, filmmakers and distributors, so they are already attended by representatives from smaller festivals. Adding educational programs, festival labs, and networking opportunities for their smaller cousins and for people entering the business would strengthen the entire community. A thousand healthy film festivals will help many thousands of filmmakers.

Matthew Seig
New York Foundation for the Arts