Tech & Media Finally Allowed To Marry In NYC (IFP To Officiate)

It was with great pleasure that on Friday, I saw that it was announced that the IFP (of which I am on the board of) was awarded the RFP for a new digital media center in New York City.  I, and many others, had been struggling with the lack of interaction between the two fields.  The Mayor's Office stepped into do something about it.  This is a truly great initiative and should be a model for cities throughout the country (Hey San Francisco:  hint, hint).

This is the official press release:

Media Center Will Promote Collaboration between Entertainment, Advertising and New Media Industries and Offer Educational Programs to Support the Next Generation of Innovators

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky today announced that IFP, the Independent Filmmaker Project, will develop and operate the “Made in NY” Media Center, a centralized hub for the local media industry to collaborate and grow. The “Made in NY” Media Center will provide workspace, educational programs in partnership with General Assembly and networking events for content creators and entrepreneurs. The center will be housed in DUMBO, Brooklyn at an 18,000 square foot facility that will bring together professionals from the film, television, advertising, new media, gaming, marketing and branding industries for collaboration and new opportunities. It is expected to open in May 2013. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at the future site of the “Made in NY” Media Center by IFP executive director Joana Vicente, General Assembly founder Matt Brimer, Representative Nydia M. Velazquez, Assembly Member Joan Millman and Carlo A. Scissura, president & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

“New York City is at the forefront of both the entertainment and tech industries, and our new ‘Made in NY’ Media Center will help creators, artists and entrepreneurs build on the success we’ve already seen,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By providing workspace for projects in development, professional workshops and innovative programs to welcome new ideas and start-ups, we will continue to attract talent and new ideas.”

“One of the goals of the ‘Made in NY’ Media Center is to connect filmmakers, producers and storytellers to a rapidly changing world that is full of mobile apps, multi-platform distribution and social media,” said Media & Entertainment Commissioner Oliver. “IFP’s decades-long work in promoting and supporting independent filmmakers makes it the ideal choice to develop the ‘Made in NY’ Media Center into a thriving source of new content and collaboration in the City.”

“The ‘Made in NY’ Media Center is an important investment in the future of an industry that has grown phenomenally under Mayor Bloomberg,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “With this investment, we will help ensure that the next generation of creative and business talent critical to the continued expansion of this industry is seeded and nurtured right here in New York, helping to cement our city’s status as one of the world's great centers of innovation for generations to come.”

“The ‘Made in NY’ Media Center bolsters the future of New York City’s thriving media industry by supporting quality storytelling and innovation,” said Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer. “Through powerful events, programs and resources, the ‘Made in NY’ Media Center will help prepare New Yorkers for jobs in the evolving media ecosystem and facilitate cross-sector collaboration.”

“The ‘Made in NY’ Media Center will be an incubator for great stories and a showcase for new works whether they’re told through film, digital, games or apps,” said Joana Vicente, executive director, IFP. “Regardless of what tools are used, we’ll be doing what we’ve done for 30 years: curating stories, supporting artists and connecting storytellers to investors, audiences and other artists. At IFP, we are thrilled.”

“Since opening our original New York City campus in January 2011, General Assembly has helped more than 21,000 students globally create opportunities through educational programming in the areas of technology, entrepreneurship and design,” said Adam Pritzker, co-founder and chairman, General Assembly. “We believe that New York is one of the most important centers for technology and media in the world, and we are excited to continue our support of this community through our collaboration with the IFP and the creation of the ‘Made in NY’ Media Center.”

“The Made in NY Media Center will be an important hub of creative and innovative thinking,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “This collaborative workspace will bring together professionals from across various industries, and help inspire countless New Yorkers to realize their true potential. I want to thank and congratulate IFP, the Bloomberg administration, and my Council colleagues for working together to keep pace with the ever changing world of technology, and seeking new ways to prepare New Yorkers for new jobs.”

“New York City has a rich history as the media capital of the world,” said Representative Velazquez. “This new facility will build on that legacy, providing more opportunities for collaboration, creativity and the production of compelling new films, television and digital media.”

“The TV shows and films made right here in New York prove that you don't need to go to Hollywood to make it big,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Now, countless New Yorkers who work in the industry will have a new place to call home thanks to IFP and ‘Made in New York.’ Just like the new Tech Triangle bus route we're building, this is yet another step toward the connectivity New York's media industry needs to continue to grow and create jobs and business for our communities.”

“I am delighted the City has selected DUMBO for its ‘Made in NY’ Media Center,” said Assembly Member Joan L. Millman. “This location will provide workspace as well as a community center in a neighborhood already home to digital and social media start-ups.”

“Today’s announcement reinforces the fact that the borough of Brooklyn, and the DUMBO neighborhood in particular, is quickly becoming the creative hub of the city,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin. “This will provide much-needed affordable space for media entrepreneurs and start-up companies and allow for collaboration among individuals across a variety of fields. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Oliver and President Pinsky for their commitment to and investment in New York City’s creative industries and I congratulate Joana Vicente and her team at the Independent Filmmaker Project on their exciting proposal.”

“There is no better place than DUMBO to bring professionals from the film, advertising, new media, and gaming industries together in one central location,” said Carlo A. Scissura, president & CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Home to New York’s ever-growing tech community, DUMBO is a hot spot for digital media and other start-ups. This new center is also wonderful for Brooklyn businesses as a whole because it ensures that the borough continues to attract the best and the brightest from around the world. I would like to extend my thanks to Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Oliver for all their work in this area and for ensuring that the city remains ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology.”

“Downtown Brooklyn is fast becoming a center for creativity, anchored by 57,000 college students, a burgeoning tech sector and flourishing media and design presence, making the borough an ideal location for the ‘Made in New York’ digital media center,” said Tucker Reed, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “Brooklyn has long been home to most of the city’s manufacturing industry, and will continue to be so by creating products and ideas that support New York’s thriving innovation economy.”
“The ‘Made in NY’ Media Center is going to be an incredible resource for the hundreds of creative and tech firms in DUMBO and thousands of creators setting up shop in the growing in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle,” said Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Improvement District. “We’re thrilled to have this community space, led by IFP and world-class partners like General Assembly. DUMBO is the perfect spot for the center and we have no doubt the entrepreneurs will be inspired by not only our cinematic scenery but also the presence of so many innovators in media taking root along the Brooklyn Waterfront.”
Looking to help solve the need for traditional media companies to adapt to new business
models or face becoming obsolete, the “Made in NY” Media Center aims to work with content creators, storytellers and technology companies to collaborate across platforms and industries and create new opportunities and business products. The “Made in NY” Media Center will launch with affordable short term rental work areas: community workspace intended for individual use and co-working workspace for small firms or start ups for extended rentals, in addition to post production suites and two to three anchor tenants who will be housed in offices at the center. The facility will also feature classrooms, a public café, media arts gallery, lounge, numerous conference rooms and a 98-seat state-of-the-art ‘white box’ screening/multimedia room. Flexible workstations can be reconfigured to allow for changing needs of the occupants.

The building at 20 Jay Street is a New York City Landmark designed by William Higginson for the Arbuckle Brothers in 1909 as America’s largest coffee roaster and packager. IFP will work with New York real estate development firm Two Trees Management Co. to develop the facility; Brooklyn-based MESH Architectures will design the space.

At the “Made in NY” Media Center, a host of programs and workshops will be offered to foster the development of the next generation of content creators. General Assembly, a leading global education company headquartered in New York, will provide classes, workshops, and long-form educational programming covering technology, entrepreneurship, and design. The IFP will offer classes on creativity & craft, cross-media strategy, and career sustainability. This regularly scheduled and affordable curriculum will be offered to the public and will address the needs of all levels of professionals. The curricula will be designed to address the needs of would-be entrepreneurs seeking to transition to emerging career fields in media, individuals looking for specific skills and practical knowledge to fill gaps in their toolkit and those looking to stay current in their chosen career.

The media center will offer memberships to multimedia professionals at various levels. At the Partnership level, for example, aimed at mid-career professionals seeking new partners and strategic development, members would receive desk space in the center; twice annual use of the screening room; thrice annual use of the presentational space; access to one of the center’s educational seminars each month; and invitations to screenings, networking events and IFP membership.

To encourage interaction and collaboration among the different participants in the “Made in NY” Media Center, several programs will be embedded into the agenda, including the Transmedia Incubator, the nation’s first dedicated transmedia incubator to jump-start and support innovative projects from idea to conception and beyond. Networking events, workshops, training sessions and panels will also take place at center.

New York City is home to a vibrant media and entertainment industry. Each year approximately 200 films shoot on location throughout the five boroughs, and there are 25 primetime television and online series based in the city, as well as 140 news, reality, children’s and other programs. An estimated 1,000 tech start ups that have been created in the city during the last five years. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of employees at city-based digital media companies grew by 74 percent. Across the country, mobile apps have become a $20 billion industry and created almost 500,000 American jobs.

IFP was selected as the developer and operator of the “Made in NY” Media Center after a request for proposals was issued by EDC in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment in March 2012. Since its inception in 1979 in New York City, IFP has pursued its mission of sustaining innovative content creation and community building through its support of the production of 8,000 films and 22,000 filmmakers. Each year IFP presents the Gotham Independent Film Awards and brings filmmakers and industry reps together at Independent Film Week. IFP also publishes FILMMAKER Magazine.

Proposed renderings of the design of the “Made in NY” Media Center are available on the NYC Mayor’s Office’s Flickr page.

Why Be Like Everyone Else?

I have met many filmmakers who were avid skateboarders in their teens; some remain so today. Although scientists have yet to find a link between the two activities, but as they both encourage people to find their own personal style, you can see why there there is a connection. Of course, filmmaking and skateboarding go together like peanutbutter and jelly. And my favorite city is always the bread for two great tastes, as this film proves.

Skateboarding is a bit challenging in New York City, particularly when you have a board like this...

Your Second Chance: New Faces Of NYC Indie Film Video

We had a packed house at Lincoln Center for our "New Faces Of NYC Indie Film" panel. It was a good conversation. Sure, my game show idea did not work out, but hey, when you have eleven people up on the stage with you, it means you have eleven people not talking and that's hard to keep it lively. Luckily, all eleven people had a lot to say and are clearly a group of passionate and committed filmmakers, making sacrifices for the privilege of making their art. If you didn't get there, now through the miraculous power of the internet, you can give us two hours of your time and see what it is you missed.

Watch live streaming video from innovent at

And yes, both I and Lincoln Center know, that this panel is very white, young, and generally male and probably straight -- and thus not truly representative of the diversity of talented filmmakers in our city. The Film Society of Lincoln Center has to be acknowledged (and praised) for what may well be the most diverse programming in the world -- this panel excluded. This panel evolved out of an initial idea to focus on new collaborative teams and that was shaping the "casting". It's not an excuse, just an effort to provide context. Of course, we can do better. And I will.

Come Play At My Panel Today At 4P At Lincoln Center

I am moderating the "Some Of The New Faces Of NY Independent Film" panel today to help kick off Lincoln Center's new theaters. They are truly beautiful and will surely be a must-see destination for all Cinemaniacs throughout the universe. As I believe we will have eleven panelists on the stage with me (it having been determined that that is the magic number required to get me to shut up and let someone else talk), it is going to be a bit of a circus.

Not being one to leave chaos well enough alone, I am going to inject it with some more distortion, just for kicks. I have come up with some rules to turn this panel into a bit more of a game.

Lincoln Center New Faces Of Indie Film Circus
Saturday June 11, 2011 4P

Participants: 11 panelists, 1 moderator.
Duration: 2 hrs (90 mins of Q&A, 30 min of audience questions)
Questions: 30 prepared…
Basic Math: 30 questions x 2 minute answers + 1 minute rebuttal = 90 minutes

Six members of the audience will be selected to be “Extenders”. Extenders have the power to provide the panelist with additional time to answer the question.

3 Extenders will have the power to offer a single 2 minute extension to a panelist.

3 other Extenders will have the power to twice offer a 1 minute extension to a panelist. These extensions can not be combined into one answer, but must be limited to a 1 minute extension.

Each answer will be STRICTLY limited to a two-minute response.

After a panelist answers a question, they will not be permitted to answer again until every panelist has answered a question.

Each answer, once the extension has been utilized if so granted, will be offered for rebuttal to another panelist.

Rebuttals will be STRICTLY limited to a one-minute response.

Rebuttals will be offered to the first panelist closest to the left of the answerer who has their hand raised. If no rebuttal is desired, the next question will be asked.

There are no extensions to rebuttals.

At the one minute mark, the panelist to the right of The Answerer has the power of The Gong. By saying “GONG!” loudly this panelist becomes The Disruptor. , The Disruptor stops The Answerer and is granted the power to answer the question themselves for the full two minutes.

Extensions apply fully to The Disruptor’s answers.

The panel will be URL broadcast live at:

There will be a live Twitter feed. Use the #TedNYC hash tag please to participate.

The Twitter feed will be part of the broadcast.

As moderator, I will consider the questions posed in the Twitter Feed.

Brooklyn's Answer To SXSW? Complete With A DIY Film Festival!!

The democratization of culture and the tools to create and share it is definitely been one of the more exciting trends of the recent past. We see it in all spheres and aspects of our daily life, but what symbolizes it best? Many friends and pundits characterize it as a dumbing down, but I truly perceive it as quite the opposite. People everywhere are asking all of us to look and reach up, to aspire to more, to inspire each of us to cross into new realms. Maybe this is most felt on the streets of Austin during SXSW (although the committed might nominate Burning Man), but it is refreshing to know that NYC is not going to abandon the terrain of the wild, weird, honest, and true to that Texas town. We've got on own thing going down in Brooklyn.

rooklyn has emerged as a new creative epicenter of culture, and Northside is the festival that curates this talent into a 4-day experience of Music, Art, Film, and Ideas, showcasing the best regional and national talent all within the walkable radius encompassed by Williamsburg and Greenpoint. It's June 16 -19th and I plan to be there. In fact, I will be one of the judges of the film component. But it is not just film, per se. It is lo-fi, hi-ambition, DIY variety.

DIY filmmaking is very much a part of this mission. It’s now a given that many of the most exciting films at major American festivals are the product of a handful of friends working on a shoestring (some of them right here in Brooklyn), and it’s time festivals gave these films the dedicated platform they deserve.

Last year, with the first-ever Northside Film Festival, copresenters like Rooftop Films, IFC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Film Comment screened exciting local and upcoming films; this year, alongside these special feature presentations, Northside's new DIY Film Competition will shine a spotlight on the exciting new voices working with the materials at hand.

The submissions guidelines:

The L Magazine presents: The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Film Competition, Northside Festival's first juried screening series. Open to all filmmakers with ingenuity and a hands-on approach, the winners will receive an exclusive screening with Rooftop Films plus cash and equipment rentals! For more information on how to submit your own dynamic short or brilliant feature before the May 1 deadline hits, please visit and click "Submit Your Film." The films must have been made after January 1, 2008.

Wake Up Early & Join Me Tomorrow...and maybe I will give you a free gift (seriously)...

I know told you before, but why say something once when you can say it two or three or more times? I am here to help. I am here to share what I have learned. I am here to offer some hope. At least for the moment... So tomorrow I am participating in two public events. One is free. The other you have to pay, but the money goes to support a great organization (IFP). And to someone who knows the secret word and meets me at either of the events, I have a gift to give you. So if you come to either....


And by either I mean:

tomorrow's IFP ScriptToScreen conference where I will be moderating a case study of MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE with Borderline films, including writer/director Sean Durkin, and producers Antonio Campos and Josh Mond.

DIY DAYS NYC where I will be conducting a conversation with indie film producing legend Christine Vachon.

Come find me and stand on one foot while you tell me the actual name of the Lou tune that Mike Connel in the movie I did with Greg Mottola butchers the title of, and I will give you a couple of DVDs and other swag, and of course thank you for coming. I might as well as start clearing out those closets, right?

Sometimes I feel like I am an infomercial, so why not give out the indie equivalent of a knife set?

45 Years Of Good Policy & Tradition To Be Discarded?

Today's guest post is from producer Richard Brick.  Listen up, he knows what he is talking about. On Friday the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting (MOFTB) announced a proposal for some new policies.  Richard's post, below, is in response.

It is highly disturbing that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting is abandoning a forty-five year tradition - going back to John Lindsay - of attracting and supporting theatrical, television and commercial production with one-stop free services. In December the City agency, DCAS, implemented a $3200 fee for use of City owned buildings.  Now, Commissioner Oliver has proposed a $300 application fee the MOFTB permit.  It is logical that other City agencies will also seek to offset recent budget cuts with their own fees for use of their facilities or staffs.

It is incomprehensible that these changes are being implemented during the mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg, arguably the most business savvy mayor in New York's history.  At a time when it is necessary to diversity our City's economy away from dependence on Wall Street, film and TV production represent a clean industry employing 70,000 people whose significant economic benefits have been established by a half a dozen studies. There is a further public policy question when the recent 7.5% budget cut represents a loss of $150,000 to the MOFTB, while the new permit fees would generate approximately $900,000 annually.

The proposed MOFTB permit fee makes no distinction between a $1000 student video exercise required by one of the academic courses at our City's excellent film schools and a $100 million studio-financed feature film.  At the very least, Mayor Bloomberg ought to exempt all legitimate student productions from these new fees, recognizing that they represent an odious burden on the next generation of filmmakers.

Richard Brick was the Commissioner, M.O.F.T.B., 1992-1994.  He is an Adjunct Professor of Film and the former Chairman of the M.F.A. Degree Program at Columbia University.  He is a New York-based Producer, and a member DGA and PGA.

The MOFTB encourages anyone who would like to comment to do so by sending an email to:

Let's Make It Better Together: New Site To Check Out

I am really heartened when someone decides that they are not going to just sit around and wait for someone to deliver something to them (other than take-out that is). I am even more heartened when someone takes such action, not just for themselves but for the community at large. I truly believe that we are missing out on both vibrant work and a vital community of truly free film work by those in their 20's.

I was recently hipped to a new endeavor that, although they may not have mandated to focus on such new work, their energy, spirit, and age gives hope that it will lean such a way. Brian Geldin of The Film Panel Note Taker let me know of NYC's new"Big Vision Empty Wallet" that launches tomorrow! Today's guest post is by Alex Cirillo & Dani Faith Leonard, Founders and Creative Directors of Big Vision Empty Wallet who have been gracious enough to let us know what they are up to. Recession. The signs of it are everywhere – teachers losing jobs, restaurants and stores that were once NYC staples closing, fashion labels hiring Lindsay Lohan to design for them instead of actual designers (it’s not only Ed Hardy).  The recession is always a top story on the news and is brought up in daily conversation. We can only come to one conclusion about how our industry will fare in this climate and here it is: what an exciting time to be an artist.

In this tough economic climate of limited budgets, creativity is key. We live in the greatest city in the world filled with more creative people per capita than anywhere else. The NYC independent film community is so vibrant and our friends and colleagues are creating amazing work.

Together, we run a weekly series of film screenings and events called Industry Power Play, where we aim to foster a sense of camaraderie among the members of the NYC film community. We recognized the need for an online independent film presence that reflects our fresh and excited tone, is visually interesting, and contains all of the resources artists need to create films in NYC, as well as a forum for them to promote their completed work. Most of all, we want people to make films in our city.

All of these things have lead us to launch, our new one-stop blogazine for film in NYC, on May 1st. The site will contain news stories and other features, funny blogs, profiles of local artists, film and event reviews, videos, web series, and a jobs and gigs board. We are also compiling a full independent film resource guide, including: a vendor directory, sample production forms, information for shooting in NYC, union information, organizations, schools and festival deadlines.

Through, we will provide original content that is entertaining and useful, but never boring.

We are two hard-working women in our 20s who have a blast pursuing our careers and working in film and our site will reflect our fun, and often snarky tone. Most of all, we are excited to feature the work of up-and-coming filmmakers and artists, while encouraging people to make films in the city that we love.

One feature on the site is a weekly Top 10 list (Dani’s first one is “The Top 10 Things You Should NOT Do if You Are a Fake Producer and You Are Trying To Sleep With Me”). So, in that spirit, here are:

The Top 10 Things You Will NOT Find on

#10 – A visually uninteresting interface #9 – Mildly entertaining video content #8 – A resource guide featuring only companies who have paid to advertise #7 – A writing staff consisting only of middle-aged white men #6 – Content for the sake of filling up space #5 – Boring “How To” articles #4 – The same film and event reviews you can read anywhere else #3 – Profiles and interviews with the same questions everyone has been asked before #2 – Film reviews written by a person who has never made a film #1 – Any reason not to make a film in NYC

Repair Your Town... With Legos

Sure everyone knows that New York City is the most beautiful place in the world.  But why stop there?   Artist Jan Vormann has been patching it up in a pretty beautiful way. [caption id="attachment_2983" align="alignleft" width="566" caption="Look closely bottom right"][/caption]

Check out his work.  He's also made Amsterdam, Berlin, Tel Aviv, amongst others a little bit better.  What are you going to do today?

Best Places To Sled In NYC

Time Out just posted a great list of where to sled in these them hills round here.  Um. Okay, so that's not real good English, but we liked how it sounded anyway.  But the list is good.  For all five boroughs go the list. For Manhattan: Cedar Hill, Central Park Thrill-seekers need not apply: A less-crowded alternative to Pilgrim Hill, Cedar makes a good starter slide for beginners. Fifth Ave between 76th and 79th Sts. Subway: 6 to 77th St (

East River Park Though this long, narrow park isn't known for its steep tundra, it's a great option for downtown kiddos to get their sledding fix. Since it's located right on the river, parents can enjoy the scenic view while their tots play. Montgomery St to E 12th. Subway: F, J, M, Z to Essex St—Delancy St. (

Inwood HIll Park While this spot is great for hiking and biking in the summertime, the expansive space and sloping terrain offer some nice sledding opportunities when the snow hits. Dyckman St at the Hudson River. Subway: A to Dyckman St. (

Pilgrim Hill, Central Park The grande dame of NYC sledding institutions—and rightly so, with its perfect steepness and gentle denouement (that’s sledspeak for a smooth finish). This spot gets crowded, so prepare to slalom around a few human obstacles. Enter at 72nd St and Fifth Ave. Subway: 6 to 68th St.

Morningside Park This is where the Columbia crew hangs out, using dining hall trays, cardboard boxes and snowboards. Take a cue from the undergrads and tote along a household item to use as a makeshift (read: cheap) sled. Morningside Dr at 115th St ( Subway: B, C to 116th St.

Riverside Park There are some gentler slopes between 92nd and 103rd Streets, but the hard-core head to Hippo Playground, where you can catch a glimpse of the Hudson as you dodge trees on your way out—er, down. Hay bales at the bottom prevent impalement on the fence beyond. Grab whatever gear you’ll need at C&S Hardware (788 Amsterdam Ave at 98th St; 212-222-8720, 91st St at Riverside Dr ( Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 96th St.

91st Street For a quick fix, slip down 91st Street’s pedestrian-only zone. This is urban sledding in its purest form; just watch out for unsuspecting pups! 91st St between Second and Third Aves. Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St.

NYC: When Will The Next Bus Arrive?

It's about time. Now if they only would do it for subways too. And maybe people can be trained not to walk down into the subway when they see people coming up (don't they know a train has just arrived and left the station?!).

Electronic count down displays with expected arrival times will be placed along 34th street:
How come this can't exist everywhere?

NYC Goes Micro Scale Lego

Do you ever read the New York Times?  You know that paper that your folks read?  Maybe if they printed more articles like this instead just putting up on their blog then they could tap into that 8-12 year old market.  Maybe we have to talk to them.

Anyway, we do a lot of minimalist Lego building in our bowl, but this Christof Neimann dude's got it done real good.  Check out the full site as there are at least ten more than what we have included here -- and many are more pure NYC than what we've posted here.  
Micro all the way!
Big thanks to Mr. SkipHop for this one!