The IFP Wars

by Anthony Kaufman
May 7, 2005 11:55 AM
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Remember the days that independent film wasn't a commodity fetish? When the Independent Feature Project was founded, for instance, in 1979. But, of course, 2005 is a very different time, when non-profit organizations seem like they're being run like corporate raiders. It is so "L.A." of IFP/Los Angeles to break away from the Independent Feature Project and establish a new brand-name, the wholly generic and lackluster "FIND" (for "Film Indepedent"). They took over the Los Angeles Film Festival, they turned the Spirits into a mini-Oscar popularity contest and now they're looking to monopolize national sponsorship dollars. Although FIND exec director Dawn Hudson denies this, why else could they possibly be breaking away? Last year, Hudson also denied any rift between IFP/NY when the East Coast organization moved the IFP Gotham Awards later in the year, which formed a potential conflict with the West Coast Spirits. Hmm, coincidence?

Now that FIND has been established, the other IFP chapters are also rushing to rebrand themselves. IFP/New York will go back appropriately enough to plain and simple IFP, meanwhile trying to secure dominance over the remaining IFP chapters. Though a wild and crazy IFP/Minneapolis-St. Paul went ahead and re-branded itself as IFP/Minnesota Center for Media Arts.

There are also rumors that IFP/Chicago is looking to find a more marketable name for themselves. Borrowing a move from Los Angeles, they might just go by the name "WIND" -- for "Windy-city Indies." But don't confuse that with FIND: they don't take themselves nearly as seriously.

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