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May the Best Filmmaker Win: IndieWIRE and Sundance Partner on Project of the Month

by Anne Thompson
August 30, 2011 1:51 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

IndieWIRE's popular Project of the Day column is adding a weekly and monthly contest, and joining up with the Sundance Institute. Best project of the month winners will now get a consultation session from the Sundance Institute. Each week, indieWIRE readers vote for their favorite in-the-works film project.

Now they will also vote for the best project of the month; the winner with the most votes will score an in-depth consultation with a senior member of Sundance Institute’s program staff. Depending on the nature of the winning project, indieWIRE will match up the winner with a consultation from the Institute’s Feature Film, Documentary, Film Festival, Native American & Indigenous Program or Artist Services program.

Thompson on Hollywood

The projects are selected by indieWIRE editors from filmmaker-submitted applications. Many submissions seek crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, but no site affiliation is required, and all formats qualify, whether features, shorts, documentaries or online video. Films may also be in any production phase. Submit your projects at Project of the Day.

Dana Harris, editor in chief of indieWIRE, said:

"IndieWIRE has always reported on independent films in production, but when we launched Project of the Day the response was immediate. And one of the first fans to reach out was Sundance Institute’s Executive Director Keri Putnam. I'm thrilled that Sundance Institute wants to support this feature and I'm looking forward to bringing exciting new voices to both indieWIRE readers and to the program staff at Sundance Institute.”

Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, said:

“Sundance Institute and indieWIRE are natural partners, as we both share a commitment to serving as a resource for independent filmmakers. This partnership holds enormous potential to energize and mobilize emerging filmmakers, while also raising awareness and building support for creative projects in development.”

This is how it works:


  •    indieWIRE publishes a Project of the Day Monday through Thursday. On Friday, starting at 10am ET, those four projects will be put to a vote using a Facebook-based polling system that ties a vote to the user's Facebook profile. Voting closes Sunday at 6pm ET.  The voting will determine a weekly winner, which will be announced on indieWIRE.
  •    When all weekly winners have been determined for the month, they will be put to another vote the following Monday, starting at 10am ET. Voting will run throughout the week, closing Friday at 6pm ET.
  •    The Project of the Month will be announced in indieWIRE the following Monday and will receive an in-depth phone consultation with one of Sundance Institute’s senior program staff.
For the full contest rules, click here.

Project of the Week winners will receive a consultation from SnagFilms. Here's How It Works.


Understanding digital distribution is now as much a part of independent filmmaking as ramen noodles. Unlike ramen, which is easily understood, digital distribution is not. 
It's a rapidly changing industry. Digital distribution can be a distribution strategy unto itself or only one piece of a more complex approach. There are multiple platforms and distributors. 
One of those digital distributors is SnagFilms (full disclosure: parent company of indieWIRE). And as part of our Project of the Day, Snag will offer a phone consultation to discuss digital distribution with any filmmaker who's voted as Project of the Week. 

To be clear: This isn't meant to suggest a distribution deal. A project of the week is just that: A project. No one's sure if and when the film will be completed or what will happen when it is. However, like the Sundance consultation, it's designed to give filmmakers more information to work with and a better idea of what they can expect from the marketplace.

This is what filmmakers can expect to get out of it: 
- Discussion of new platforms and devices, including iPad and other tablets, smart phones, and connected TV platforms -- and how they can become part of your distribution strategy
- How theatrical and digital releases can work together
- The promotional and financial value of theatrical distribution vs. digital distribution 
- How to get the most out of digital-distribution platforms.
These are the most obvious elements for discussion, but there's probably many other questions (and answers) that will arise. We plan to keep tabs on both sides to see what issues are the most popular and relevant; odds are, they'll provide us with insights that we can turn into future articles. 
If you want to submit your film for consideration as project of the day, click here. As always, all projects (feature, doc, short) qualify, in any stage of production from fundraising to post.


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