Mission: To champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision.
About the Organization: Launched, in 1984, as Independent Feature Project (IFP)/West with a mission to cultivate the careers of independent filmmakers, build audiences for independent film, and champion diversity in the entertainment industry, Film Independent sponsors more than two hundred and fifty screenings and events annually and provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. The membership organization took on production of the Spirit Awards in the late 1980s and the LA Film Festival in 2000.
Current Programs: Film Independent's Artist Development programs include five- to eight-week labs for directors, screenwriters, producers, documentary filmmakers, and writers with original long-form episodic projects. The organization's signature diversity initiative, Project Involve, supports filmmakers from communities typically underrepresented in film and entertainment, pairs them with mentors at the top of their respective field, and provides them with hands-on filmmaking experience, from pre-production through premiere. Other FI initiatives include the Fast Track film financing market, which is held annually during the LA Film Festival and helps producer-director teams advance their projects through meetings with top industry executives — financiers, agents, managers, distributors, production companies, and granting organizations; Global Media Makers, a mentoring initiative that connects visual storytellers with entertainment professionals in the U.S.; fiscal sponsorship; and a grants and awards program that provides cash grants to filmmakers in support of current projects and recognizes professional accomplishments in independent film.
The organization's Artist Development programs are offered at no cost to participants (beyond an application fee and Film Independent membership) and are open to all filmmakers, regardless of educational background or previous accomplishment.
In addition, the organization produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which recognize the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers, and Film Independent Presents, a year-round program offering screenings, conversations, and other unique cinematic experiences.
Website: Visitors to the Film Independent site can learn more about the organization's artist development, educational, and international programs, the Film Independent Forum, or Directors Close-Up events; keep abreast of developments in independent film through the FI blog; and/or check out the events calendar. Visitors also can learn how to become a Film Independent member or support the organization through advertising, a donation, annual giving, or sponsorship.
Funding: Film Independent is funded by foundation and government grants, membership dues, and program fees.