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2014 New Media Project Grant Recipient Announced

Posted April 22, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

Documentary by Benjamin May Selected for $50,000 Award

St. Paul, MN, April 22, 2014-- Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota (IFP MN) announces that Minneapolis filmmaker Benjamin May's documentary The Legend of Swee' Pea is the recipient of this year's $50,000 New Media Project Grant. The documentary, which focuses on the life of basketball legend Lloyd Daniels, will be accompanied by an e-graphic novel illustrated by Minneapolis artist Kelsey Kuno. The New Media Project Grant is administered by Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota (IFP MN) with funds provided by The McKnight Foundation.

The Legend of Swee' Pea tells the quixotic tale of Daniels, a basketball prodigy who, felled by drugs and bullets, embarked on an improbable NBA comeback. The accompanying e-graphic novel covers the playground/hip­hop culture of Brooklyn in the 1980s, the mythic powers of young Swee' Pea, the crack scourge of inner city New York, and Swee' Pea's history-making NBA career.

Legend is May's directorial debut. He is working with director of photography Daniel B. Levin, producer Karl Hollandt, editor Giovanni Autran, and writer Annemarie Lawless. Kuno is providing original animations for the film as well as illustrating the e-graphic novel.

The range of projects in the 51 applications submitted for the 2014 New Media Project Grant speaks to the dynamic "new media" scene in Minnesota. May's project was chosen from six finalists, selected by jurors Elaine McMillion Sheldon, a documentary storyteller; Joseph Beyer, Director of Digital Initiatives for Sundance Institute; and Matthew Bolish, the programmer of Convergence, a sidebar of the New York Film Festival.

The New Media Project Grant, funded by the McKnight Foundation, was developed in collaboration with Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota in response to the growing body of work by artists working in cross-platform and interactive media.

2014 New Media Project Finalists

Posted April 22, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

Congratulations to the finalists in the 2014 round of the New Media Project Grant. Jurors Joseph Beyer, Matt Bolish and Elaine McMillion (see bios below) chose these 6 projects from a pool of 51 applications to advance to the final decision making round. 

Sunrise On: Geography from a Different View, Jeffrey Ruprecht
Sunrise On is an app-based interactive narrative designed to engage children’s minds on geography with the help of the vantage point of the sun. Featuring maps, sounds, and a compelling story of a brother and sister exploring the world, this project aims to increase kids’ understanding of the physical world.

Green Line Go, Nicholas Clausen
Green Line Go is an interactive walking tour of the eleven-mile Central Corridor in St. Paul. This tour includes video and audio narratives from some of the most diverse neighborhoods in St. Paul.  Viewers will be able to view historical photos, listen to audio, and view videos while following an interactive map along the Green Line and University Avenue.

The Choosatron: Interactive Fiction Arcade Machine, Jerry Belich
The Choosatron Deluxe Adventure Matrix is a Wi­Fi connected Choose Your Own Adventure®­ inspired story printer, blending digital and analogue storytelling. It is designed to be easily assembled by kids into a small interactive fiction game box, and encourages social reading, learning, and play.

The 5 Curries of Doom, Jason Ho and Saymoukda Vongsay
The 5 Curries of Doom project is a collaborative initiative between artists, local restaurants, and audiences to build community around the love for curry. It offers two primary curry experiences: an online experience through a participatory and interactive web platform and an in-real-life interaction with a mobile theater/food truck parked around the Twin Cities.

Moment, Ben Moren
MOMENT is an immersive, participatory mobile application that combines elements of film, theater, and sound into a Brechtian narrative through urban space by means of a mysterious and techno-futurist narrative. Participants are invited to use the MOMENT app to uncover a hidden “film” that follows a mysterious young woman in need of help.

The Legend of Swee’ Pea, Benjamin May
The Legend of Swee’ Pea documentary tells the quixotic tale of Lloyd Daniels, a basketball prodigy who, felled by drugs and bullets, embarks on an improbable NBA comeback that cements his reputation as a flawed hero and the greatest playground legend of all time. The documentary is accompanied by an e-graphic novel, covering playground/hip­hop culture of Brooklyn in the 1980s, the mythic powers of young Swee’ Pea, the crack scourge of inner city New York, the dark underworld of Las Vegas boosters, and the historic comeback to the NBA.

 Announcement of 2014 Media Arts Project Award to Legend of Swee' Pea by Benjamin May

2014 Jurors

Joseph Beyer currently works as Director of Digital Initiatives for Sundance Institute where he managed the development team and launch of the Sundance Institute #ArtistServices Initiative. Beyer also led the team that developed the first-ever collaboration with crowd funding leader Kickstarter.com to provide Institute alumni exclusive training and promotional support in creative funding. 200+ projects totaling over $7 million dollars have been successfully raised through the partnership since launching in January 2011. He has been with Sundance Institute for 11 years.

Matt Bolish is the programmer of Convergence, a sidebar of the New York Film Festival focused on immersive storytelling and the ways that technology is changing the relationship between audiences and creators.  Through speakers, panels, demos, and installations of exciting interactive content, Convergence is a forum for storytellers of all stripes to actively explore the shifting media landscape.

Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an award-winning documentary storyteller, visual journalist and one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Her most recent project, Hollow, communicates the issues of rural America through the eyes, voices and ideas of Southern West Virginians. Hollow is a recipient of a 2013 Peabody Award. She has produced two Op-Docs for the New York Times and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post, LA Times, The Atlantic, Filmmaker Magazine, POV blog, Matador Network and PBS MediaShift.

Master Class Series Begins April 24

Posted March 24, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

First in New Series of IFP Minnesota Master Classes to Feature Filmmaker Hannah Weyer and Actress Anna Simpson  

St. Paul, MN, March 24, 2014--Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota (IFP MN) is proud to announce the first in a six-part Master Class Series made possible by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Presented throughout 2014, IFP MN's Master Class Series offers the local arts community privileged access to an array of film and media innovators impacting the industry and culture.

IFP MN Plans to Relocate

Posted March 10, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org
St. Paul, MN, March 5, 2014--Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota will soon announce a new address. The case for vacating their current leased space at 2446 University Avenue West, St. Paul has been building for some time. "The film, media and non-profit worlds are constantly changing," remarks Executive Director Andrew Peterson. "A comprehensive stakeholder survey and internal analysis of our space and programs made it clear that our current site is no longer meeting our needs." Peterson adds, "While IFP MN is on strong financial footing, relocating to another site is crucial to future stability and success. All non-profits need to be responsible with their budgets and weight spending toward programming, rather than rent. There are a host of great spaces out there that are as good or better for much less --even 50-75% less." 
The board concurs, with President Chris Barry recognizing "This is a major step in writing the next chapter of IFP Minnesota. In taking this action we are not only economizing on rent, we're embarking on a stronger, more sustainable programmatic path." 
IFP Minnesota's current space, which opened in 2005 with the help of many community leaders and funders, showed a great uniting of the film and video community and served them well for many years. However, constituency needs have evolved. Peterson says, "A more flexible and less costly space will better accommodate our growing programs, many of which have been developed through new partnerships and collaboration with other organizations and institutions. We intend to keep up this high level of support for Minnesota's independent filmmakers." 
The new location will allow space and reallocated resources for expanded youth offerings, new film and video courses, additional professional development opportunities (such as a new Master Class series funded by the Knight Foundation), more media artist fellowship opportunities, and a number of other events and exhibitions. 
Stay tuned for an announcement of the new space. 

Relocation Plans

Posted March 9, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

Letter from the Executive Director

March 9, 2014

Hello Members, Funders, Supporters and Friends,

We’re excited to announce that IFP Minnesota will soon be on the move!  Far from belt tightening or downsizing, this move will allow us continue to grow and serve the community by directing our resources toward our rapidly growing programs.  Just this past year we’ve launched our Film Independent Spirit Awards screening series at the Walker Art Center (attended by over 1700 people!), and received our first ever Knight Foundation grant to launch a Master Class series, kicking off April 24th with award winning director, screenwriter and author Hannah Weyer.  We also received a Pohlad Family Foundation grant to upgrade our equipment, including new projection and sound systems. May 2-4 will bring our 15th annual Filmmaker Conference, which is expanding from 1 to 3 days and will include a screening series at the Walker Art Center featuring selections from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, introduced by Sundance Director John Cooper, who will be visiting Minnesota for the first time to participate in our Conference.  We've also expanded and enhanced our Youth Programs, launching exciting new partnerships with Forecast Public Art, the Minnesota Opera and the Girl Scouts of America, among others.  And we've taken the lead with presenting the .EDU Film Festival, the only statewide, curated showcase of student work, which will take place at the ICON Showplace Theaters May 16th.  And, finally, look for a new and improved website launching soon.  As you can see, we're not sitting still--we're on the move in more ways than one.

While we loved our space and the spirit in which is came together, the rent was fast becoming a financial albatross—sapping much needed resources from our programs.  In fact, nearly ¼ of our budget was being eaten up by rent!  This was an unsustainable situation and was holding us back from realizing our full potential.  A thoughtful and thorough evaluation of properties showed us that we could pay 50-75% less each year in another space—a space which would be as good or better than our current home. This represents a savings of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 5 years.  

So, far from being a step backwards, this move represents sound stewardship and a commitment to serve you to the very best of our abilities by freeing up funds to expand current programs and continue to create new ones. It’s an exciting time at IFP Minnesota—look for new programs, new partners, and new opportunities coming soon.  Stay tuned!

Andrew Peterson
Executive Director 

Link to News Release.

Register Now for Spring Classes

Posted March 7, 2014 by Anonymous

Classes & Workshops Starting Early April
The Spring 2014 class schedule is now online and registration is open. Whether you're a beginner, seasoned professional, active hobbyist or enthusiast, and/or have a job that requires specific technical film/video skills, IFP MN has something for you!

Spring 2014 Class Schedule

IFP MN Becomes Presenting Sponsor of .EDU Film Festival

Posted February 13, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

IFP Minnesota, in association with the Twin Cities Youth Media Network, is proud to be the presenting sponsor for for the 7th Annual .EDU Film Festival, taking place Friday May 16th, 2014.  

Knowing the importance of the .EDU Film Festival to youth media programs statewide, IFP Minnesota is working with festival founder Trey Wodele and TCYMN youth media organizations to see that the great tradition of .EDU continues.  Minnesota Transitions Charter School has presented the festival for the past six years and will continue its association as a supporting sponsor.    

As the only statewide, student film festival in Minnesota, the .EDU Film Festival serves an important role in the development of young filmmakers. The .EDU Film Festival provides young filmmakers with an authentic film festival experience by giving them the opportunity to screen their films on "the big screen" and gain a valuable understanding of the film industry.

For over 25 years, IFP Minnesota has supported independent film and photography in the state. IFP Minnesota's mission is to advance a vibrant and diverse community of independent film and media artists through networking, education, funding, and opportunities for showcasing their work. We are excited to support the next generation of Minnesota filmmakers through the .EDU Film Festival.

Look for a call for entries and more details on this year's festival soon! 

Exclusive! IFP MN Interview with Michael Starrbury

Posted February 5, 2014 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota’s Executive Director Andrew Peterson visited with Michael Starrbury at his Minnesota home base on December 7, 2013. To listen click the link below.

Michael, a three-time IFP MN/McKnight Screenwriting Fellow, was back in town to kick-off a limited engagement of The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete at AMC Southdale. Awards buzz was already in the air. Shortly thereafter it was announced that Michael is up for a Film Independent Spirit Award in the category of Best First Screenplay.  

For more news about Michael's film click here.  DVD or VOD available on Googleplay.


$175,000 Support To Minnesota Filmmakers Through Arts Legacy Program

Posted November 26, 2013 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org


Announcing $175,000 Support To Minnesota Filmmakers Through Arts Legacy Program 


William Eigen and Maya Washington Selected for Reimbursement Funds

Minnesota filmmakers William Eigen and Maya Washington have been selected to receive reimbursement from the film production reimbursement program funded with Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds from Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage (LACH) Production Reimbursement Program, established by Minnesota Film and TV and Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota, is designed to support professional, mid-career filmmakers' feature length narrative or long form documentary projects that align with Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage goals.


Reviewers represented film and television professionals, educators, and members of arts organizations from Minnesota. Program administrators focused on the applicants' alignment with Legacy principles to determine eligibility and the review panel focused on work samples, budget, feasibility and marketing/distribution plans. Panelists were Daniel Bergin, Julie Hartley and Mariko Yoshimura-Rank. 


William Eigen will be reimbursed up to $75,000 for his narrative feature project

The Jingle Dress:

John Red Elk hears from his relatives down in Minneapolis that his Uncle Norton is dead and vows to go to the big city to find out what really happened to him. At its heart, The Jingle Dress is an immigrant story of an Ojibwe family that moves from the rural White Earth Indian reservation in northern Minnesota, to the heart of urban Minneapolis' Phillips neighborhood. We follow the Red Elk family as they discover this new culture and through their experience and unvarnished perspective as we are able to view our own Minnesota culture with fresh eyes, as well as gain insight into their ancient, indigenous society.


Maya Washington will be reimbursed up to $100,000 for her documentary project

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar:

A scholarship to Michigan State University allowed filmmaker Maya Washington's father, wide-receiver Gene Washington, to leave his small segregated town of Laporte, TX and contribute greatly to college football and Minnesota Vikings history as one of the "50 Greatest Vikings of All Time." After retiring from the NFL, Gene Washington became a trailblazer in the Minnesota business community, creating partnerships between corporations, colleges, and universities throughout the country to connect students of color with employment opportunities in Minnesota. This film reveals the ways that scholarships impacted the lives of players of color, who were literally dropped into an integrated environment for the first time, and their white teammates at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in America and the impact on the present generation 50 years later.


More information on the program can be found at http://www.mnfilmtv.org/incentives/legacy-grants/ and www.ifpmn.org/LACH2012.

2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominees to be screened at Walker Art Center

Free and exclusive to IFP MN and Walker Film Society members
Posted November 20, 2013 by kmaloney@ifpmn.org

Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota and the Walker Art Center in coordination with Film Independent will present 20 free, members-only screenings of Film Independent Spirit Awards nominated films in January and February of 2014.

The Film Independent Spirit Awards celebrates artist-driven filmmaking and recognizes the year's finest achievements. In advance of the Spirit Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 1, Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota and Walker Art Center members have a chance to see all of the nominated films in four categories.

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