20 September, 2008
by Sandy Mandelberger, North American Editor
One of the key events of the Independent Film Week in New York, organized by the IFP/Independent Feature Project this past week, is the No Borders International Co-Production Market. Now in its 14th year, No Borders is the only international co-production market in the U.S., connecting U.S. and international narrative projects at the script stage with financiers and buyers.
"No Borders has become one of the great success stories of IFP's first 30 years," said Michelle Byrd, executive director of IFP. "Since 2004, we've had 151 projects take part in 1,688 financing meetings. The impact of the program has grown dramatically since inception."
The Market is set up as a series of one-on-one pitches. Filmmakers with some track record and some cash already raised, attempt to set up meetings with local and visiting distributors, financiers, television companies, to flag their projects. Although most meetings are rather short, an aggressive producer can come away with some significant leads towards further financing in the weeks and months ahead.
No Borders' alumni include some of the most acclaimed independent films of the past decade including Courtney Hunt's Frozen River, Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden's Half Nelson, Joshua Marston's Maria Full of Grace, Miranda July's Me And You and Everyone We Know, Eran Riklis' Lemon Tree, Sam Garbarski's Irina Palm and Stephen Frears' Cheri.
Half of No Borders' participants are from the U.S. and the other half comes from the IFP's eight international partners including established funding bodies (Telefilm Canada, UK Film Council, Germany's Filmstiftung NRW, Australia's Film Victoria and NSWFilm and Television Office, the New Zealand Film Commission, and the National Film and Video Foundation in South Africa) and support organizations (Ateliers du Cinéma Européen/ACE, CineMart, Pusan Promotion Plan/PPP, and the Sundance Institute).
For the second year, the UK Film Council is sending established independent producers Mia Bays (2006 Academy Award® winner for Six Shooter - live action short), Mark Herbert (2008 BAFTA winner for This Is England) and Gabriel Range to take No Borders meetings for a number of projects on their slates.
Other European producers doing their pitches in New York this past week:
--Field of Blackbirds (Germany, Dennis Todorovic), a story of love, war and tragedy among a disparate group of men and women during the Serbian war. Website: www.eastart.de
--The Flowers Of Kirkuk (Italy, Fariborz Kamkari), a political drama set in the late 1980s, amidst the ethnic cleansing by Saddam Hussein in Iraqi Kurdistan. Website: www.faroutfilms.it
--Heaven On Earth (Germany, Ongjen Svillicic), a drama about a couple who go threw a domestic crisis, set at a summer resort on the Croation Riviera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
--The Human Race (The Netherlands, Jorien van Nes), a dark comedy about a middle aged television executive who tries to stay afloat in his cut-throat world by exploiting television audiences in Africa. Website: www.humanrace.tv
--Whirrr (Germany, Sven Dagones, Phedon Papamichael), a comedy about a pair of married couples who have a number of eye-opening misadventures in the Balkans. Contact: email@example.com
No matter what happens as a results of these networking encounters, both the producer and the industry professional come away with a number of contacts that merit follow up and, possibly, hopefully, economic support.