Parties, Prizes and Indie Filmmaking at NYC INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL

Dennis Cieri NYC Indie Film FestIndie films have always craved exposure. And that’s what NYC Independent Film Festival offers, as a veritable showcase for independent filmmakers. We spoke to their Executive Director Dennis Cieri, about what you should know when submitting to the festival and we got some intriguing nuggets out of him. Read on to find out about the blockbuster parties, the original prizes on offer and why there is no city like the Big Apple to showcase your film in…


Deadline • 15 June 2014


Blockbuster prizes & parties on tap

One of the main changes this year is that we will be offering prizes! In previous years, we’d always given out trophies and certificates but this year, we’ll be offering out software and hardware that the independent filmmaker can actually use. The Sony Vega editing software for the Super Short Film Award. 2500 in cash prizes for the Short Film Category and more to be announced!

Also, we’re going to have bigger and better parties this year. One example is the ‘arts party’, where art films will be shown during the party which will be open to everyone.  There will be session of combat training at the festival, we will offer how to shoot a fight scene for directors and how to be in a fight scene to actors. There will be standup comedy shows, director panels, actor panels, producer panels and others.  Also acting classes, camera work class, directing classes and lot more!

And that’s not mentioning the opening party, the closing party and all the others in between, packed with live music and activities…

NYC Indie Film Fest a forum for your film

Our sessions usually incorporate a full-length feature and 1-3 shorts. So, say we have a 1hr and 45min screening, it then extends to around 2 and a half hours when we incorporate in the forum afterwards. You see, NYC Independent offer up a great chance for the filmmaker to discuss his film with the audience afterwards in an informal, comfortable setting. We have 5 theaters, a bar, and tons of panels – NYC Independent is both a showcase and a discussion point for indie films.

The most important thing is purpose

It’s quite simple. There is nothing more important than purpose. Clear storytelling. Good character development. You see so many beautiful films nowadays, but you ask yourself – why did you actually make this film? I can forgive a film if it cuts corners on scenery or the colour/sound isn’t perfect, but if the film doesn’t have a point – that’s unforgivable.

I guess, to some extent, the studios can get away with making frivolous movies with strong acting and scenery, but I’m not sure that’s the right direction for an indie. We hold this festival because of our love and passion for independent film, so show us your love and passion, and your intelligence and integrity.

There’s no better place than NYC

You don’t get more diverse than NYC, something akin to indie filmmaking to and we try to reflect that in our programming. 127 films of all types – whether it’s car movies, art movies or docs, we’re a well-rounded festival.

NYC has a well-established indie movement, both in film and music and an under-the radar scene where people look for the best undiscovered talents. As I said, if you’ve got a good story to tell – in NYC people will seek your film out.

…and why should filmmakers submit via FFL?

You guys are simply a great organisation! Filmmakers need to be comfortable with the tools they are using and the people they are dealing with, and that’s what FilmFestivalLife excels at. It really is a great site for filmmakers.


Dennis Cieri, NYC Independent Film Festival
Oct 15 – Oct 19, 2014
New York City, United States

Submit to NYC Independent Film Festival on FilmFestivalLife:

Submit to NYC Independent Film Festival
Late Deadline: 15 June 2014


Read more FOCUS features from FilmFestivalLife:
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:: FOCUS • 6 Tips for Filmmakers from Edmonton International Film Festival 


Andrew Wilkin

Andrew Wilkin is the Client and Community Support Coordinator at FFL. His editorial background has involved working at unlike. His film experience has included a position at moviepilot. Reach him at