IndieWorks

IndieWorks - July Recap

Tuesday evening was our second screening in our 7th year of IndieWorks and, coming off the heels of a decision to test venues for the new annual season, it was our first time trying out Nuyorican Poets Cafe. The space is great with a beautiful screen and solid sound system. We had the whole venue to ourselves and it created a wonderfully immersive environment. The team and mission behind the space are also topnotch. The drawbacks, though, are that we had to enforce a stricter drink minimum than we typically like to and, more importantly, had a hard out of 9:30, which meant capping our lineup at 4 films again and really watching the clock during our usually casual & curious Q&A. But as a whole, the night was a real success. We had a solid 40 people in house for our fantastic films of the evening, and the Q&A was as thorough & thought-provoking as we love for it to be. The first half of the lineup featured complex & impactful pieces about moments & encounters that shape us, and the second half was weird, whimsical and equally wonderful! We'd like to say thank you to filmmakers and the audience for coming out to spend the evening with us. We hope all enjoyed the films, as well as the opportunity to network with other filmmakers and film enthusiasts. We know some connections were made!

We hope to see YOU at our August screening on the 20th, this time at Sanger Hall in Sunnyside, for a moving mix of narrative and documentary shorts about identity and overcoming loss.

See photos from the evening:

The Films of the night:

Chemistry (Directed by Cynthia Silver, Written by Charlotte Martin)
As the audition tape continues to roll, a casting director and producer are caught candidly discussing the repercussions of casting a mixed-race actress.

Eudaemonia (Written & Directed by Julia Ngeow)
A talkative Australian traveller and a reclusive artist form an unlikely bond after an accidental 'break and enter' in Brooklyn.

The Only Thing I Love More Than You Is Ranch Dressing (Written & Directed by Sydney Clara Brafman)
Ranch. Dipped. Chicken. Fingers. 

Loveseat (Written & Directed by Grace Kim)
A lonely, middle-aged man sets out in search of his soulmate after what he believes to be a fateful encounter with a banana. 

Watch our Q&A Recap. *Please know there are some film spoilers - feel free to look for an opportunity to catch the films at a festival or computer screen near you & then come back to watch!

The awards go to...

At the end of the evening, we announced our winning filmmakers for both Audience Choice Award & Silver Whiskers Award. The Audience Choice Award is voted upon by all those in attendance, and the Silver Whiskers Award is judged by the CongestedCat Team based on a rating system of 8 categories:   StoryDialogue/WritingDirectionActingCinematographySoundEditing, and Production Value, along with a nuanced discussion focused on inclusion and originality. The Silver Whiskers winner goes on to screen again at our end of year Best of Fest screening next April. 

The Silver Whiskers winner also receives $50 towards a crowdfunding campaign on SeedandSpark.com should they use the platform and 50% off 4MileCircus' post-production audio cleaning service for a future project. 

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For the July 2019 lineup, our winning films were:
    Audience Choice Award:  "Loveseat"
    Silver Whiskers Award:  "Eudeamonia" 

Join us for our August edition on the 20th!

IndieWorks - Kicking off June with Pride Recap

Last Tuesday was the start of our 7th season at IndieWorks, as well as our annual Pride celebration featuring shorts across different styles & genres all with LGBTQ+ representation both on & off screen! Coming off the heels of a decision to test venues for the new annual season, we decided to cap our program at 4 shorts. Our trial venue for this month, though an improvement in terms of the immersive quality we’re aiming for this year, is smaller than we’d like for our permanent new home. So we kept the program short and our external promotion minimal in order to keep the room from overflowing. Because of this, we had our smallest turnout yet of only 25 people. But it actually ended up being the perfect size for the space, and resulted in one of our loveliest Q&A’s with a real intimacy to the discussion. We hope the filmmakers and audience felt the same. And we'd like to say thank you to them for coming out to spend the evening with us. We hope all enjoyed the films, as well as the opportunity to network with other filmmakers and film enthusiasts. We know some connections were made!

We hope to see them and more of an audience at our July screening on the 30th, this time at Nuyorican Poets Cafe, for an eclectic mix of shorts about the hurdles and humor of being seen and making a connection.

See photos from the evening:

The Films of the night:

The Flickering Forest (Written & Directed Rebecca Shoptaw)
A queer fairy tale in which an eerie yet charming forest spirit leads a girl into the woods.

Like Glass (Directed by Andrew K. Meyer, Written by David Elijah)
Zion, a club kid grappling with their gender-fluid identity, finds liberation in New York City’s avant-garde nightlife scene while facing backlash from their boyfriend who struggles to understand.

Seeing Glory (Written & Directed by Rick Hamilton)
Gloria prepares a feast of the senses for the rapidly ailing Eva in an attempt to share a perfect evening and be seen for the woman she truly is. 

Will I Say So (Written & Directed by Jamie DiNicola)
Simply, a story of vulnerability. 

Watch our Q&A Recap. *Please know there are some film spoilers - feel free to look for an opportunity to catch the films at a festival or computer screen near you & then come back to watch!

The awards go to...

At the end of the evening, we announced our winning filmmakers for both Audience Choice Award & Silver Whiskers Award. The Audience Choice Award is voted upon by all those in attendance, and the Silver Whiskers Award is judged by the CongestedCat Team based on a rating system of 8 categories:   StoryDialogue/WritingDirectionActingCinematographySoundEditing, and Production Value, along with a nuanced discussion focused on inclusion and originality. The Silver Whiskers winner goes on to screen again at our end of year Best of Fest screening next April. 

The Silver Whiskers winner also receives $50 towards a crowdfunding campaign on SeedandSpark.com should they use the platform and 50% off 4MileCircus' post-production audio cleaning service for a future project. 

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For the June 2019 lineup, our winning films were:
    Audience Choice Award:  "Like Glass"
    Silver Whiskers Award:  "Will I Say So" 

Join us for our July edition on the 30th!

IndieWorks - a new year, a new home!

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Happy New Year! It may be long past acceptable to say that for 2019, but we’re starting our 7th Year at IndieWorks next month, so … Happy New Year! And with a new year starting, it feels like the right time to hit refresh on our screening series. So here we are with an announcement; starting with our next lineup on Tuesday, June 25th, we'll be moving to a new venue! We haven’t committed to a permanent new home just yet, but we will be spending the first few months of our new year testing out options and eventually decide on the best fit for our series.

As much as we appreciate The Local & their staff for allowing us to call the space home for the last 3 years, we've decided it's time to part ways with the venue. After a problematic incident at our November screening, where a rowdy bar patron screamed misogynistic expletives throughout the night, we found ourselves heavily weighing the pros & cons of the venue and seriously longing for our original home at the People Lounge where the owner allowed us to use the entire space for our screenings and was very hands on in maintaining a safe space for everyone. After some careful thought & discussion as a team about changing venues, we decided to express our concerns to the venue and stick it out through the rest of our 6th year before making a decision. But after another rowdy night at our Best of Fest last month, we came to the conclusion that, despite the venue checking off a lot of our necessary boxes (being warm & comfortable, offering an open space that can accommodate our generally large crowds with projection of the films on a huge screen), we’ve found ourselves making sacrifices each month that were starting to take a toll on our sense of responsibility to the creators we showcase. Keeping the series free & open to the public is important to us, so we loved that The Local offered us a deal that allowed their guests to come over and discover local films & filmmakers, while our guests could give the venue bar business and brand awareness. However, more and more over the last year, there would be bar patrons that’d nearly ruin the night by being loud & disrespectful towards our event and guests. We understand why The Local has the restrictions it has in terms of requiring the space remain open and multi-purpose at all times; but as filmmakers ourselves, it pained us not having any control over the environment surrounding the screening area (not even being allowed to put up dividers or sound blankets to create some noise barriers). Over the last few months, we’ve found ourselves repeatedly apologizing for behaviors beyond our control while having no agency within the venue to course correct for future screenings. We don’t mean to disrespect the people who run The Local. We are so grateful to them and we love their space for so many reasons. (And we loved the bartenders & being able to bring them business on slow evenings.) It’s truly excellent for networking & mingling, events where noise isn’t a factor. But despite our best efforts, it’s just not really a screening space. As their business continued to grow and their bar became more busy on weeknights over the last year, we’ve been happy for them & their success but frustrated with feeling like we’re not honoring the fully inviting, respectful, and immersive experience we'd come to be known for in our first few years. The inability to create a consistent (positive) experience for our attendees every month was making us feel like failures. As a filmmaker, I (Christina) try to be super transparent about my poor experiences at festivals on this blog; and I recently started feeling like I’d write negatively about our series on the filmmaker side if my only experience with it was during one of our noisier nights. IndieWorks was originally created as a filmmaker focused & friendly alternative to a lot of the bad business I’d seen in the festival world. So, it’s extremely important to me and to us as a team that we deliver on our ideals and what we set out to do each month.

So we’ve decided to spend the first few months of our new season testing out different venues. We did this once before back in 2016, after the People Lounge shut down; we scouted & tested multiple bars & back rooms, and found that most venues (and screens) were too small to fit our audience size and/or had way too much bar noise to fit our vibe. And because we're committed to keeping screenings accessible for all, being able to rent a private space has always been a struggle (not to mention that most rentable screening spaces in the city are cold & impersonal theaters with rules against food & drinks, so wouldn’t fit our vibe anyway). Discovering The Local was a great find at the time, so part of me is sad to say goodbye. But it’s the right move to ensure the atmosphere we aspire to create every single month. Last time around, before settling on The Local, we tested Stone Creek Lounge (which is a solid space and our go-to backup, just a bit too small for our needs most months), Subject NYC (not bad but too loud), and Arlene’s Grocery (too small but a great venue for music). This time around, we’re going to start June out at Stone Creek Lounge as a buffer to explore other venues for future months. We’re really excited to test out Nuyorican Poets Cafe in July, with potential later opportunities in the works at The Creek & the Cave and Artefix NYC. We’ve reached out to others and we’ll see what comes along. If you have suggestions, please send them our way and we’ll reach out. (For criteria, here’s our blog post from our 2016 search).

Thanks for being part of our film family through the run of IndieWorks. We’re excited for this new chapter of working to make it better than ever!

And please join us to kick off our new year and celebrate Pride on June 25th!

IndieWorks: Best of Fest Year 6 Recap

INDIEWORKS: BEST OF FEST

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Last Tuesday was a special night at IndieWorks! We celebrated the conclusion of our 6th year! Between watching the 9 fantastic films, mingling with the talented filmmakers, and engaging with the wonderful audience, we had a ton of fun! In total, we had over 70 people in attendance and it was clear the crowd enjoyed the lineup. We hope new connections were made! There was, unfortunately, some bar noise towards the end of the night, but thankfully it didn’t disrupt the films as a whole. Please know that we’re addressing this behind the scenes and will be making an announcement regarding our venue very soon!

THANK YOU. 

To all of the incredible people involved in this community who submit their work, attend our monthly series, follow our content, and spread the word of anything IndieWorks... we truly thank you. It's been another great year of innovative, local films and filmmakers.

Six years ago, Christina decided she wanted to create a monthly film series for local independent filmmakers to showcase and discuss their work with an audience and connect with their (our) peers in a friendly, supportive, engaging and still encouragingly competitive environment. Sure enough, we made it happen and it has grown into something so wonderful, more so than we could have imagined over the past six years. It's been a real passion project from our team, and we hope it has stayed true to the ideals of helping independent filmmakers find an audience and build a network & community of likeminded, productive & talented individuals. Thank you all for being part of it! We're honored to screen & support your work! 

The full lineup & nominations can be found in our previous post.  

THE AWARDS GO TO...

AUDIENCE CHOICE: "Adult" (Tatienne Hendricks-Tellefsen & Cynthia Silver) - Wins $50 towards a Seed&Spark campaign, a free one-year subscription to Seed&Spark’s streaming platform, and script coverage from the CongestedCat team of one future short screenplay.

BEST EDITING: "Goodbye Old Friend" (Rafael De Leon Jr) - Wins $50 towards a Seed&Spark campaign, a free one-year subscription to Seed&Spark’s streaming platform, and script coverage from the CongestedCat team of one future short screenplay.

BEST ENSEMBLE: "Her Being Home" (Ellie Gravitte) - Wins $50 towards a Seed&Spark campaign, a free one-year subscription to Seed&Spark’s streaming platform, and script coverage from the CongestedCat team of one future short screenplay.

BEST WRITER/DIRECTOR: "AMYDEE" (Amy DePaola - Wins $50 towards a Seed&Spark campaign, a free one-year subscription to Seed&Spark’s streaming platform, and script coverage from the CongestedCat team of one future short screenplay.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (Adam Volerich) & GOLDEN WHISKERS (BEST OF FEST): "We Were Kids" (Adam Taylor (Pictured: Marquis Wood)) - Wins (collectively) $250 towards a Seed&Spark campaign, a free one-year subscription to Seed&Spark’s streaming platform, a 1TB G-drive, an hour production, post-production, or marketing phone consultation from 4milecircus., script coverage from the CongestedCat team of two future short screenplays, and a day of social media promotion from the CongestedCat team.

See all the fun we had and testimonials from the filmmakers below! 

THAT'S A WRAP!

Check out the recaps from ALL 10 SCREENINGS of Year 6 of IndieWorks. 

As we take next month as an opportunity to go out and make things, we hope you will too. Our 7th Year of IndieWorks kicks off in June on the 11th, with our Pride-themed screening -- so keep in touch & stay up to date through our social media accounts. We want to see YOU at the next screening!

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Be sure to submit your films on our IndieWork page, and watch episodes of our Insider Series with the monthly Winners from all 6 years to get more insight into their screened films & upcoming work. Also, films that are available for free online from ALL 6 years are watchable on our Past Films page.