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New York International Independent Film and Video Festival


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The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993 by entertainment impresario Stuart Alson and showcases independent films in real theatres in New York City and LA.
Passionate about exposing the films and documentaries of emerging filmmakers from all over the globe, NYIIFVF is a unique platform for emerging and established filmmakers to network and screen their work in the hope of getting exposure and a distribution deal.
Past festivals have included the work of Calista Flockhart, Cameron Diaz, Eva Herzigova, Guy Pearce, George Clooney, Jennifer Aniston, Rod Steiger, Sean Lennon, Tippi Hedren, Willem Dafoe and Vin Diesel. Indie guru Abel Ferrara famously quoted in MovieMaker, "This festival is the real deal: Everybody else just talks about doing it, these guys just do it!”

 


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August, 2008 NYIIFVF Festival Juice from LA!

Filmmakers, artists and festival goers had a blast at the west coast edition of The New Yo rk International Independent Film and Video Festival (NYIIFVF). The 8-day indie film extravaganza opened at the Cabana Club with a packed networking party and film/art market planned by Annalisa San Juan. An interesting fusion of filmmakers, artists, actors, screenwriters from all over the globe mingled, celebrated and pitched their projects with some managing to intrigue press and eagle-eyed distributors searching for the next lucrative television deal.

Actors featuring in the films or showing their support for the indies included, Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3, The L Word), who was busy signing autographs and promoting the well-received arthouse flick “Lime Salted Love,” Justin Whalin (Lois and Clark, Dungeons and Dragons) - no tension noted between the aforementioned actors who were once a red-hot Hollywood couple! Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes), stunning Russian actresses Natasha Alam (Entourage, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Women) and Inna Korobkina (Dawn of the Dead), Riley Weston (Sister Act 2, Felicity), Olja Hrustic (Spiderman 3, The Grindhouse), Thaddeus Schneider (Law and Order, Rescue Me, Skels) and award-winning singer/songwriters Walker Hornung and April Devereaux were also snapped on the red carpet.

Impressive booth displays included, "Death, Taxes…Chocolate!" designed by Dr. Andrea Levinson and her team of chocolaty body painters and sci-f i helmer Thomas Randall Dickens from the acclaimed indie film "Alien Grey- Zone X" who showed off the latest special effects in his techie demonstrati on.

Over the first weekend, films and videos from the around the world were exhibited on every topic and genre imaginable with several screenings sold out or oversold at Sunset Lae mmle 5! "Lime Salted Love" directed by Danielle Agnello and Joe Hall attracted a slew of press and a hectic crowd of indie film lovers. The packed after-party at Beso, the restaurant opened by Eva Longoria also attracted a wide range of attendees including Michael Goi (Vice President of the American Society of Cinematographer (ASC), veteran TV star Kathleen Kinmont, Lorielle New (Grindhouse), model/spokesperson Donna Spangler (Luxury Ladies TV Show), playmate/DJ Colleen Shannon and some Entertainment Tonight staffers.

*L-R Director Danielle Agnello, newcomer Saige Rya n Campbell and Kristanna Loken at the Sunset Laemmle 5=2 0for the premiere of "Lime Salted Love"
On Saturday evening, the dark comedy feature film “Death, Taxes... Chocolate!" entertained audiences because of its riveting script involving six witty friends who are empowered to shape their own destiny in planning their final days. The underlying message about the bias within the US health industry caught the attention of several distributors, including Lionsgate. The film was co-written by former geologist turned holistic practitioner Dr. Andrea Levinson and “Bud” Dowdey. Levinson tastefully enhanced the cinematic experience by providing viewers with delicious sugar free ch ocolate that has proven health benefits and even comes highly recommended by Oprah’s chiropractor!

Later that evening industry stuck around for the compelling social doc "Nina" about creative, accomplished women; feminism; free expression; sex; pornography and featuring engaging adult actress Nina Hartley (Boogie Nights).

Insightful PR, Marketing and Distribution seminars left filmmakers much better versed in the business of film and all the thorny complexities involved in the distribution process - especially having the right deliverables for the film markets, lini ng up the proper publicity ducks and making back that much-needed money so you can finally pay the cast and crew! Film distribution honcho and panelist Stuart Alson even managed to crack a few jokes about the vicissitudes of the entertainment busines s and explained that the catalyst behind starting the NYIIFVF was because of all the frustrating red tape hoopla and rejection common in most film festivals. Alson believes that indie filmmakers should get a fair chance to screen their finished projects, possibly win awards, attract distributors and get guests into the afterparty celebration without having to deal with clipboard wielding scary publicists!

Sunday July 21st was an exciting and memorable day at the NYIIFVF. Fictional drama "Chekhov & Maria," directed by award-winning Canadian Eric Till, and recently lauded by the New York Times kicked off the afternoon screenings in style.

Later actor Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes, Everybody Hates Chris) arrived in great form for the sold out premiere of "Frankie D," an urban family drama in which Bridges plays an upscale carpenter who adopts two young street kids who robbed him. Other guests in attendance included the film’s director Rosemary Edelson, daughter of famous Hollywood producer Lou Edelson (White Heat, Yankee Doodle Dandy) and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Welcome Back, Kotter, Alien Nation).

Attendees were excited to see a very low-key Quentin Tarantino (who attended NYIIFVF in the past) strolling into the Sunset Laemmle 5. NYIIFVF staffers were poised to answer questions about the fest’s evening lineup but alas he was there to watch something else!

The real highlight of the opening weekend was the special appearance made by legendary actor/ente rtainer Dick Van Dyke who arrived at the cinema among a throng of photographers and fans. Mr. Van Dyke narrated "The Wonder Kids," a documentary that famed Variety gossip columnist and the “original blogger,” Army Archerd called “remarkable.” The documentary which was written, produced and directed by Jim Petersen and Pamela J. Richardson sets out to save the art form of tap dancing and saves the lives of many inner city kids in the process and features interviews with Savion Glover, choreographer Debbie Allen (Fame), Victoria Rowell and very precious commentary from beloved tap dancing legend Fayard Nicholas who died shortly after filming at the age of 91. Other guests at the NYIIFVF oversold premiere included, Emmy-award-winning director James Hanlon (9/11), Donna Spangler and Lorielle New.

Mr. Van Dyke delighted everybody with his effortless charm and enthusiasm and had audiences loudly cheering when he introduced the screening and complimented The Wonder Kids and the filmmakers.

Charismatic New York actor Thaddeus Schneider and musician Walker Hornung kept the bulbs flashing at the NYIIFVF’s closing weekend feature presentation, "Love Like Blood." Guests on the red carpet included hot actress Cheryl Cosenza (What Happens in Vegas, You Don8 0t Mess With the Zohan), casting director Lauren Nadler (Restaurant, Ten Benny - both featuring Oscar winner Adrien Brody), Caroline Whitney Smith, singer/songwriter/actress April Devereaux, who has opened for Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Dowd (CEO of St. James Clothing) and Into the Whip record executive, Jim Maguire.

During the week, audiences and VIP guests continued to attend the afterparties expertly planned by Annalisa San Juan and check out the diverse films unspooling at the Sunset Laemmle 5. The internationalization of the festival is something that NYIIFVF founder/exec producer Stuart Alson has always been proud of and there was no shortage of quality international fare. A stand-out entry was the groundbreaking Japanese animation “Eagle Talon The Movie: The Chancellor Only Lives Twice,” directed by FROGMAN. This brilliant animation was recreated from Frogman's humorous late night Japanese TV series that satirically attacks the entertainment world.

Notable U.S. feature films and docs included "Racing Daylight" starring the Melissa Leo (21 grams) and David Strathairn. Cast member Giancarlo Esposito (Ali, Law and Order, King of New York) stopped by for a red carpet interview with IFQ-TV's Shorty Brown. Special effects expert David Roddham (The Tudors and Ridley Scott’s Nottingham) showed up for "Alien Grey- Zone X," a sci-fi film with a special effects showdown featuring hundreds of high-end CGI effects shots. Roddham also stopped by the trendy afterparty at the Green Room planned by Annalisa San Juan. "Chasin' Gus' Ghost," a superb documentary on the history of jug band music was also well attended later in the evening.

The NYIIFVF closed with a bang with the world premiere of "Svetlana About Svetlana," a documentary interview with Joseph Stalin’s reclusive daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva's, who broke her silence for Lana Parshina’s directorial debut. The screening and afterparty attracted a range of Hollywood talent and gorgeous women. Paul Sorvino enjoyed a stylish ride from the cinema to the afterparty at Vodaspa in a soviet antique car Volga 24, his daughter and=2 0Oscar winner Mira Sorvino came with her husband Christopher Backus, Natasha Alam, Anya Monzikova (Tropic Thunder), Inna Korobkina and Steve Valentine, Oleg Taktarov, Phoebe Price and April Drew were also among th e special guests.

The afterparty was held at Vodaspa in Santa Monica and was a definite festival highlight. Staff wearing national Russian costumes served caviar and IMPERIA vodka with special food catering from “Crystal,” a Russian restaurant in West Hollywood. The red carpet party was sponsored by Vodaspa, Imperia Vodka, Crystal Restaurant and Cinderella Travel and attracted the Mayor of West Hollywood Jeffrey Prang. The l avish party had a distinct Russian flavor and reminded guests of an old Hollywood studio party.

Sponsors for the LA edition of the NYIIFVF included, Filmon.com, a dynamic film download and streaming site owned by Alki David, electronics giant Samsung and ITN Distribution, Inc.

Next month NYIIFVF returns to its hometown of New York City for more of the latest films, premieres, parties, panels and the discovering of real-deal indie gems and emerging film talent from around the world. The NYIIFVF mission remains intact - Stay tuned!

Commentary by Briege McGarrity

 

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About New York International Independent Film and Video Festival


(The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival )

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The New York International Independent Film and Video Festival was founded in 1993. NYIIFVF has been recognized by the film and entertainment industry as one of the leading film events on the independent festival circuit. The festival hosts film, music and art events in the two entertainment capitals of the United States: New York and Los Angeles.


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