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IFP Announces New Lab for Serialized Web Projects & Theatrical Launches for Web Series at Made in NY Media Center by IFP

by Erik Luers on March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015 (New York, NY) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today the launch of its innovative Screen Forward Labs, a year-long program and incubator for the creators of serialized projects that push storytelling forward. Eight innovative media creators will be selected each year and provided mentorship, six months free residency at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP and $10,000 of services aimed at helping them to develop cutting-edge work.

“Our focus is to support all forms of storytelling regardless of platform. We aim to break down such barriers and create an even more vibrant, inclusive community,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director. “IFP has always strived to offer a unique, immersive experience to our artists. We are there every step of the way incubating, developing, marketing and helping to build audiences and exhibiting new work.”

IFP’s previously-announced Screen Forward Series – dedicated to exhibiting and supporting week-long theatrical runs for innovative self micro-distributed features – will expand, becoming the first theatre in NYC to World Premiere serialized content beginning March 2015. Middle Americans and Understudies, both developed in IFP’s Web Storytellers program, will begin their runs in March and April 2015.

“We believe that the future of storytelling is intractably linked to those artists who push the boundaries of form and format with their work,” said Amy Dotson, Head of Programming. “With the expansion of the Labs, public programs and creative community to include supporting those working outside of independent cinema, the possibilities for artists are truly unlimited.“



Inspired by the successful IFP Filmmaker Lab that focuses on helping directors complete, market and introduce audiences to cutting edge first-features, the Screen Forward Labs will support innovative media creators with $10,000 worth of services and support over the course of a year. An intensive, week-long Lab in November 2015 will provide participants with the knowledge, resources and mentor support necessary for developing strong pitches, securing financing, creating marketing strategies and finding unique avenues for the distribution of their work. Individualized attention for each project will also be paid to building sustainable audiences, as well as long-term strategy to sustain their ongoing careers.

Advisors and program mentors include web series creators Desiree Akhavan (The Slope), Adam Goldman (The Outs), Issa Rae (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl), as well as industry leaders Saschka Unseld (Oculus Story Studio), Marc Lieberman (Above Average), and Sarah Lash (Conde Nast Entertainment).

A free, six-month residency at the Made in NY Media Center (December 2015 – May 2016), as well as ongoing individualized access to classes, workshops and support from industry and creative mentors will follow. The Lab will culminate with an industry showcase and presentation in May 2016.

The Lab is open to innovative media creators with story-driven, serialized projects created on all platforms and formats including web series, VR, or app based work (Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc.). All projects must have at minimum representative sample visual content (a completed episode, demo, excerpt) already in place, and cannot have already launched their project publicly. Projects in early development (script/pitch stage only) are not eligible for the Labs.

Applications to go live March 17 at

Deadline: May 1, 2015



Screen Forward gives filmmakers and content creators in the process of self-distribution the unique opportunity to gain a much-coveted NYC theatrical week-run and build audience for film and online work. Screen Forward web screenings will include one-night “sneak previews,” screenings to coincide with the projects’ day-and-date online release, or week-long runs.

The goal will be to build core audiences for online work, with IFP staff working with each team on comprehensive audience engagement and grassroots outreach strategies, publicity support, coverage in Filmmaker Magazine, and providing a revenue split to all participating filmmakers and content creators.


Inaugural web series premieres will be:


  • Middle Americans directed, produced, and edited by Rachel Morgan, written by Rachel Morgan and Sarah Tyler. Aslaug Slaug, determined to find her missing father, travels to North Dakota with her temperamental friend who’s obsessed with becoming an exotic dance superstar.


  • Understudies directed by Daniel Zimbler, written by Elisabeth Gray and Daniel Zimbler, produced by Rob Cristiano. It’s showtime for failing actress Astoria Bagg when she lands a life-changing role on Broadway. But as Astoria soon discovers, big breaks aren’t always what they seem.

Screen Forward is open to all artists and filmmakers who have feature length films, web series or serialized content to showcase publicly. Alumni of IFP’s core programs are strongly encouraged to apply, as are films, web series and projects that have been covered by Filmmaker Magazine.

To apply for the program or purchase tickets to upcoming screenings:




The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. IFP represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35-year history, IFP has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at or

Press Contacts:


RJ Millard

Obscured Pictures


[email protected]


Kory Mello

Obscured Pictures


[email protected]