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IFP Announces Screen Forward Line-Up; Four Films by Female Filmmakers to Receive Theatrical Run

by Erik Luers on January 15, 2015

Brooklyn, New York (January 15th, 2015) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier advocacy organization for independent filmmakers, announced today the upcoming films selected for exhibition in its year-round “Screen Forward” series.  “Screen Forward” is a monthly program, curated by IFP, which provides a one-week theatrical run at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP Theater in DUMBO, Brooklyn for selected self-distributed and micro-distributed features.  “Screen Forward” is a new initiative created by IFP to utilize resources available in its facility, the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, to support the independent filmmaking community by providing unique cinematic experiences to content creators and the public.  Each “Screen Forward” release is accompanied by a post-screening Q&A with the creator(s) and many films are programmed with concurrent special events.

The upcoming slate of features highlights films directed by female filmmakers, while also providing provocative and highly engaging new independent cinema to audiences.  The films selected for February through May 2015 are: Approaching the Elephant, directed by Amanda Rose Wilder (February 20), She’s Lost Control, directed by Anja Marquardt (March 20), I Believe in Unicorns directed by Leah Meyerhoff (March 27) and L For Leisure directed by Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn (May 15).

“At IFP we are constantly working with emerging artists and filmmakers to engage and build new audiences that will champion their work on a long-term basis,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center by IFP. “To do this for such an excellent group of filmmakers—four of the five of them being female filmmakers—and to provide them with a unique opportunity in the release of their films demonstrates how perfectly Screen Forward represents IFP’s mission.”

IFP launched ‘Screen Forward’ in October 2014 with the opening of Onur Tukel’s Summer of Blood and concurrent Vampire Art Exhibition followed by Josephine Decker’s Butter on the Latch and Thou Wast Mild & Lovely with Female Sexual Fantasies on Film Panel (November)Madeleine Olnek’s The Foxy Merkins with pre-show performances from Lucy Sexton and Deb Margolin (December) and Paul Harrill’s Something, Anything (January).

February 20 – February 26:  APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT (Dir.  Amanda Rose Wilder)

Amanda Rose Wilder’s acclaimed feature debut dives head first into the inaugural year at Teddy McArdle Free School in New Jersey where all classes are voluntary and rules are created by democratic vote. Wilder is there from the beginning to end of the school year, documenting and observing founder Alex Khost and an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations, until it all comes to a head. Evoking the immersive nonfiction styles of Frederick Wiseman and Allen King, Approaching the Elephant is a rare, inspired portrait of unfettered childhood.

This startling documentary had its world premiere at the 2014 True/False Film Festival and was recently nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award. It also was named one of the Best Undistributed Films of the Year by Film Comment. Director Amanda Rose Wilder is an alumnus of the IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs.

 March 20 – March 26:  SHE’S LOST CONTROL (Dir. Anja Marquardt, Cast: Brooke Bloom, Marc Menchaca)

She’s Lost Control centers on Ronah, a sexual surrogate in New York City who teachers her clients about the very thing they fear most: intimacy. Her life unravels when she starts working with a volatile new client, Johnny, blurring the thin line between professional and personal intimacy in the modern world.

Marquardt’s debut feature had its world premiere at the 2014 Berlinale and went on to screen at New Directors/New Films and SXSW. The film was recently nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay. The film is being released by Monument Releasing.

March 27 – April 2:  I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS (Dir. Leah Meyerhoff, Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Amy Seimetz)

I Believe in Unicorns tells the story of Davina, a strong-willed and imaginative teenage girl who escapes into a beautifully twisted fantasy life. As the sole caretaker of her disabled mother, Davina grew up too fast. Now, she looks for salvation in a relationship with a young man and is swept into a whirlwind of romance and adventure. But, the enchantment of her new relationship begins to fade as the young man’s volatile side comes to light.

Meyerhoff’s debut feature had its world premiere at SXSW 2014. Director Meyerhoff is an alumnus of the IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs & IFP Independent Film Week. The film is being released by Gravitas Ventures.

May 15 – May 21:  L FOR LEISURE (Co-directors Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn, Cast: Gabriel Abrantes, Benjamin Coopersmith)

L For Leisure is an impressionistic, episodic comedy about laziness, wandering, and wasting time. Set to the rhythms of the school-year calendar, Kalman and Horn’s sophomore feature tracks the changes to the collected spirit of a group of graduate students through 1992-93 as they go on various vacations. In Its focus on highly thoughtful but somehow clueless characters, L FOR LEISURE is an homage to the 90’s films of directors like Hal Hartley, Whit Stillman, and Eric Rohmer.

 The film had its world premiere at the International Film Festival of Rotterdam and went on to screen at BAMCinemaFest.  It also screened at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the series Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.  Kalman and Horn were also featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2014.

Tickets for the next Screen Forward selection, Approaching the Elephant, will go on sale in early February. For more information on tickets and the Screen Forward program, please see the Screen Forward webpage. Film fans can sign up to receive the free, weekly IFP E-Newsletter at


About IFP

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

About Made in NY Media Center by IFP

The Made in NY Media Center by IFP is where storytellers from multiple disciplines, industries and platforms create, collaborate, connect and incubate across a spectrum of programs, events, and experiences. The Media Center brings together innovators in film, video, gaming, technology and more through education, mentorship, entrepreneurship, and content creation. Since opening its doors the Media Center has held more than 100 classes and 300 events serving more than 25,000 people in its classrooms, media gallery, theater, café, incubator and community member spaces.