After several dark, dormant years, the Independent Filmmaker Project Chicago (IFP) has sprung back to life with the hiring of producer Nicole Bernardi-Reis as its first paid executive director since 2008.
While the position is listed as “part time,” Bernardi-Reis, an active TV and documentary producer, will undoubtedly devote a surplus of time and energy to take the 30 year old Chicago organization to new levels of opportunity for IFP members.
A 12 year member of IFP, Bernardi-Reis moves up from 16 months as board president spent in revitalizing the organization. Languishing membership rebounded to 250, with the goal of doubling it again to reach previous heights, and revenues grew by 60%.
“There’s no question that Nicole led the charge in restoring IFP to its important role in the film community after it had gone dark for years. It was no easy task,” says board member Amelia Dellos.
Raising the funds, from sponsorships and other revenue, to employ Bernardi-Reis was “a leap of faith,” says Jonah Zeiger, board member / program chair and associate DePaul cinema professor. “But with all the possibilities for future growth and new sources of income, we projected we should make that leap now.”
One of its key 2016 programs is a series on entrepreneurial empowerment for filmmakers, says Zeiger. “We are bringing in industry experts with the highest level of business expertise to mentor our members in creating more opportunities for development, financing and distribution.”
IFP is also raising its visibility by partnering with other organizations. It hosted workshops at the recent International TV Awards and will again hold workshops at the upcoming May 13-14 Lake FX expo.
Helping to reignite IFP is the board of directors, whose current members are officers: Lisa Swanson, president; John Otterbacher, Orange Chair Productions, Ltd. and treasurer Carrie Holt de Lama.
Members: Amelia Dellos, Corn Bred Films; Paul Fleschner, Paul Fleschner Productions; Angie Gaffney, Producer/Manager, Black Apple Media; Christopher Johnson, Founder, Johnsonese Brokerage LLC; Travis Life, Leavens, Strand & Glover, LLC; Keaton Wooden, Producer/Director and Jonah Zeiger, DePaul University, School of Cinematic Arts; Kamelya Alexan, Independent Filmmaker;; Stan Glapa, Cineverse; Mike McNamara, Executive Director, Midwest Independent Film Festival; John Mossman, Director, Mossman Films; Sherilyn Slawinski, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios; Ines Sommer, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Percolator Films and Laurel Ward, Ocean Pictures.
For more information about membership, click here.