New board sets goals to expand IFP service to indies

The Independent Filmmakers Project Chicago’s (IFP) first new logo in 17 years signifies “a revamping of our image to portray who we are and where we’re going,” says IFP board president and producer Nichole Bernardi-Reis.

An energized board of 20 mostly new members was elected last January, bringing wider industry perspectives to the organization, “so we can to adapt to what the independent film community needs now, not what was,” Bernardi-Reis says.

“We will do it by instituting and strengthening programs and services for all levels of filmmaking, from entry level to people like me, who have been doing this for a while.”

IFP’s annual Fall IFP Conference remains on the agenda, with expanded panels. Returning fter a five year hiatus is the Producer Series, a concentrated weekend about the business of film and getting it to market, with multiple higher level programs and greater accessibility to decision-makers.

The interview series introduced last fall, “75 Minutes with …” featuring industry notables will be a regular event. “In the Works,” in which members can screen their rough cuts and receive feedback will be back.

Finding ways to help fund indie projects is another board objective.  Making a comeback after being dormant for five years is the Fiscal Sponsorship Program designed to assist members seeking grants and/or contributions from non-profit organizations.

Nichole Bernardi-Reis, IFP Board presidentFundraising events won’t be around, though, as the board is counting on infusing revenue from dues by boosting present membership from 155 to 350.

One immediate board concern, however, is finding new office space.  Its arrangement with Cineverse has ended with the equipment company’s move in May to the suburbs.

IFP’s new officers are Bernardi-Reis, serving a second term after a two-year absence; vice presidents John Otterbacher, Tribeca Flashpoint College and Lisa Swenson, IT strategist, and treasurer Carrie Holt de Lama, producer and 2024 board president.

Newly elected members: Amelia Dellos, Corn Bred Films; Paul Fleschner, Paul Fleschner Productions; Angie Gaffney, Black Apple Media; Christopher Johnson, Johnsonese Brokerage LLC;  Travis Life, Leavens, Strand & Glover, LLC; Kevin Pitts, independent filmmaker; Sherilyn Slawinski, Ines Sommer, Percolator Films; Laurel Ward, actress/producer; Keaton Wooden, producer/director and Jonah Zeiger, DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts.

Returning board members: Kamelya Alexan, filmmaker; Kathy Byrne, SAG-AFTRA Chicago; Stan Glapa, Cineverse; Mike McNamara, Midwest Independent Film Festival and John Mossman, Mossman Films.

Managing director is Julie Mynatt, part-time Columbia College instructor. 

IFP’s new logo designer was Patrick Smith, owner of C2 Creative.

Annual IFP membership dues are $75 for professionals, $50 students and corporate, $200.