Magazine article Variety

East Coast Kudos Boost Distribs' Courage to Campaign

Magazine article Variety

East Coast Kudos Boost Distribs' Courage to Campaign

Article excerpt

"Birdman" and "boyhood." "Citizenfour" and Julianne Moore. They all won Oscars this year. But they were also winners of 2014 Gothams, the first major awards show of the season and one that really poses a chicken-and-egg question about statuettes and campaigns and who influences what.

"Because we're so early, by putting a spotlight on our nominees and winning films we're giving confidence to distributors, encouragement to go on and campaign," says Joana Vicente, executive director of the Independent Feature Project, which has been sponsoring the Gothams now for 25 years. "Not that the films would need it but, especially with the smaller ones, but it's really a boost. It ends up having an impact, which is great, though that's definitely not the mission - the mission is to elevate and celebrate independent films."

Two new categories have been added to the program: Breakthrough Awards will recognize achievement in serialized content on television and new digital media.

"New York has always been kind of the center of independent filmmaking and even though there are amazing filmmakers and films everywhere, I still feel this is the place for independent films," says Vicente, who is also executive director of the New York Media Center in Brooklyn.

But she says many people in the inde- pendent film world are involved with television or creating Web series and the time seemed ripe to recognize the work - both long form and short form - and the people who create it. "They're the same people we've always worked with," she says, adding that only debuting series will be eligible for the awards.

While the Gothams will recognize televised entertainment, they won't be part of it, exactly (the program will be streamed live). "IFC used to broadcast the awards," Vicente says. "But in a way it's wonderful not to be broadcast. …

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