If you weren't able to hit the screenings and the slopes in Park City, then there's another way you can get involved in independent film closer to home, if that home happens to be Los Angeles.

Film Independent, the collective of filmmakers and film lovers, has been supporting the smaller artists for the silver screen since 1981. You may have heard of the organization from their roles in producing The Los Angeles Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. What you may not know is that they have events, meetings, screenings and networking opportunities year round for Film Independent members. If you're looking to get involved with the film community, a membership may be a worthy investment of just under $100 annually.

Michel Lopez, Director of Diversity and Membership, was enthusiastic to inform why membership in Film Independent is important for any budding filmmaker or cineaste.

"As the Director of Diversity and Membership I support our membership and am responsible for the organization's diversity strategy to ensure that the Film Independent community is inclusive of filmmakers who embody our commitment to diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision," noted Lopez.

Lopez became involved with the organization as a member and then as a Film Independent Fellow with Project Involve, the diversity program for emerging filmmakers. He has now been on staff for almost four years.

Philosophically, members view "independent film is artist-driven work principally created outside of the studio system" said Lopez. "These films are often smaller in budget, tell personal stories, and are driven by passion rather than financial gain. Some may be bought or distributed by studios and be financially successful, but the driving element is passion."

"Film Independent hosts anywhere from 4-8 events every month to galvanize the film community. These events support filmmakers and film lovers. Members can engage online at filmindependent.org and in-person at the over 200 events Film Independent produces each year," said Lopez. He went on to suggest that new "members should try to attend as many events as possible. That said, the DNA of our organization exists in every event we produce, so members can feel a part of the Film Independent community from attending just one event."

Lopez recommended some of the most popular gatherings new members should have on their schedule. Number one would be "member night, held on the first Tuesday of the month. This event for new members outlines all of Film Independent's programs and events, including Film Independent at LACMA, Filmmaker Education events, Filmmaker Labs and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Members also stay to chat with the Membership staff and to network with their fellow filmmaker members."

Currently, one of their most popular events is Film Independent at LACMA. Lopez noted that "This one-of-a-kind weekly film series celebrates new, rare, and classic films, as well as unique film presentations--like our Live Read series conceived and produced by Jason Reitman which features notable actors reading classic screenplays such as The Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club, and Shampoo."

Lopez also pointed out that "the Film Independent Forum is a must attend event for any filmmaker developing a feature film. The Forum presents a weekend of panels with filmmakers and film industry professionals who discuss all stages of development including the latest in financing, marketing, distribution models, and case studies from independent filmmakers with current projects that have received distribution. These frank discussions give working filmmakers a snapshot of what needs to be done to both complete and find an audience for a film."

"Members believe in film as an art form, concluded Lopez. "Film Independent members are filmmakers, film professionals, and film lovers. Being a part of this organization shows that you believe in artist-driven film."

For more information on events and membership, please visit filmindependent.org
CATEGORIES Movies