PROJECT INDIE HOPE now has a fiscal sponsor and is in process for 501c3 filing.
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Formed in April 2021 to help ease the financial challenges placed on independent film productions in the Covid era, Project Indie Hope has launched the non-profit Project Indie Hope Foundation as it looks to expand. Gerry Pass, CEO and founder of Project Indie Hope and Chrome Entertainment, says the organization has already aided almost 200 films in its first year and still has plenty of work to do.
Speaking on a panel at the American Pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival this week, Pass and Project Indie Hope’s National Project Manager Charlie Phoenix discussed the company’s mandate as well as issues facing the indie sector alongside Aimee Schoof, co-founder of Intrinsic Value Films; and Caddy Vanasirikul, Head of Acquisitions for The Exchange.
While there’s optimism here on the ground as projects flood an energized Cannes market, and as return to work rules are being amended in the U.S., Covid protocols and challenges are going to be around for the foreseeable future, the panelists agreed. Said Schoof, “I think this is kind of the new normal now, I feel like this is the way we’re going to keep doing it. I know that on all my shoots we’re going to keep testing.”
That testing can be prohibitively expensive, and Project Indie Hope says that with its services, a six-week independent production of 40 cast and crew can save as much as $300K. On top of that, insurance costs have gone up. Vanasirikul noted that Covid insurance is 10% of a budget which could otherwise cover “three or four days more of shooting… It’s insane.”
The pandemic and its related costs have also had an impact on content. Said Schoof, “It affects your casting and the number of days, the types of movies, those extra three days that you need to make the action even better or to make the performance even better. So you have to be creative.” Schoof added that overall, “This is a collaborative group global issue and we all need to be compassionate and not have such rigid rules… and allow a little bit more flexibility in terms for contracts.”
Pass said that moving Project Indie Hope to the private sector will allow the organization to “not only just concentrate on Covid testing to provide for independent filmmakers and subsidize them on that, but for anything in the future that comes up…To finish a film, it’s a miracle. Add Covid and it’s an act of God.”
PROJECT INDIE HOPE is the proud sponsor of the American Pavilion for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
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PROJECT INDIE HOPE will participate in SXSW 2022 in Austin, Texas March 10 - March 16, 2022
Come visit our team & director of Project Indie Hope Gerry Pass at the Creative Industries Expo booth #324 and get a free COVID test!
We look forward to seeing you there.
January 26, 2022
The global pandemic has greatly altered the way we live and conduct business. The ability to meet the costs of producing a film under the protocols of state, federal and union rules has added an additional burden to an already difficult task, but in April 2021, producer Gerry Pass brought much needed relief, and has since rescued over 100 independent films by providing filmmakers with NO COST COVID-19 testing through Project Indie Hope.
(Film Daily) What can you tell us about the dilemma indie filmmakers are facing at the moment in regards to the costs of Covid testing?
(Gerry Pass) The dilemma for indie filmmakers is complex. It has always been a difficult task to achieve necessary funding but during the pandemic even more so. We have an industry that is already very skeptical with the risk of financing a film under normal conditions. The question now becomes how can I operate and keep my production safe moving forward without costing more.
How does it feel to have four of the films you co-executive produced make it to Sundance?
Extremely humbling, with tremendous excitement for all of the filmmakers that we worked with.
What problem is Project Indie Hope solving for filmmakers?
Project Indie Hope is eliminating the excessive cost of Covid testing. This expense makes filmmaking nearly impossible. Our solution allows indie filmmakers to produce their project.
How does this production service impact films and other filmmakers you work with?
Filmmakers are greatly relieved of the financial burden and stress of how they can produce their films and come up with how to pay for the extreme cost of Covid testing, which for example on a low budget film can range easily for a cast and crew of 100 on a four week shoot upwards of $240,000.
How has your taking action impacted the film industry?
For the independent filmmaker, the impact of Covid has brought us to a standstill. After protocols were put into place the afterthought of how it would be financed stifled every filmmaker I know. As time moved on, I could visibly see the impact on distributors and sales agencies, as one by one they went out of business. Simply, indie filmmakers had no options to get around the obstacles of extreme cost of the Covid testing. Since the launch of Project Indie Hope in April 2020 we have assisted over 100 films to be shot and completed. That’s 100 titles more into the wheel of commerce that wouldn’t have been there had we not. It’s hard to acknowledge what we have done is so impactful on the industry. However, ask any producer we have worked with and they will tell you straight up “We could not have made our film without you.”
January 15, 2022
PROJECT INDIE HOPE provided COVID testing and support for 4 films that will premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival: 2022 Sundance Film Festival
Honk For Jesus, Save Your Soul
Directed by Adamma Ebo. With Nicole Beharie, Sterling K. Brown, Regina Hall, Austin Crute.
In the aftermath of a huge scandal, Trinity Childs, the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptist Mega Church, attempts to help her pastor-husband, Lee-Curtis Childs, rebuild their congregation.
Written and directed by Nikyatu Jusu. With Michelle Monaghan, Anna Diop, Morgan Spector.
Aisha (Anna Diop), an undocumented nanny caring for a privileged child on the Upper East Side of New York City. As she prepares for the arrival of the son she left behind in West Africa, a violent supernatural presence invades her reality, threatening the American Dream she’s painstakingly pieced together.
Directed by James Ponsoldt. With Lake Bell, Megan Mullally, Ashley Madekwe.
Four best friends on the brink of starting middle school, realize their lives are about to change forever. So, on the last weekend of summer, they set out to make the most of it.
Written and directed by Andrew Semans. With Rebecca Hall, Angela Wong Carbone, Josh Drennan.
Margaret's life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret's past.
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