The American Film Institute announced Tuesday plans for an annual independent American feature film festival, to be co-sponsored by New York-based independent distributor New Line Cinema and held on both the East and West coasts.
The festival--dubbed AFI Indiefest--will make its debut Nov. 13 at the Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica, run there for six days, then adjourn to the Kennedy Center in Washington Nov. 20-27.
New Line President Robert Shaye said Tuesday the Indiefest would examine "the independent film community as an important source of product" and that his company was "pleased to join forces with AFI to help place the focus of attention on important emerging talent."
Independently financed and released films, such as "Platoon" and "Room With a View," have played an increasingly significant role in the movie industry.
Film festivals in Park City, Utah, (which is sponsored by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute) and Telluride, Colo., already devote much of their attention to the independent film--as does the Independent Feature Film Market in New York--but Shaye sees room for another such festival.
"There's less attention paid in this country to the indie (independent film) than elsewhere, and production is up," Shaye said. He added that the New York market is principally a business meeting where films are bought and sold while directors and attendees will mingle freely at the AFI/New Line affair, and the work's quality is the paramount consideration.
AFI Director Jean Firstenberg said the festival would be programmed and directed by Ken Wlaschin, who is also the overseer for the organization's AFIFest Los Angeles in the spring. Wlaschin will make his selections--14 new films are scheduled--for this year's Indiefest by late October.