On our September 11, 2020 NYWIFT Talks, we joined Executive Director of IFP Jeffrey Sharp for a Zoom conversation. Founded in 1979, The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) is the largest and longest running not-for-profit dedicated to independent film. We focused on IFP and the future of digital learning within IFP.
This conversation was moderated by NYWIFT Board Member Yvonne Russo.
Jeffrey Sharp is the Executive Director of IFP –The Independent Filmmaker Project – based in New York. His films as producer include Academy Award and Golden Globe–winning and nominated films such as Boys Don’t Cry, You Can Count on Me, Nicholas Nickleby and Proof as well as literary adaptations such as A Home at the End of the World, The Night Listener and The Yellow Birds. Most recently, Sharp has produced popular films and TV for the China market including Crazy Alien, My Other Home, Wonderful Life and the upcoming Great Banquet for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures. Sharp is also co-founder of digital publisher Open Road Integrated Media.
Yvonne Russo (moderator) is an award-winning producer, director, and writer of film and television. She is currently in post-production on Viva Verdi! A feature documentary about the retirement home that Giuseppe Verdi built in Milan for retired opera singers and musicians. She is currently directing and producing, the Untitled Annie Mae Aquash documentary about Annie Mae, a leading First Nations political activist, of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who fought for civil rights for indigenous peoples. Her producing partners are Amy Kaufman and Caroline Waterlow. She is also directing and writing a short animation on Zitkala-Sa (Red Bird), a Dakota activist, orator, musician, and writer who advocated for United States Citizenship for Indigenous people when they were not considered citizens in their own country until 1924. This will be aired on PBS as part of the Discovering New York Women’s Suffrage Stories.
Russo directed, wrote, and produced Minnie’s War Bonnet, an animated short for PBS, which is currently part of a national educational program for K-12. She is producing an indie feature, Kelly’s Bar, with Casey Affleck. Previously, Russo worked as Production Advisor on Woman Walks Ahead, starring Jessica Chastain, and as Production Liaison/Advisor on the HBO Mini-Series, Lewis And Clark produced by Playtone/PlanB/Class 5. She produced True Whisperers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers, and the feature film, Naturally Native. Russo served as Co-Producer on The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust. As an independent producer, Russo worked for over 15 years on a diverse slate of domestic and international television and film projects for such companies as HBO, National Geographic Channel, Discovery/TLC, and the CBS/Smithsonian Channel. She has a television development deal with Handmade Films to adapt the 1989 cult classic film, Powwow Highway, based on a novel by David Seals. A member of the Academy of Television and Sciences, Board Member of NYWIFT, she is also a member of the Producers Guild of America, where she served on the Board of Governors, Founder and Co-Chair of the PGA Diversity Workshop. Russo divides her time between New York and Los Angeles and is a member of the Sicangu Lakhota Tribal Nation. www.yvonnerusso.com
Learn more about IFP: https://www.ifp.org
IFP Week (Sept 20-25): https://ifpweek.com
About NYWIFT Talks
NYWIFT Talks is a new weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more.