This is our second time around at IFP's Independent Film Week in New York City. The first time around, in 2008, we were coming off of working on Our School out of Eastern Europe for nearly three years, in virtual isolation from much of the global documentary film community. Being accepted to the Independent Film Week felt like a major breakthrough. That's because it was one: At the 2008 event we had meetings with all the major funders and broadcasters in the US, and many of those relationships bore fruit over the next two years. We also made friends with other filmmakers, and learned that there is power - or at least strength - in solidarity, pooled resources, shared advice, and the wide availability of shoulders to occasionally cry on. And we had our first mention in IndieWire - always fun to see that.
This year we're taking fewer meetings than the first time around, because we already have relationships with almost everyone in the field, and have been meeting them outside the framework of the Independent Film Week. The novelty has been replaced by pressure - to make a good film, to finish it, to set it up for a good launch. Luckily, we're here with the IFP Lab, which is seeing us through another round of boot camp preparations - this time in terms of marketing, festival strategy, and distribution. So, at the end of the day, we're just as overwhelmed. Which is a good thing, although it may not sound that way.