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IFP NATION - Independent Film Playoff restructures to include a 50 State Combine.

The Independent Film Playoff.

First conceived by Gerald Colbert in the year 2014, the Independent Film Playoff has gained notoriety as an other than usual method of deciding film competition winners. Constructed in an athletic sports-like point for point competition the Independent Film Playoff competes films one-on-one using a point scoring rubric and advances winning films through a one knockout round for round system of play. Indie Life sat down to interview founder and director Gerald Colbert about the coming new Combine System and also other new quirks and improvements to the 4 year old competition.

IL: When you first developed the IFP, what were your goals and intentions for the competition and has it lived up to your expectations?

GC: I always wanted to compete and at the time I had a film that I was desperately trying to get into film festivals so that I could compete. Of all the film festivals that gave me a nod (I submitted to more than 52) one festival the Awareness Film Festival out of Los Angeles California gave me my first laurel and for them I'll always be grateful. I've always been into Sports and I kind of saw myself (As a director) like a football coach. I carried most of that into my film endeavors and thought it would be cool if films did go head-to-head just like in sports. The IFP is still pretty small but I'm sure with the new revamps and staff replacements we'll be more than fired up and able to attain the vision I originally set for the program.

IL: What has changed at the IFP?

GC: Well for one, I did a vast staff revamp. I incorporated personnel who had a passion for the competition versus those who just wanted to take credit for its growth. It makes a real difference when you have passionate people on your team. Next, I decided to retool the whole system and added a points per win Combine System.

IL: Explain the Combine System.

GC: Well, the Combine System takes all 50 U.S States plus a few territories and three Canadian cities. Each State is worth a certain amount of points should you win that state. To advance to the Playoff a filmmaker's film would need a minimum cutoff of 275 points. I grabbed this approach after watching the Presidential election and thought it would be pretty interesting to see how it would do at our Combines. The films that muster 275 will then be placed in the playoff bracket and then battle to determine the ultimate Independent Film Playoff Champion.

IL: How do you think this new system will help the Indie Film Community?

GC: I think it rejuvenates the Indie Awards Industry, I think it's more transparent. It eliminates bias and instead of picking names out of a hat to decide winners like most festivals do this system shows point for point how a film won.

IL: Do you think that this will develop a superiority complex in some filmmakers and take away from artistic community feel?

GC: Tell that to the Academy Awards. If that doesn't develop a superiority complex then I don't know what does. As much as we like to claim that we make films for the art we all know deep down inside we do it to win and at the Independent level you have to be a winner to get some attention especially if you don't have the proper connections.

IL: On the website it states "No more worthless laurels" do you think film festival laurels has lost its value?

GC: Honestly yes and that is one of the reasons we created the IFP and the Film Tournament System. After an Indie film piles laurels it's like "ok, now what?" and knowing the festival circuit for so many years a lot of the wins that I've seen go to films at different festivals was nothing but the result of nepotism and bias. We want to elliminate that 100%.

IL: Does any of your films compete?

GC: I'm banned from competing lol.

IL: What's the most rewarding part about heading the Independent Film Playoff?

GC: Watching all the films. You have some good ones and many bad ones but in even watching the bad ones you learn something and many of the films that are low budget tend to have a deeper message than the higher budget films. All in all, I love the experience.

IL: Any last words for Indie Life and the Independent Filmmakers out there?

GC: Film and Compete!


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