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. You can watch the panel in full below.
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.”