Dogfish Accelerator Applications Observations

12:41 11 June in Musings, Rants and Raves

I am feeling so much Indie Film love right now. Today Team Dogfish will be going through the last of the applications for the Dogfish Accelerator program and sending out notifications tomorrow morning. It has been an EXHAUSTING four days of review and re-review and discussions and we are so humbled, touched, and amazed by the response we got.

We had 438 teams start an application. I kid you not when I say that our initial target was 200. I thank all of you for taking the time to try something crazy with us. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be generating a much more detailed infographic on the application pool. So keep an eye out!

But until then I have a few general observations that I wanted to share with y’all.

Majority of our top teams are made up of at least 50% women. This isn’t a surprising fact but rather an interesting result given the pain point our industry faces with age/race/gender diversity. More interesting is the fact that male applicants outweigh female applicants by about 150%. In summation: there was a higher probability of a female killin it than a male killin it when it came to the Dogfish Accelerator applications.

There were some cool and innovative ways that teams got their video together. Especially from teams who began their application a few days prior to the deadline and from teams who were spread across the globe. People were recording Skype sessions, holding up iPads and laptop screens, or just quickly syncing in a few words from other team members who recorded their part on their phone. Of course we had some teams go above and beyond creating videos that could stand alone as a team pitch/concept reel but some of the coolest videos came from people figuring out anything to submit under pressure.

There is non-stop chatter on our application comment sections. The most amazing of these are words of support both wishing people good luck and expressing the willingness to help teams and stay in touch. The latter has absolutely amazed me. People are talking about things ranging from the best ways to find housing in NYC all the way to ideas and philosophies about the indie film industry. And of course, there are some kind words to Dogfish that are just too amazing to describe. So here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“I cannot stop thinking about how much I have learned just during the application process. I was forced to think about myself, my company, my ideas in a fast, fresh way. No matter what, I have stepped into a new realm of understanding why I do this, why I want to be a storyteller, an artist, a filmmaker.”

“This is an amazing opportunity to further the global footprint of true Indie filmmaking. Reminds of how and why United Artits was formed by Ms Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplain. True pioneers of Indie Film.”

” I love this accelerator because it offers so much room for individual creative control, and allowing the artist to emerge. I firmly believe that business and art can co-exist in a place like this.”

Our main objective with the accelerator is to change the way producers approach our industry. The fact that 438 teams (meaning as little as twice as much for total people) were interested enough to shake things up is an amazing data point for me. Imagine if every single one of those teams began making films following direct distribution practices, using strong business ethos, practicing fair trade filmmaking, and being collaborative and transparent with everyone the come in contact with. My dream is that this ripple could help further a revolution that myself and all our the participating Mentors, Service Providers, and Partners all believe in and see as here.

Thank you all again and a thousand times more.

  • Gavin Kilduff

    “Imagine if every single one of those teams began making films following direct distribution practices, using strong business ethos, practicing fair trade filmmaking, and being collaborative and transparent with everyone the come in contact with” Couldnt have put it any better. This is the exact reason why I have been dreaming over the past few days about being accepted. Great work guys.

  • Devin Landin

    Congrats on all this, James. It was fun putting it all together, and regardless of what happens, I’m eager to see what it all turns into. G’luck!

  • Melanie Cruz

    I was at the Produced By Conference this weekend telling everyone about the Dogfish Accelerator . . . you’re in the gulfstream of a paradigm shift in the film industry!

  • Vijay Rajan

    Indie films are all about the support we give each other! Thank you, Dogfish, and thank you to all the other applicants!

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James Belfer - Founder & CEO

James founded Dogfish in 2009 to produce and invest in independent film (in which he made 6 films). He was named by Deadline Hollywood as one of 2012′s 10 Producers to Keep Watching. In 2013 he launched the Dogfish Accelerator program after an inspiring experience working for TechStars in Boulder, Colorado. He’s a Northwestern University graduate and received his MBA from NYU Stern in 2013. He currently is an Adjunct Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he teaches Strategies For Independent Producing. James aspires to be one of the world’s most renowned hermits. He tends to spend most of his free time in South Williamsburg watching cartoons and googling “best Texas BBQ in NYC.” He also runs a monthly meetup called A Presentation of the Deplorable, Bizarre, and Terrible in which he binge watches 10 films in a row that most of the world has never seen (most of the time for glaringly obvious reasons). As of July 2014 only 3 people have attended.