Netflix & Film Independent discover next great independent filmmaker

MUMBAI: After nine months of competition, aspiring filmmaker Philip G. Flores emerged as the winner of the Netflix Find Your Voice" filmmaking competition.

The project was presented by Netflix, Inc and Film Independent (FIND), the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Earlier this year, Netflix and FIND joined forces to discover and assist the next great independent filmmaker. Judged by a jury of film industry veterans, including actor/director Josh Brolin, Flores’ winning film project, Touchback, will now be produced as a feature-length, narrative film and is scheduled to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2010 and concurrently be available for streaming instantly from Netflix.

"We are delighted to give Philip an opportunity to bring Touchback to life. It was the goal of the ‘Netflix FIND Your Voice’ competition to give talented filmmakers a platform for their work, and we are gratified to have achieved that through this project," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

As the winner of the competition, Flores will receive a prize package valued at more than $350,000 to produce Touchback. The award includes a $150,000 cash production grant funded by Netflix, a camera package donated by Panavision, 25,000 feet of Kodak Color Negative Film or 10,000 feet of Kodak Color Intermediate Film courtesy of Kodak, dailies and release prints donated by Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, and a digital intermediate package provided by EFILM Hollywood, a division of Deluxe. FIND will provide advice and mentorship to Flores.

"We’re so excited to be working with Philip and eagerly await the opportunity to introduce Touchback to an international audience at next year’s festival. Through the generosity of Netflix and our sponsors, we’re able to dramatically expand the level of support given to filmmakers. We also hope that the added visibility this contest brought to the other finalists and semi-finalists will help them move their films closer to production," said Dawn Hudson, executive director for FIND.

After the initial announcement in January 2009, the "Netflix FIND Your Voice" competition received more than 2,000 applications and scripts from aspiring filmmakers. FIND identified 10 semifinalists, who were each asked to submit a two-to-three-minute video short related to the project they were proposing. A winner was selected by a judging panel of accomplished filmmakers and entertainment industry veterans, including Brolin, John Sayles, Dustin Lance Black, Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks and Stephanie Allain.