- Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009
After nine months of rigorous competition, aspiring filmmaker Philip G. Flores of Hemet, Calif. emerged as the winner of the "Netflix FIND Your Voice" filmmaking competition (www.netflixfindyourvoice.com), it was announced today by the project's presenting partners, Netflix, Inc., the world's largest online movie rental service, 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, Mr. 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," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "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."
As the winner of the competition, Mr. Flores, 28, 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 Mr. 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," said Dawn Hudson, executive director for FIND. "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."
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. The applicants had to be first-time filmmakers who had not yet created and publicly screened a full-length, narrative feature film of at least 70 minutes. Through a public voting process on the competition's Web site, the six films with the highest number of votes were selected to go to the final round. A winner was selected by a judging panel of accomplished filmmakers and entertainment industry veterans, including Mr. Brolin, John Sayles, Dustin Lance Black, Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks and Stephanie Allain.
The "Netflix FIND Your Voice" Blue Ribbon Committee had this to say about the competition and the winner:
"We were very impressed with the quality of this year's finalists, standouts from over 2,000 submissions. The discussion was not about loves and hates and unhappy compromises, but of the relative merits of a group of films we hope get made and filmmakers we hope can keep at it and continue to grow. Given this, we eagerly await the premiere of director Philip Flores' 'Touchback,' and encourage film professionals and investors to visit the competition Web site to consider some other outstanding projects and filmmakers worth supporting."
"Touchback" tells the story of Bug, a high school freshman who reluctantly engages in a contest based on the sexual conquest of female classmates. Things go badly awry when Bug's first love becomes another tally on the contest's growing scoreboard.
"I'm thrilled and honored to win the 'Netflix FIND Your Voice' filmmaking competition, and it's only been possible with the support and belief of my friends and family," said Mr. Flores. "I feel blessed that the judges, all of them filmmakers that I respect, FIND, and Netflix have given me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make this very personal film my first feature. Winning the competition has also given me and my collaborators the huge challenge of actually making a good movie, and while it's daunting, I can't wait to tackle it."
About Netflix, Inc.
Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is the world's largest online movie rental service, with more than 10 million subscribers. For only $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. There are never any due dates or late fees. Netflix members can exchange DVDs as often as they want using a postage-paid return envelope. Members can choose from a vast selection of DVD titles and a growing library of movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly. Netflix is partnering with leaders in consumer electronics to bring to market a range of devices that can instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix directly to members' TVs. These devices currently include Blu-ray disc players and new Internet TVs from LG Electronics; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung; the Roku digital video player; Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console; TiVo digital video recorders; and, soon, Internet TVs from Sony and VIZIO. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com/.
About Film Independent
Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent's Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry leader, or a film lover.
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent offers free Filmmaker Labs for selected writers, directors, and producers; provides cut-rate services for filmmakers; and presents year-round networking opportunities. Film Independent's mentorship and job placement program, Project: Involve, pairs emerging culturally diverse filmmakers with film industry professionals.
Film Independent produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, celebrating the best of American and international cinema and the Spirit Awards, a celebration honoring films and filmmakers that embody independence and dare to challenge the status quo. For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org.