We've Got Hollywood Covered

IFP Takes on B-Side’s Festival Genius

Slated acquires intellectual property of shuttered company, licenses it to Independent Feature Project

The Festival Genius technology and database, from the recently shuttered B-Side, has found a new home.

Slated has acquired all of B-Side’s intellectual property, and effective immediately licensed the B-Side Festival Genius to IFP, the companies said Thursday.

Senior executives from B-Side including founder Chris Hyams have joined Slated, while key members of B-Side’s festival team are joining IFP.

The move will transform IFP, exponentially expanding its potential membership base and the organization’s ability to build audiences for independent films, and help individual filmmakers identify, build and connect with those audiences.

Slated will take over B-Side’s business of providing market research services to independent film producers and distributors and will roll out new products and services later this year.

Festival Genius provides critical infrastructure to support film festivals and independent filmmakers and promote voices that might not otherwise be heard. Over the past four years, B-Side’s Festival Genius hosted online program guides for more than 200 international film festivals, capturing audience feedback on 40,000 feature films from 3 million-plus visitors a year and building a registered membership of 200,000 film fans.

IFP will take over the running of these online film festival program guides. It plans to significantly expand the reach of Festival Genius while keeping costs to the festivals nominal.

IFP will continue B-Side’s past practice of sharing Festival Genius audience data with festivals and soon will start sharing data with IFP member filmmakers, offering them a direct line to audience feedback.

B-Side festival partners including Sundance Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, Austin Film Festival, Independent Film Festival of Boston, Newport Beach Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival and NewFest: The NYC LGBT Film Festival have already committed to use Festival Genius again this year in its new incarnation.

Joseph Beyer, associate director of the Sundance Institute Online, said in a statement, "Thanks to B-Side, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival program’s film guide was widely and universally recognized as the best in the history of the event. We are absolutely thrilled to see the Festival Genius and B-Side team find a new home, and are looking forward to an even better film guide for 2011."

Joana Vicente, IFP’s executive director, said, “This is a game changer for IFP and our mission. Festival Genius is an essential service for the independent film-making community — for festivals, film lovers and filmmakers. IFP has always been the place where filmmakers, the film industry and audiences intersect. This partnership is an exciting step forward in our mission, in that it literally places IFP where audiences interact with filmmakers on the web.

"We now have the potential to reach all of Festival Genius’s 200,000 film fans worldwide," Vicente continued. "These fans will be offered a one-year free IFP membership and we will host a network of sites that is in contact with 3 million independent filmgoers a year. We are confident this is a tremendous growth opportunity for IFP and that we are uniquely situated to expand the potential of the Festival Genius platform.”

B-Side founder-CEO Chris Hyams has joined Slated as COO, while B-Side’s VP of engineering Mike McCown has joined as chief technology officer. Hyams and McCown will continue to develop and innovate the Festival Genius technology platform, as well as grow the research and data services that will become the foundation of Slated’s future business.

Christopher Holland, B-Side’s director of festival operations, and festival account manager Jesse Trussell have joined IFP in the same roles, and will continue to run Festival Genius’s filmmaker and festival operations.

Hyams said in a statement, “I can’t imagine a better outcome for B-Side. I am truly thrilled to be joining Slated. [Slated founder-CEO] Duncan Cork has a visionary plan to apply B-Side’s data and research capabilities in ways that could fundamentally transform the film marketplace."