New York Television Festival Celebrates 10th Year With Record Number of Development Deals

The organization saw 32 development deals awarded to television creators in 2014, up from 30 in 2013

“House of Cards” showrunner Beau Willimon was on hand Saturday for the closing night of the 10th annual New York Television Festival where independent artists, industry executives and TV fans celebrated a record number of development deals, including two series orders and a pilot presentation.

NYTVF, which celebrates independent television, and its partners saw 32 development deals awarded to television creators in 2014, up from 30 in 2013. Twenty of those deals were made during the fest. Among the top deals were direct-to-series green lights from The Orchard and Travel Channel/ULIVE, and the development of an unscripted pilot presentation with A&E Network.

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Among the honors awarded on Saturday night was the NYTVF Critics Award which went to “Witnesses,” created by created by David Eisenberg and Jon Higgins. The Best of the Fest award was given to “Dispatch,” created by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen.

Of the nearly 2,000 submissions received this year, 121 projects were selected for the Independent Pilot Competition or as finalists/semi-finalists in other development initiatives.

Highlights of the Oct. 20-25 event included conversations with top showrunners Carlton Cuse (“The Strain”), Jenni Konner (“Girls”) as well as the U.S. premiere of “The Game,” which is an upcoming BBC spy drama about America’s involvement in the Cold War.

“We had a fantastic week with more events, projects, deals, and overall artist and industry participation than ever before. It was a terrific way to celebrate our tenth festival,” NYTVF founder and executive director Terence Gray said. “In the last decade the festival has grown from a screening and panel series to an international talent and content marketplace that has solidified its place on the TV industry calendar. By drawing thousands of submissions annually, we continue to attract the best talent, and connect them with our development partners who over the years have guaranteed indie TV artists more than 100 development deals and counting.”

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A list of award winners included:

Independent Pilot Competition Winners

Best Animation Pilot: “Future Duck!” created by Henry Dalton and Paul Cope (London, UK)

Best Comedy Pilot: “Cowards” created by Daniel Clark, Megan Green, Joe Kwaczala, Joe McAdam, and Chris Stephens (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Drama or Dramedy Pilot: “Dispatch” created by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen (Brooklyn, NY)

Best Short-Form Web Series:”Annie Undocumented” created byDaniel Hsia, Elaine Low, and Brian Yang (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Unscripted Pilot:”Love Spitters” created by Rich Seng and Nicholas Charles Peters (Chicago, IL)

Best Actress: “This Old Thing” (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Actor: Chris Mast for “Go, Bolivia, Go!” (Los Angeles, CA)

Best Director: David Eisenberg for “Witnesses” (Queens, NY)

Best Editor: Matt VanDaniker for “The Neighborhood” (Queens, NY)

Best Writing:”Trouble” written by Sean Skelton (New York, NY)

NYTVF Critics Award:”Witnesses” created by David Eisenberg and Jon Higgins (Queens, NY)

NYTVF Audience Award: “The Neighborhood” created by James Manzello and Matt Pavich (Queens, NY)

NYTVF “Best of the Fest”: “Dispatch” created by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen (Brooklyn, NY)

Winner HISTORY Unscripted Development Pipeline: Gary Simson and Andrew Giacomett’s “Wreck Hunters” (Los Angeles, CA)

Winner of the A&E Unscripted Development Pipeline: Eric Kutner’s”Risk” (New York, NY)

Festival Development Awards

Comedy Central: Caroline Fox and Daniel Obzejta for “This Old Thing” (Los Angeles, CA)

Lionsgate/Sea to Sky Channel 4 Drama Co-Development Award: Ben Snyder and Ari Issler for “The Come Up” (Brooklyn, NY)

The Orchard GO Project: Jim Kozyra for “The Jamz” (Chicago, IL)

NYTVF Pitch Awards

Channel 4: Nicole Paglia and Daniel Brierley (London, UK)

Conde Nast Entertainment: Ramiro Castro Jr. and Pedro Castro (Los Angeles, CA)

FremantleMedia/Tiny Riot!: Sutton Dewey and Mark Millner (Brooklyn, NY)

FYI: James Spokoini & Massimiliano Bulgheroni (London, UK)

H2: Carrie Preston and Kate Rigg (New York, NY)

Investigation Discovery: Nicole Paglia and Daniel Brierley (London, UK)

National Geographic Channels: Steve Sera, Tim Egan, and Bob Sylvester (Boston, MA)

Red Arrow Entertainment:  Jessica Coleman (Sicklerville, NJ)

SundanceTV: David Harris (Los Angeles, CA)

Travel Channel and ULIVE: Jim Kozyra and Chris Petlak (Chicago, IL)

truTV: Greg Ash (London, UK)

WEtv: Dan Berk and Robert Olsen (Brooklyn, NY)