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Bringing Ideas to the Screen with NYC.TV

Support New York-based creators in an endeavor that echoes the days of public access television

by Acacia Dougan
on 19 June 2015

Inspired by the spirit of public access television, NYC.TV—founded by a team of New York-based individuals (Kareem Ahmed, Alexandra Serio and Max Nelson) who've worked at the NY Times, Vice and Vox Media—aims to help filmmakers get funding, support and a broader audience. Essentially, NYC.TV is an independent development fund and a platform on which to enjoy the resulting projects.

Of the company's founding, Ahmed tells CH, "Alex and I really wanted to work on something together. We'd take the train to work together every day and kind of brainstorm on the way. It's funny, the idea was kind of conceived from those conversations on the train, which is a very natural place for something like this to come out of. We'd worked on a short film together and it was so much fun to make but it was also this massive undertaking to get this little two-minute piece. We had to rent equipment, scout locations, get our friends to work for free, ask for favors and then shoot for like 12 hours. It was so much work and after we finished it, we were like, 'What do we do with it now?' and we didn't have an answer and realized that this was kind of the same for a lot of people. So we decided that we should just build a safe place for all of the weird and independently created videos in New York and that's how NYC.TV was born."

Aside from funding an eclectic mix of artistic endeavors, NYC.TV hopes to simultaneously create a global community that's genuinely interested in the content it provides. Better yet, anyone will be able to view films and web series on the site without having to sign up or pay for a thing.

As for how to take part, Serio says that the selection process for funding is diplomatic. "To be clear, we watch everything that people send us!" she says. "Our selection process is really a confluence of subject matter, production quality, and the ability to either communicate a narrative, delight the senses or teach you something—or all three!"

The focus is squarely on a talented community and the thoughtful, funny, provocative and plain weird films—from video art to cooking shows to documentaries—they are creating. Nelson says, "We love our content because it's a reflection of the city in which we live. Much like New York, there's something for everyone. When we started we knew we didn't want to focus on one topic like food or fashion, we wanted NYC.TV to represent the output of the culture and be all encompassing. This way we don't have to exclude anyone in the creative community."

Currently funding on Kickstarter, NYC.TV will use the money pledged for funding shows, distribution, marketing and technology. A $750 donation gets you a personal shopper experience with NY Times music critic and shopping columnist Jon Caramanica, $3k will make you an owner of a Ryder Ripps artwork and a pledge of $10k results in NYC.TV founder Kareem tattooing a Wayne's World photo (your choice) onto his thigh.

Images courtesy of NYC.TV.

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