In case you haven't heard the news, AIVF is shutting its doors. In indieWire's article on the subject AIVF's interim executive director Lina Srivastava says, "(The organization has) kind of gone into moth balls to a certain extent." Her choice of words suggests that the organization's status is still indeterminate, but what's indisputable is that the only two people left working for AIVF are Srivastava (who had always signed on to only an "interim" position with the organization) and Shana Liebman, editor of The Independent Film and Video Monthly. Hibernation? Coma? Death? I guess we'll have to wait to find out. In AIVF's semi-annual member surveys I was always a vocal critic of its service and outreach to filmmakers based anywhere but New York, and Jim McKay made the case better than I ever could about how the organization, though it desperately needed to transform itself, had not done so.
But, after speaking with some staffers in February as news of their crisis leaked out, I argued for its survival because I believed that this could be the wake-up call the organization needed.
Pretty soon into its funding drive, though, I saw that AIVF wasn't going to meet its (modest) goals, and I came to the conclusion that it's probably better for the long term that the organization close shop, at least for a while, and possibly forever.
Now that that's happened, we're left with more questions:
Will The Independent Film and Video Monthly live on in some other way, and if so, what shape will it take?
Will AIVF ever have its "moth balls" dusted off? If so, by whom and under what circumstances?
And, perhaps most pressingly, what organizations will take this as a wake-up call and transform themselves? And which ones will be the next to collapse?
One small bit of hope:
As I wrote in a post midway through the AIVF funding crisis, the controversial Showtime-Smithsonian deal would be an interesting test case of what things might be like in a world without AIVF. One of AIVF's strengths was as an advocate of the collective rights of independent filmmakers. Under normal circumstances AIVF would have led the charge against the licensing of America's "attic" to a private corporation.
Happily, it appears as if the filmmakers that banded together (without the help of AIVF
or, to the best of my knowledge, any other organization -- see Brian's comment below) have been at least partially successful in getting Congress to take notice.