In New York, they say it’s not what you know but who you know. It’s a great observation, but one that raises a crucial question.
Where are you supposed to go to find more who’s to know? What’s the smartest way to meet fellow filmmakers in New York City?
In this post, we’ll help you out by highlighting some of the best film networking events NYC has to offer. We’ll talk about which NYC film networking events are worth your time and where to find more that match your specific interests.
The following list of NYC film networking events is organized in no particular order.
The Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective is a member-run volunteer organization for local filmmakers. Their mission is to foster a generous community that shares knowledge, skills, and connections.
The Collective actively cultivates a safe, supportive, diverse, and equitable space for all its members.
The Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective revolves around weekly meetings within which members workshop projects. It doesn’t matter if a project is just starting development or all the way in the last stages of post-production. Members are free to present their project for feedback and support.
These weekly meetings might be one of the most intimate film networking events NYC has on tap. Work from members of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective has gone on to screen at many of the world’s best film festivals and has been distributed by companies like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, PBS, and more.
Of course, the single downside here is that the Collective’s weekly meetings are only open to current members. The Collective launches an open call for members each year.
Production Connect is a monthly networking event designed for the production community at large. Each event centers on a Q&A session with a selection of noteworthy artists and professionals. After, the event evolves into an open networking mixer, the perfect place to meet people outside of your current circle.
This combination of education and networking is a fantastic networking opportunity. It gives attendees ready-made conversation topics, as they discuss Q & A they just witnessed. And you know that you share common interests - a vital part of any networking event.
You can attend any Production Connect event with only a ticket purchase and an RSVP. Other groups, however, require membership and active involvement.
NewFest began 33 years ago as a film movement to empower and give visibility to the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ voices and experiences. Today, NewFest is New York’s largest presenter of LGBTQ+ film and media as well as the largest host of LGBTQ+ audiences in the city.
In other words, NewFest is one of the best sources of LGBTQ+ film networking events NYC offers.
The core of NewFest is their film festival held annually in mid-October. The yearly fest screens work from heavy-hitters like Cheryl Dunye, Barry Jenkins, Todd Haynes, Lisa Cholodenko, Luca Guadagnino, and many more.
However, NewFest isn’t limited to a single annual experience. The organization hosts events all year round. NewFest offers constant community support through frequent screenings, panels, and other programs.
Meetup is a social media platform for organizing activities, gatherings, and other events. The platform is organized by geography and areas of interest, making it the perfect place to hone in on some of the best film networking events NYC can muster.
Meetup allows users to search for groups and events that match their unique interests and preferences. The City Filmmakers & Actors Networking Group, for example, is a group explicitly devoted to bringing filmmakers and performers together for project collaboration. The group organizes regular meetings in Manhattan that are free to attend for any member that RSVPs.
Of course, Meetup events can be organized without groups too. If you find an empty slot in your calendar, a quick search on Meetup could connect you to all kinds of upcoming gatherings. On Meetup, you can find everything from short film competitions to entertainment industry dance parties.
Meetup events are usually lower cost and more casual than high-profile NYC film networking events. They’re the perfect place to forge personal connections with like-minded creators.
Facebook plays host to a wide variety of large, active filmmaking communities in New York. The platform is a useful tool for networking, communicating, or just staying in the know.
The proof is in the numbers. The NYC Filmmakers and Actors group maintains over 35,000 members and an active discussion board. Similarly, the New York Film/TV Production Network maintains over 29,000 members and a discussion board specifically focused on navigating the local industry.
Both groups offer a quick way to find some of the most specific film industry networking events NYC offers. They point members to local film festivals, panel discussions, workshops, viewing parties, and other gatherings designed to bring filmmakers together.
To be fair, user mileage can vary on a platform as large as Facebook. The key to identifying a solid source of NYC film networking events comes down to size and activity. Look for any group that boasts a strong, active community of users.
Formerly known as the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the Gotham Film & Media Institute is the largest non-profit organization for independent film and storytelling in the United States. The Gotham works to nurture filmmakers and storytellers by connecting them through some of the best film networking events NYC has to offer.
The Gotham Film & Media Institute is membership-based. Membership is always open and ranges from $40 to $250 per year. Members connect directly to industry influencers and an abundance of career-building resources. They have access to classes, mixers, screenings, and other useful NYC film networking events.
Some of the most fun film networking events NYC presents are feature and short film festivals. Whether you’re navigating a project’s festival run or just attending as a spectator, film festivals offer some of the best opportunities for meeting like-minded creators.
Including the aforementioned NewFest, NYC is home is several of the top film festivals in the U.S.
The famous Tribeca Festival headlines a packed summer season with screenings, panels, and much more. It’s joined by New York Asian Film Festival and the Brooklyn Film Festival. The city hosts an impressive follow-up with a fall tripleheader featuring the Bushwick Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and New York Indie Shorts Awards. In the spring, the non-stop cycle starts all over again with the New Directors/New Films festival.
Honestly, we’re barely scratching the surface here. As far as festivals go, there are enough NYC film networking events for every kind of filmmaker.
Eventbrite is an online platform for organizing and promoting local gatherings. Users can search the Eventbrite database for upcoming events of all kinds and even follow event organizers who match your interests. As a result, Eventbrite is the perfect tool for tapping into the many one-off film networking events NYC keeps under the radar.
You can search for events by keyword, time, and location. Eventbrite even allows you to search specifically for free events, ensuring that you only spend money if you want to.
When it comes to film industry networking events, NYC always has something going on. It is, after all, the city that never sleeps. With a little research, Eventbrite is a perfect tool for finding the right events for you.
If your alma mater is within the city, you’re in luck. Being part of an alumni network grants direct access to a body of established industry professionals in one of the most entertainment-savvy cities in the world.
For alumni film industry networking events, NYC is the cream of the crop.
However, non-alumni shouldn’t count themselves out. There are plenty of university-sponsored NYC film networking events that are either open to the public or open via invitation. Because it’s a major hub for students and professionals, even major universities not based in NYC sometimes host worthwhile events in the city.
For example, many universities offer short-term educational programs. They’re a much smaller investment than a full degree that will still grant enrollees access to a broad range of networking resources.
The most effective film networking events NYC boasts might just have nothing to do with film. Making friends over a shared interest is more personal than simply ”networking.” To help you out, New York is home to several groups designed to bring people together from all kinds of industries.
Ellevate, for example, is an organization of ambitious and supportive professional women. The group favors authentic relationships and is dedicated to helping women advance their careers together.
For something even further afield, check out the New York Social Network. This group is focused on planning fun activities for small groups in and around NY. They bring people from all kinds of industries together over murder mystery parties, historical tours, beach days, and rooftop parties.
Similarly, you can find all kinds of low-cost non-filmmaking events on Meetup. Whether you’re looking for a pick-up basketball league or a sunset picnic in the park, Meetup organizers host events for every taste and type.
Unlike most film industry networking events NYC offers, non-film events allow professionals to meet without pressure. With a little luck, you’ll make as many friends as you do connections.
A complete list of film networking events NYC offers would be massive, but the above highlights should get you started. When deciding which events to attend, first consider your own needs and personal preferences.
The events that best match your personality will likely also be the events that help you advance your professional goals.
Just as important as knowing the best film industry networking events NYC hosts is your networking strategy. Before participating in any event, take the time to figure out how to network in a way that works for you.
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