Dogfish Pictures founder James Belfer and COO Michelle Soffen have founded Dogfish Accelerator, a three-month program geared to training would-be film producers in how to get their filmmaking ducks in a row.
Tell us a little more about the program.
James Belfer: It’s three months in New York. We give each film $18,000, office space for the program, research, tech companies with apps that can cut costs or make things more efficient. And we have tons of mentorships, from industry leaders to veteran distributors, anyone willing to help cultivate a strong culture and community for indie film and help the teams going through our program.
Why focus on producers?
Michelle Soffen: When we say producer, we mean the entrepreneurial leader of the team. Actors are producers in a lot of ways, and the right actor with the right mindset is a good applicant for us.
Belfer: There isn’t a strong business approach being given to [indie] film ventures, so it’s kind of hurting everyone. The [films] that ended up being successful are the ones where the producer was very good at setting everything up. And the failures were largely due to how the producer set things up.
Who would be a good candidate?
Belfer: People with the entrepreneurial gene willing to create a business around the idea they want to create. People who have an extreme passion for their dream. We want people who, if they don’t make it, will feel like they can never go on. We want people so impassioned that they will literally do whatever it takes.