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6th NY Television Festival Concludes

The New York Television Festival (NYTVF) just completed its sixth annual week of screening the best of independent "small screen" pilots, with a few network premieres thrown in to raise the celebrity visibility level.   

NYTVF had been known as the vagabond of local creative festivals, changing its venue every couple of years, but now appears to have found homes at the Tribeca Cinema and the SVA Theatre in Chelsea.    

Pilot screenings were held at the venerable Tribeca Cinema while panels, network premieres, special events and most receptions were held at the SVA Theatre.   

Although the limited party space at SVA (a/k/a the lobby) left much to be desired, particularly when compared to last year's airplane hangar-like space at New World Stages, NYTVF proved once again to be a successful, inspiring and fun event, with a number of informative panels plus one full day devoted to program development and another to the future of online video.   

In addition to the 46 pilots screened (all from the USA except for one from Canada and another from the UK), three televison pilots from Brazil were shown at this year's festival as part of the NYTVF PassPort Program.   

The festival opened with the red carpet premiere of the new ABC-TV cop series Detroit 1-8-7 starring Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), who appeared at the post-screening Q&A session along with series executive producers David Zabel and Jason Richman.   

Other red carpet premieres at this year's NYTVF included the offbeat (and hysterically funny) IFC series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret starring David Cross (Arrested Development); BBC America's Luther starring Idris Elba (The Wire); and the closing night premiere of Fox's Running Wilde starring Will Arnett (Arrested Development) and Keri Russell (Felicity.)

Eight members of the Running Wilde cast plus co-creator Mitch Hurwitz were on hand for the Q&A. Interestingly, Hurwitz revealed that the new show has been criticized in the media for not being enough like Arrested Development, but has also displeased some Fox executives for being too much like that classic sitcom of the early 2000s.   

Other highlights of the festival included:

  • the annual screening of NBC's Short Cuts
  • a "diversity film showcase" of nine short films made by "culturally diverse" production crews
  • actor/comic Harry Shearer (The Simpsons, This Is Spinal Tap) at an event honoring the third anniversary of the digital network My Damn Channel
  • a hilarious, although not particularly informative, panel of head writers employed by David Letterman, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon and Steven Colbert and hosted by the witty Jason Sudeikis of Saturday Night Live   

On Saturday night at the SVA Theatre officials of the festival, including founder and executive director Terrence Gray, announced the winners of the Independent Pilot Competition, NYTVF People’s Choice Award, FOX-NYTVF Comedy Script Contest, and the IFC Out of the Box and MTV Animation awards.    

The festival joined with its corporate partners to announce the winners of the Fox-NYTVF Comedy Script Contest, offering a $25,000 prize and a development deal to Austen Earl and Luke Cunningham for Red Delicious. IFC’s Out of the Box award winners Matt Yeager and Jeff Skowron received a $25,000 development deal for their pilot Greg and Donny.   

The Independent Pilot Competition winners were selected from 42 independent television projects created by writers and producers from the USA, Canada and the UK. MTV presented its MTV Animation Award to 9 AM Meeting, which was accompanied by a $5,000 development deal, USA Network presented its Characters Welcome award for outstanding character creation to the title character in The Horrible, Terrible Misadventures of David Atkins, AETN honored Til Death Do Us Parts with the Best Nonscripted or Alternative Pilot award, and the third annual NYTVF People’s Choice Award, voted on by audience members, was presented to Illuminati Brothers.   

Awards were also presented for Best Comedy Pilot, Best Drama Pilot, Best Web Series Pilot, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Non-scripted Host, Best Writing and Best Director.

“We congratulate all the artists whose work was featured at the 2010 New York Television Festival and send our gratitude to our partners, sponsors and all the attendees who help support the independent television movement,” said executive director Gray. “The New York Television Festival enjoyed unprecedented success in 2010, in terms of submissions, attendance and industry recognition, and it will continue to help elevate writers and producers creating content for TV and digital platforms,” he said.  

The NYTVF is supported by sponsors including People’s Choice, MSN, and WME Entertainment. Official Network Sponsors for the 2010 festival included ABC, FOX, NBC, IFC and ION Television. The NYTVF works in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of New York City.    

The NYTVF was founded in 2005 as the industry’s first recognized independent television festival, providing a platform to elevate the work of artists creating for the small screen. Held annually each fall in New York City, the birthplace of modern television, the festival unites artists, executives, industry figures, press and fans together in one forum to celebrate the medium and to help shape its future.

Along with the Independent Pilot Competition, the festival features panel discussions, network premiere screenings, and other special events designed to honor television as an institution and as an art form.

A full descriptions of all pilots and a complete listing of 2010 NYTVF award winners is available online at


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