More independent films are being made than ever before. The best of these are presented at Film Festivals but the vast majority never reach a cinema for public release. The web provides a radical means for creative artists to have their works seen by their public, nationally and trans-nationally. Uploading films onto the web provides a direct contact between the artists who place their works on the web and their public who can view their works from anywhere in the world with a broadband connection. In other words, the web is in principle the ideal cultural interface between the creative independent filmmakers and a public seeking to view their films.

The increasing quantity of content on the web has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in quality. The IFTC believes that the dearth of quality on the web is due in part to the absence of a guide to where quality can be found. Guides are an essential element in the promotion of culture. They are the means by which the public can find what is best, and the means by which the best are recognised. The IFTC seeks to address this issue by creating a Guide which offers a unique solution to finding quality amidst overwhelming quantity and by this means to assist creative independent filmmakers to take root on the web.

The IFTC considers it essential that the Guide does not prioritise one language over others or one region of the world over the rest. For this reason, it is a prime objective of the launch that it should be a simultaneous coordinated launch in several languages, thereby providing a concrete signal that the Guide is open to all languages and all cultures.

To prepare for the launch of the Guide, the IFTC will be organising a series of workshops with young talented filmmakers and other industry professionals to explore what is hampering the web from becoming a major medium for the creation and dissemination of cultural products. We shall investigate the problems of promotion (e.g. how can the public find the films of talent amongst the vastness of mediocrity on the web?), commercialisation (e.g. how can artists best commercialise their films on the web?), and intercultural dialogue (e.g, how can artists best render their films accessible to other languages?)

For each language, the workshops will be hosted within a prominent film school with participants composed of young independent filmmakers, staff and students from the film school, film critics, film festival representatives, film producers/distributors, and IFTC representative(s). The workshops will discuss the problems (promotion, remuneration, copyright, accessibility in other languages, adverse effects on cross-over to other forms of distribution, etc.) and potential benefits (e.g. direct access between artist and public, world-wide distribution, etc.) associated with uploading quality independent films on the web. At the conclusion of each workshop a report will be submitted to the IFTC with suggested actions for promoting the dissemination of independent quality films on the web including their accessibility in other languages: and a list of such films which have been (or will shortly be) uploaded on the web.

After receipt of the reports, the management committee of the IFTC will convene a conference attended by representatives of all the languages and IT experts to launch a multi-language web based Guide to the best independent movies on the web. (N.B. this is NOT a hosting site but a Guide to where the films can be seen wherever they are hosted on the web.) Once the Guide attains a critical mass of cultural products and a solid reputation for quality and integrity, the management committee of the IFTC will organise national and international festivals to celebrate the very best of cultural content on the web. This will present an opportunity to salute the artists who are featured in the Guide and a means to promote the web as a source of cultural content. Such festivals will also be a celebration of cultural diversity and exchange.