Dogfish Accelerator Launches the First Business Development Lab for Independent Film

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New Venture Turns Movie Producers into Entrepreneurs Via Capital, Mentors and Innovation

“The new age of independent filmmaking will be written by film producers who know how to combine artful storytelling with business acumen," said James Belfer, co-founder and CEO of Dogfish Accelerator.

Dogfish Accelerator, the first accelerator program for film producers, announced today the launch of its business fast-track program for film producers. Founded by film industry innovators James Belfer and Michelle Soffen of Dogfish Pictures, this new venture empowers production teams to produce better and more lucrative movies by providing access to capital, business mentors and a network of resources.

“Dogfish Accelerator turns film producers into successful entrepreneurs,” says James Belfer, co-founder and CEO of Dogfish Accelerator. Film productions are entrepreneurial ventures that are driven by the desire to tell a powerful story. And, good stories are in demand. However, film production teams often don’t have the right business model. They need access to business, finance, HR and legal resources to turn their creative works into successful ventures.

The first class of film producers will begin their three-month intensive program in New York City this summer.

“At the end of the day, James and I are doing this because we love independent film and want to be a part of the solution to the many problems our industry faces,” added Michelle Soffen, co-founder and managing director of Dogfish Accelerator. “While there are no quick fixes we do know that the only way to address these hurdles is as a community.”

Belfer founded Dogfish Pictures in 2009 to finance and produce independent feature films. This year the company’s film Prince Avalanche premiered yesterday afternoon at the Sundance Film Festival. Last year, Belfer was noted in the article “Sundance: 10 Producers to Keep Watching.”

Independent Film Advancements Based on Empowerment and Collaboration
Applying best practices from the tech industry, Dogfish Accelerator offers a combination of funding, business training, coaching and access to a large network of resources and vendor perks.

Each Dogfish Accelerator Program participant gets US $18,000 as a team in seed funding along with free office space, production resources from Dogfish’s partners, and most importantly, access to industry mentors and investor groups who provide coaching for business strategy and team management.

The accelerator program will be funded by the Dogfish Pictures Film Fund II. To be launched later this year, this new fund will provide equity financing to independent filmmakers who have demonstrated their ability to make creative films while using sound business practices. In addition, a portion of the Fund will be made available to provide follow-on equity financing to Dogfish Accelerator teams that successfully complete the program.

Mentorship is a vital aspect of the Dogfish Accelerator program, which promotes openness and community building. The company connects production teams with experts from all parts of the film industry, including finance, production, distribution, marketing and sales. In addition, Dogfish Accelerator is bringing in innovative thinkers from outside of the film industry, such as technology and branding experts, to stimulate new approaches.

Building Better Business Models for Film
Through this process, production teams are empowered to create better business models that are streamlined by the latest technologies and based on community engagement. The Dogfish Accelerator staff will oversee the relationships between the mentors and teams to ensure the best resources are leveraged for each production.

“The Dogfish Accelerator program is an innovative approach to injecting storytelling with strong business sense. Never before has the mandate for artists to embrace entrepreneurial practices been as strong as today. The changes of the last five years require new approaches to all aspects of cinema culture. Dogfish will supply the tools, resources and mentorship to balance creativity with business goals -- how awesome is that?!,” says Ted Hope, executive director of the San Francisco Film Society and co-founder of Double Hope Films.

Technology-Driven Innovation
One of Dogfish Accelerator’s technology partners is Seed&Spark, the first end-to-end solution for independent films to fund, produce, and distribute their films using the power of the crowd.

"Dogfish Accelerator is a brilliant acknowledgement that every film IS a startup, and startups benefit greatly from seed capital and industry insight. Providing such strong business fundamentals for independent filmmakers empowers creative teams with the capacity to take film to places it hasn't been before. I think we'll see filmmakers producing edgier material with greater confidence AND better return to investors than ever before," said Emily Best, Founder and CEO, Seed&Spark.

The first Dogfish Accelerator program will take place in summer 2013 in New York City. The company is now accepting submissions by film production teams for this three-month intensive program. Producer teams will be picked by mentors from all vertices of production.

“The new age of independent filmmaking will be written by film producers who know how to combine artful storytelling with business acumen,” added Belfer.

For more information and submissions for the Dogfish Accelerator program, please go to and

Dogfish Accelerator at the Innovators’ Brunch at Sundance Film Festival
Together with Seed&Spark and Nice Dissolve, Dogfish Accelerator is hosting an Innovators’ Brunch during the Sundance Film Festival to discuss the meaning of true independence to filmmakers. The companies will share insights on how the film industry can innovate to get more great films made which succeed financially. The event will take place at Cisero’s at 306 Main Street, Park City, UT 84060 on January 22, 2013 from 11 2 p.m. RSVP at hello(at)

About Dogfish Accelerator
Dogfish Accelerator is the first accelerator program for film producers. It offers seed financing, mentorship, perks, resources, and office space to teams of producers who are looking to develop their business model prior to the investment phase of a film. The accelerator aims to make the creative process easier by taking care of the business early on. For more information, go to and, or follow us on Twitter at @dogfishaccel.

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