Made In NY Media Center Members Demo New Tech

Three years after it first won the request for proposal to launch the Made In NY Media Center promoting companies and projects working at the intersection of arts and technology, the Independent Filmmaker Project is celebrating its first anniversary with its second demo day.

With $3 million in support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the New York Economic Development Corp., and the Independent Filmmaker Project, and private partners like Verizon, Hearst Corp., and Illycaffe, the Made In NY Media Center has put together a second cohort of companies for its latest Demo Day.

“Basically the idea is to incentivize talent to stay in New York,” says Joana Vicente, executive director of the IFP and Made In NY Media Center.

For over 30 years, the IFP has been working with filmmakers to get financiers and distributors for independent films; as content moved across technology platforms, the nonprofit wanted to keep up with the times and diversified into providing incubator-like services for multimedia projects (and some businesses) operating at the intersection of art and commerce, according to Vicente.

The group received $1.5 million from the city government and partners to renovate a space in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn and has another $1.5 million to operate the center for the next three years. The group also has foundation grants and private sponsors providing financing and services.

Since its opening, the Media Center has held more than 100 classes and 300 events serving 25,000 people in its classrooms, media gallery, theater, cafe, incubator and community member spaces, according to a statement.

Today’s demonstrating companies include Hack it Back, an organization focusing on promoting gender equality in media through education and collaboration; Snakt, a mobile-first social video platform, akin to Vine, which also enables stacked videos to be linked into longer clips; Cannabis Wire, a news site that aims to educate users on legalization of cannabis; Playmatics, an interactive digital comics company; and finally, a mobile-focused publishing app that lets users search and read articles from publishers’ archives online.

“We’re interested in what’s next,” says Tom Constabile, the Associate Director of Corporate Strategy and Development at¬†Verizon Ventures, of the partnership with the Made In NY Media Center. For Constabile and Verizon, what’s next in the context of what the Media Lab is doing consists primarily of an interest in augmented reality and other next generation technologies at the intersection of media and technology.

Primarily, the lab is one window into how customers are taking advantage of Verizon’s network, according to Constabile. The firm has not made an investment in a business or project that has come out of the center, and although it might, it’s still a little bit beyond the core focus of the firm, which is making strategic investments around network and distribution technologies.

Primarily, Verizon is focused on “technology interfaces, and the network behind them,” says Constabile. “Having that network be reliable and available.”

Photo via Flickr user Billie Ward.