Independent Filmmaker Project Minnesota (IFPMN) announced today that it will be formally changing its name to FilmNorth, unveiling the new branding at its September 14th Gala, celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary.

The Gala will also feature two awards. Actor/Director John Carroll Lynch will receive the organization’s inaugural FilmNorth Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement, innovation and artistry; and Director/Producer/Programmer/Educator Craig Laurence Rice will receive the inaugural Gordon Parks Trailblazer Award, presented by FilmNorth and SoulTouch Produtions. The Award honors the memory and life’s work of award-winning photographer, filmmaker and humanitarian Gordon Parks (1912-2006). It is chosen by FilmNorth staff and Board member Robin Hickman and is presented to a film artist whose career choices show a vision for diversity, equity and inclusion.

“After careful consideration, IFPMN’s Board of Directors agreed that the organization’s 30th anniversary offered the perfect opportunity to rebrand IFPMN as FilmNorth,” said Executive Director Andrew Peterson. “Of course, we’ll maintain our close relationships to all IFP chapters and Film Independent—but, like Film Independent in Los Angeles (which used to be IFP West), we felt it was time that our name more accurately reflected the unique place we occupy in the national independent film community.”

FilmNorth’s two inaugural awards both highlight the region’s role in creating distinctive independent films:

While actor and director John Carroll Lynch hails from Denver, Colorado, he spent many years in the Guthrie Theater’s acting company. While there, he was cast as ‘Norm,’ opposite Frances McDormand’s ‘Marge,’ in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning “Fargo.” Since then, he has worked steadily in film, television and theater, playing an impressive range of characters. With over fifty film credits, Lynch has been directed by Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, John Lee Hancock, Mark Ruffalo, Miguel Arteta, Pablo Larrain, Mick Jackson, Karyn Kusama, Albert Brooks and Seth Macfarlane, among others. This October, Lynch’s directorial debut, the independent feature film LUCKY (starring Harry Dean Stanton, Beth Grant and David Lynch) will open in theaters nationwide.

Minneapolis-based Craig Laurence Rice is a long established educator, diverse entertainment executive, entrepreneur and an award-winning producer and director internationally recognized for his distinguished career in the film, video and television industries. He was also Executive Producer / Director for the feature length documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks for HBO, which was nominated for three Emmy awards, and an NAACP Image Award. Additional credits include creative roles on several feature-length films including Graffiti Bridge, Purple Rain, Brother From Another Planet and Joe Somebody. As a commercial award-winning director, Rice has helmed commercials for clients such as Amoco, Nike, Target, Kraft, United Way, McDonald’s, and the Partnership for Drug Free America. He has also directed dozens of music videos with artists including Prince, Mavis Staples, Mazarati, Patti LaBelle, and Sounds of Blackness.

The 30th anniversary Gala will take place at FilmNorth, Lake Monster Brewing, Paikka and the adjacent courtyard (550 Vandalia Street, Saint Paul). Entertainment by Joe Mechtenberg (7-8pm) and DJ Chama (8:30-11). The Awards will be presented at 8pm. Tickets may be purchased at

A special online fundraising auction will take place September 7-22 at www.biddingforgood/ifpmn and features a variety of items including house seats to the hit Broadway play “Hamilton,” a ticket package to the Sundance Film Festival, festival passes to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival and Twin Cities Film Festival, a membership to the Walker Art Center Film Club, and more.

Catering by Chow. The Asian inspired street food eatery will formally open in the Minneapolis North Loop neighborhood November 2017. It is run by Minnesota film industry veterans Julie Hartley, Ami Francis and Greg Cummins along with partners Martin Olander and John Krattenmaker.