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Eric Lavallée (IONCINEMA) & Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail) Launch The AIFAs


January 15, 2014


Park City, UT – On the eve of the 30th Sundance Film Festival and 20th Slamdance Film Festival, filmmaker and’s Michael Tully and’s Eric Lavallée announce their partnership on a new endeavor: the American Independent Film Awards (AIFAs).

Since the rise of the mini-majors in the early 1990s, the proper definition of the term “independent” has been a source of controversy. Informed by this polemic, the AIFAs are intended as an annual celebration of a distinctive category of micro-budget films, which honors and celebrates the artisans who work in front of and behind the camera. In doing so, it aims to forge stronger ties within this community of filmmakers as well as with the viewing public.

“There are way too many awards shows as it is, yet Eric and I have become frustrated with the way truly excellent work is marginalized every year simply because its creators don’t have the money to play with the big boys. We feel that the time has come for us to give birth to an annual celebration of low-budget filmmaking  in which the decisions aren’t dictated by dollars; they’re driven by our love for these movies — plain and simple.”

“I’m convinced that there is gap in the award seasons tapestry when it comes to honoring and celebrating truly independent film. Joining forces with the film obsessed Michael Tully, a staple of the indie scene, ensures that the project will get off on the right foot. With a lot of elbow grease and industry support, I’m looking forward to the challenges  of the year ahead,” says Lavallée.

The inaugural awards ceremony will take place in the first quarter of 2015. Further announcements will be made over the coming weeks and months.

Stay tuned. Stay independent.

Michael Tully is the director of Cocaine Angel (2006), Silver Jew (2007), Septien (2011), and Ping Pong Summer (2014).  Since 2008, he has been the head writer/editor of, a website devoted to championing ambitious cinema.

Eric Lavallée is the founder and editor-in-chief of the indie-focused website (since 2000). He holds a BFA in Film Studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served as a Narrative Competition jury member at the SXSW Film Festival.

Contact: [email protected]

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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