Meet a NYFA Artist: Sean Flanagan

Meet a NYFA Artist: Sean Flanagan

NYFA speaks with 2010 Fiscally Sponsored Filmmaker Sean Flanagan.

NYFA: Hi Sean, can you tell us what are you working on and/or what’s coming up for your team?

SF: While our team is applying for grants, we are also at work to launch a series of low budget short films that will further elevate our names and notoriety by showcasing what our crew is capable of doing creatively, technically and with little money. These shorts are being fundraised through IndieGoGo and will be used as a platform to explore DVD sales and VOD that will further influence how we bring Killdeer (our NYFA project) to our audience.

NYFA: What kinds of resources are you most in need of right now as an artist/organization?

SF: Unfortunately, our answer is money. We have developed a very tight story and been met with exceptionally warm response in the creative and technical aspects. Our team has worked together numerous times and developed a terrific rapport. It seems that everything has clicked for us – except for finances. While this is a hard economic period, we are creative people foremost and the concept of raising considerable money is one that has been a larger task than we had imagined. Our film is also set in North Dakota, which is one of the few states with tax incentives that help independent filmmaking so considerably, which has led to the occasional feeling of an uphill battle despite the positive response we do receive.

NYFA: What is your relationship to nature?

SF: Growing up in the suburbs, I spent countless hours outdoors, playing. During the school year I would get off the bus and immediately travel to a friend’s house where we would play games and make believe outdoors until our respective dinner times. During the summer I would attend a morning camp and spend the afternoons exploring the vast woods behind my parent’s home. This period of imagination and exploration was a large cornerstone to my finding my calling as a writer, as it stimulated my need to create worlds and fun for myself, not rely solely on toys or existing materials. Having been in New York City for college and since, I have developed a deeper appreciation for how much nature did impact my life. It was also during a writing retreat to North Dakota in 2009 that I felt cleansed of the NYC chaos and the concept for Killdeer came to me. The Badlands have become the most tranquil and meaningful resource for clearing my mind to focus on my projects and passions.

NYFA: Where did you grow up and how did it affect your work, if at all?

SF: I would say that where has mattered less than how. Coming from divorced parents, I was able to receive what felt like double the attention. I was encouraged to watch a variety of films as well as read constantly and to live an active social life. My mother encouraged my writing and creativity while ensuring I was focused and sharp in school, while my father introduced me to many films and outdoors experiences that would shape my creative process. I was also given the freedom to take this wealth of culture and experience out into the world and apply it as I understood, which led me to finding like minded souls through my years in school and the workforce. I may not have excelled in all fields at school, but having been encouraged to find my passion at a very young age, I have remained sharp and focused ever since.

NYFA: How has The NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship impacted you and your team?

SF: Our team applied to NYFA on a whim, because before being accepted by their Sponsorship program, it never dawned on us that there were people and groups out there that would care enough about the arts to lend itself to the community in such a way. We felt like we needed to go door to door with a tin can – or be bought out by a Hollywood studio. Having their sponsorship now has opened a world of possibilities outside conventional fundraising and support and made us feel like we were not alone in this long, and often difficult, process. With the name and reputation of NYFA, people have been more responsive and supportive to our cause; it seems that the NYFA logo truly is a gold standard that proves the community has risen up to support strong ideas and committed artists.


Killdeer is a non-fiction film that seeks out the last remaining vestiges of the Old West. Set in the Badlands of North Dakota, a group of hunters have made an annual tradition of roaring into the remote town of Killdeer to go bird hunting. Scattered throughout the plains are Cowboys, Native Americans, Baby Boomers, Wayward Children and Oil Men looking to keep alive the old American way of life.

Amy Aronoff
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