With its burgeoning coffee bars, bay-to-table cuisine and even a faux speak-easy, the North Fork is gaining a reputation as the epicurean equivalent of Brooklyn. Noah Doyle, however, envisions it more like Park City, Utah, home of the Sundance Film Festival. And he’s hoping that his North Fork TV Festival, which runs Sept. 7-9 at the Greenport Theatre, will accomplish for independent TV projects what Sundance has done for indie movies — provide a huge showcase where they can get bought for distribution.
“You can literally count on one hand the number of festivals solely focused on scripted episodic television,” says Doyle, 36, a Manhattan financial manager and founder of the festival. There’s SeriesFest in Denver; ATX in Austin, Texas; the New York Television Festival (held in Manhattan each fall) and the recently announced Tribeca TV Festival, debuting Sept. 22; and Los Angeles-based ITVFest. And while “lots of festivals have a TV division,” Doyle notes, “TV is not the sole focus.”
It is at North Fork, which heads into its second year. “In a way,” Doyle qualifies, “this is really our first year. Last year was just half a day, and planned in only four weeks. This year is the beginning of our putting together an entire festival atmosphere, with more parties, panels and events.”
The premiere festival had no sponsors, whereas this year’s has more than three dozen, including local wineries and breweries, several seafood concerns, JetBlue, the publicity firm PMK*BNC, Suffolk County and News 12 Long Island.
Though raised in Commack, Doyle chose Greenport as the festival site since he and his wife, Lauren, “have a place in Greenport” and he was enchanted by the area’s “creative and artistic atmosphere.”
Festival artistic director Jerry Foley, the former director and supervising producer of “Late Show With David Letterman,” calls it “the perfect place for this to happen, since the North Fork has really, in the last couple of years, emerged as a hip alternative to the South Shore.”
Foley and Food Film Fest’s Seth Unger, the festival’s producer, were recruited this year to help advance the event from the DIY, let’s-put-on-a-show spirit of its inaugural outing. Guests and panelists include series creators/showrunners Sarah Treem of Showtime’s “The Affair,” largely shot and set in Montauk and Amagansett; Janine Sherman Barrois of TNT’s nail-salon comedy-drama “Claws”; and Christina Wayne of Showtime’s 1970s-set L.A. drama “I’m Dying Up Here.”
Other guests include Julie Klausner, creator and star of Hulu’s “Difficult People”; legendary TV writer-director-producer Bill Persky (“The Dick Van Dyke Show”); and “Law & Order” / “Sex and the City” star Chris Noth, who’ll receive the inaugural Canopy Award for a body of work that “embodies the independent spirit of persistence, integrity and collaboration.”
Indie pilots include the world premiere of “Greenport,” a comedy-drama about an autistic kid in that town; and the New York premieres of the slacker Grim Reaper comedy “Death Lives”; the prison drama “Up North”; and “Shoot Me Nicely,” a comedy about a disgraced fashion photographer. The last show was coproduced by Nassau County Film Office director and industry professional Debra Markowitz, who helped land veteran stars Linda Hamilton and William Sadler for the cast. TV personality Cat Greenleaf hosts the opening gala, supporting the Billion Oyster Project, designed to help restore the food-giving aquaculture of New York Harbor
Finally, there’s the NoFo Loud Whisper Award, given to worthy, under-the-radar TV series going into their second seasons, but which, Foley says, “don’t have the public awareness we think they deserve.”
And in a way, that also describes the North Fork TV Festival.
North Fork TV Festival
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 and Friday, Sept. 8, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, Greenport Theatre, 211 Front St.
INFO $25-$200; go to northfork.tv for schedule and ticket information