Newark Filmmaker Launches Streaming Service for Indie Movies

Kenneth Gifford’s new digital platform, Vault, brings attention to underrepresented talent.

vault

Filmmaker Kenneth Gifford Courtesy of Miles Maker

Netflix may not be cowering just yet, but give Vault time, says Kenneth Gifford, founder of the new streaming service for indie productions—most with microbudgets.

“The films we put on Vault are made by people who put blood, sweat and tears into their work, who deserve to get some return on their investments,” says Gifford, also the founder of the Newark International Film Festival and former director of the Newark Office of Film and Television. 

Gifford launched Vault in Newark in November after a lot of sleepless pandemic nights thinking about underrepresented filmmakers, especially local ones. “I was on the team that brought Cadillac Records to Newark in 2008, and I realized I was the only Newarker working on the production,” says Gifford, 46, who was an assistant on that film.

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As a native, he knew there were filmmakers churning out quality material all around him. Outlets to showcase the work, though, were nonexistent. “I really felt it was time to step out on a limb and do something for independent creatives. Their interests weren’t being served by any of the existing networks.”

Vault doesn’t limit its content to Newark or even New Jersey. Among the 1,000 shorts, music videos, movies and documentaries that subscribers can view from the library of 6,000 is a film from Nigeria, Agwaetiti Obiuto, as well as homegrown fare like The Unemployed Comedians of New Jersey. Still, Gifford says Garden State filmmakers have an advantage when submitting.

“My first goal is to represent my city and my state to the world,” he says.

Subscriptions run $5.95 a month; to date, more than 3,000 subscribers are on board.

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