American filmmakers screened 11 projects to European sales companies and distributors, at the first edition of the event running alongside Wroclaw’s American Film Festival.

The winner of the top prize at the inaugural Gotham In Progress is Not Waving But Drowning, directed by Devyn Waitt and produced by Nicole Emanuele for New York-based White Horse Pictures.

The award is worth $60,000 for post production services.

The film is about two best friends in a small Florida town whose relationship changes when one girl moves to New York City.

The jury also gave a special mention to Now, Forager by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin.

Juror Sydney Levine said: “We were very impressed with the quality and professionalism of all the films.”

In addition, Monternia awarded DI services to Patricia Benoit for her film Stones In the Sun.

Gotham in Progress ran alongside the second American Film Festival in Wroclaw, run by the New Horizons Association that organises the larger New Horizons Festival in July. To organise Gotham In Progress, New Horizons joined forces with Paris- and New York-based Black Rabbit Films.

The aim of the event is to introduce US indie films to european distributors, sales companies, co-producers and festival programmers, at a stage when feature films aren’t fully finished. All films will be able to screen finished at 2012’s American Film Festival if they choose to do so.

Seven films screened as feature works in progress, including the above three as well as Lex Sidon’s Grand Street, Amy Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine, Tim Kirkman’s Tan Lines, and James Clauer’s When The World’s On Fire. The initiative also showed four shorter presentations of trailers or footage: Anthony Meindl’s Birds of a Feather, Andrew Semans’ Nancy, Please, William Sullivan’s Percival’s Big Night, and Zak Mulligan and Rodrigo Lopresti’s I’m Not Me.

Attending companies included the likes of Artificial Eye, Wild Bunch, TrustNordisk, Soda Pictures, HanWay, LevelK, Urban Distribution International, Goldcrest, as well as representatives from Berlinale’s Forum and Cannes Critics Week.

Deals didn’t seem imminent at this year’s launch event, but attending sales companies told Screen that they found GiP valuable for introductions with US filmmakers. Attendees said they were impressed at the level of organisation in the event’s first year, and hope to see it flourish in subsequent editions.

In turn, the US producers and directors attending said that it was extremely valuable being introduced to European industry representatives in such an intimate setting, and they were glad to get direct feedback while films were still in post.

Jay Thames, Los Angeles-based executive producer of Tim Kirkman’s Tan Lines, told Screen that GiP “is like a one-stop shop, you can get feedback from various European territories in one place. And filmmakers can make positive choices based on this feedback. For our film its especially relevant as we know we have more cutting and post work to do.”

Ryan Zacarias, producer of Nashville, Tenn.-set drama When The World’s On Fire, said: “To exist in the European market is valuable. As a producer of arthouse films I’m interested in what Europeans think of our films.”

Screen International was a media partner of the event alongside Festival Scope and Filmpro, and sponsors were Mac’tari, XDC, Alvernia Studios, Studio L’Equipe, the city of Wroclaw and the Polish Film Institute.

To reflect its US-wide scope, the name of the event is likely to be changed to Indies in Progress next year.