Chris Noth receives Canopy Award at second annual North Fork TV Festival

Christopher McDonald and Chris Noth at the North Fork TV Festival.

Mr. Big came out to celebrate the small screen in Greenport Friday evening.

Chris Noth, whose Sex and the City character was referred to only as “Big” until the series finale, received the first “Canopy Award” at the second annual North Fork Tv Festival at the Greenport Theatre.

The event, now in its second year, is a showcase for independently produced television pilots in search of a distribution platform. It features three days of pilot screenings, panel discussions and parties.

Noth’s award was handed to him by friend and fellow actor Christopher McDonald.

“I think this is the future,” Noth said. “What [festival founder] Noah Doyle is doing out here, it’s the perfect setting out here.”

Friday night saw the screening of the independent television short “Shoot Me, Nicely,” a comedy about a down on his luck New York City photographer trying to make a comeback. The show featured several laugh out loud moments, including a hilarious and crude sight gag involving male anatomy in the opening scene.

TV festivals, like Seriesfest in Denver or ATX TV Festival in Austin, are becoming increasingly important avenues for networks to find new content, according to Variety. Seriesfest is how “Shoot Me, Nicely” caught the attention of North Fork TV Festival founder Noah Doyle and creative director Jerry Foley, said the pilot’s creator Elias Plagianos.

“When you’re an independent filmmaker, you have to have champions,” Plagianos said following the event. “[A TV festival] gives you validity and gets you noticed. There are so many voices out there.”

The night also gave a peak behind the curtain of producing an independent television pilot. When an audience member asked Plagianos about the show’s budget, the director said the total cost came in at about $23,000. A studio had estimated the show would cost about $1.2 million to produce.

Plagianos noted he was able to keep costs low by serving as writer, director, editor, location scout and everything in between

“They were probably under the ridiculous assumption that you were paying the actors,” quipped Jackie Martling, best known as Howard Stern’s former sidekick, who starred in the pilot.

Greenport Theatre was filled on Friday evening, with many locals in attendance.

“I like to support any new cultural thing that comes to Greenport,” said part-time Greenport resident David Bauer. “And the more television and film that gets shot out here, the better.”

Eileen Kapell, a Greenport real estate office manager and the wife of former mayor David Kapell, said she came out to the event with moderate expectations and thought the night was “fantastic.”

“It’s a fabulous idea,” Ms. Kapell said. “I love pilots. You get a little synopsis of what’s to come.”

The festival continues today at the Greenport Theatre. Visit northforktv.com for more details.