Film Festival Alliance

Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Art House Convergence full schedule is now live, and you don’t want to miss this year’s event. We’ve programmed the sessions based on your interests and are commingled across the conference. We’ve pulled out some of the festival-specific programming below.

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Festival-Specific Programming

Welcome Keynote
Tuesday, January 20 | 9:00 – 9:50 a.m.

New to the Conference? New to the Art House and Festival Forum world? Come meet some of your fellow colleagues in this informal session about how to get the most out of your four days of the 2015 Art House Convergence.
With Russ Collins (Michigan Theater), Stephanie Silverman (Belcourt Theater) and Jody Arlington (IFP Festival Forum).

Festival Roundtables
Tuesday, January 20 | 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Join your peers at one of the structured Roundtable discussions. Every day, topics will be discussed at multiple tables, each moderated by a member of the Festival Forum. Notes will be shared among all Art House Convergence attendees. Bring your best tips and suggestions, as well as the tough issues you want addressed.

•  Social Media and Guerrilla Marketing
•  Tech and Projection Issues
•  Board Activation and Staff Motivation

Festivals and Oscars: A Dynamic Duo
Tuesday, January 20 | 3:00 – 3:50 p.m.

Festivals have become the default distribution model for most independent films. Learn how the Oscars, together with key events, help to extend the buzz for many films—and how your event can benefit from the national exposure.
With Tom Oyer, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Festival Roundtables
Tuesday, January 20 | 4:00 – 4:50 p.m.
Join your peers at one of the structured Roundtable discussions. Every day, topics will be discussed at multiple tables, each moderated by a member of the Festival Forum. Notes will be shared among all Art House Convergence attendees. Bring your best tips and suggestions, as well as the tough issues you want addressed.

•  Ticketing Solutions
•  Big Events with Small Budgets
•  Mastering the Beast: The Program Guide
•  Sponsors and Partnerships

Beyond the Hospitality Suite
Wednesday, January 21 | 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.

What does being a “filmmaker-friendly festival” really mean? Come learn how to win the adoration of filmmakers, and you’ll discover the key to strengthening your festival’s reputation, increasing submissions, and attracting new sponsors.
With Clint Bowie (New Orleans Film Festival), Dan Brawley (Cucalorus Film Festival), Tracy Lane, (True/False), and moderator Jolene Pinder (New Orleans Film Festival).

Mastering the Rush Line and Managing Audience Expectations
Wednesday, January 21 | 3:00 – 3:50 p.m.

You programmed so many fabulous films that there are no seats remaining! The challenge of managing audiences goes far beyond queuing them in line. And for those who can’t get in, or did and were disappointed, your ability to accommodate might be the key to future successes. Panelists to be announced. Led by Gary Meyer, Telluride Film Festival.

Legal Clinic
Wednesday, January 21 | 4:00 – 4:50 p.m.

From human resource issues in your office to verifying music clearances to protecting your event from feuding filmmakers, all festivals need to consider the legal ramifications of their actions. Learn from festival-savvy attorneys about recent challenges—and bring your own concerns for discussion. With Corey Field, Ballard Spahr (Sundance); Michael Donaldson, Donaldson + Callif, LLP (Los Angeles Film Festival); and Deirdre Haj (Full Frame Documentary Festival).

Festival Roundtables
Wednesday, January 21 | 5:00 – 5:50 p.m.
Join your peers at one of the structured Roundtable discussions. Every day, topics will be discussed at multiple tables, each moderated by a member of the Festival Forum. Notes will be shared among all Art House Convergence attendees. Bring your best tips and suggestions, as well as the tough issues you want addressed.

•  Topics TBA
•  (Will repeat most popular ones from prior sessions)

Festival Forum’s Future
Thursday, January 22 | 10:00 – 10:30 a.m.

The annual meeting for the Festival Forum allows for paid members to nominate and vote on new Board and Committee members—and for all in attendance to have the opportunity to comment on what YOU want from the organization.

Other combined Festival Forum-Art House Convergence panels include:

Social Media Metrics
Tuesday, January 20 | 3:00 – 3:50 p.m.

Twitter and Instagram have become some of the fastest growing platforms for local business marketing. We will be going over 9 in-depth strategies for using Twitter and 17 in-depth strategies for using Instagram in your theater. There will be case studies presented from both the exhibitor and the film festival point of view on the topic. We will also allow time at the end for questions and answers. With Sean Wycliffe (Dealflicks); Chris Collier (Renew Theaters); and Jon Gann (DC Shorts).

A Different Audience: Managing Your Board
Wednesday, January 21 | 2:00 – 2:50 p.m.

As a non-profit, your interactions with your Board are much different than your interactions with your daily audience and yearly donors. How do you manage these Board relationships effectively to yield the Board involvement you would like? With both festival and art house representation, hear from four panelists on how they manage expectations, encourage involvement, and build trust with their boards. With Colin Stanfield (New York Film Festival) and Dylan Skolnick (Cinema Arts Centre).

Check out the full schedule here.

Hope to see you in Utah!

Remember to use code IFP2015 to receive the early bird registration rate through December 31. Register here. 

Only 12 days left to fill out the First Annual Festival Operational Benchmark Survey and be eligible for the drawing for complimentary Sundance or Toronto Film Festival Industry passes, Art House Convergence passes and five $100 cash awards.

The survey results will be an invaluable tool as the Forum moves forward, and we need maximum participation. Though most industries conduct surveys of this kind, our industry never has, and the results will be instrumental for many of you to apply for grants, negotiate with sponsors, build your boards, and drive strategic and operational decision-making.

Please complete the survey no later than November 30th in order to be eligible for the giveaway. While you are working on the survey, you can stop at any time and come back to it later. The survey program will resume wherever you last stopped.

Click here to go directly to the survey!

If you missed the November 5 webinar on Ticketing & Data Mapping, you’re in luck! We’ve archived it for posterity for all to enjoy.

In this webinar from IFP Festival Forum, Jon Gann, impresario for Cine and DC Shorts, provides tips and tools to to mine the data you (don’t know you) already have for insights into how to better reach and serve your audience. Take a deep (and we mean deep!) look into data gathering from your ticketing software and audience surveys to create interactive maps, which can be used to plan for effective marketing and secure sponsors.

Topline? In this session, Jon walks us through:
• Online tools that will give you insights into customer management
• How to use the data you know to better target people more likely to attend your event

Enjoy! And please leave a comment below to let us know what you think. Thanks!


Want more webinars just like this? Visit our YouTube channel for archived editions, and sign up for our IFP Festival Forum Newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this page) to stay in the know about upcoming events. 

Not a member yet? Join IFP Festival Forum today!

If you missed the October webinar on Mastering the Red Carpet, you’re in luck! We’ve archived it for posterity for all to enjoy.

In this webinar, presented by the IFP Festival Forum, John Wildman, Senior Publicist at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, presents tricks of the trade for managing the red carpet. He also shares ways to convey to distributors and agents that talent are in the best of hands from the time a film is locked to their premiere. It’s a gala event in webinar form.

Enjoy! And please leave a comment below to let us know what you think. Thanks!


Want more webinars just like this? Visit our YouTube channel for archived editions, and sign up for our IFP Festival Forum Newsletter (scroll to the bottom of this page) to stay in the know about upcoming events. 

Not a member yet? Join IFP Festival Forum today!

In an exclusive post, The Wrap reports on IFP Festival Forum’s open letter to The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences:

IFP Festival Forum asks Academy to reconsider its freeze on grant programs that fund almost two dozen festivals.

The Independent Feature Project’s IFP Festival Forum has become the latest group to protest possible cuts in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ grant programs, sending a letter to the AMPAS Board of Governors asking the Academy to continue its grants and recognize “the critical role of festivals.”

As TheWrap reported exclusively on Oct. 9, the Academy has halted almost all of its educational, grant and internship programs and is considering cutting back or eliminating programs as it gears up to break ground on its expensive Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

“We cannot overstate the power and impact of the AMPAS imprimatur on festivals’ ability to leverage that stamp of approval for greater engagement from sponsors, donors and even local and state governments,” reads part of the IFP Festival Forum letter, which was signed by eight festival directors and given exclusively to TheWrap.

“Concomitantly, we cannot stress enough the positive impact for the field by festivals striving to attain the standards of excellence, professionalism and artistic vision to be considered eligible for an AMPAS grant.”

The Festival Forum letter has been emailed, mailed and faxed to the Academy between Friday and Monday. It is signed by the forum’s executive committee, which is headed by acting director Jody Arlington and made up of directors at the Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Hamptons International Film Festival. It follows a similar letter sent to the AMPAS board by 22 recipients of Academy Film Scholar grants.

When that letter was revealed by TheWrap, an Academy spokesperson released the following statement:  “We’re taking this year to re-evaluate some of our grant-giving to ensure that each of these programs has the greatest benefit to the Academy and the communities it serves. No organization supports film education, programming and emerging talent more than the Academy — it’s part of our core mission and always will be.”

Currently, grant applications are not available at the Academy website.

Click to read the entire IFP Festival Forum letter and the rest of the article on TheWrap.com. 

We want to hear from our members. Please share your feedback in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

Film Festivals, like all cultural organizations, are well served by demonstrating their economic impact. While some festivals have sophisticated and third-party-generated economic impact studies that are public and promoted, others develop their own internal tools.

The IFP Festival Forum envisions a codified system of data collection and presentation, so that individual festivals and the industry as a whole can make the case for their economic and cultural value to their communities. While the Americans for the Arts and other state and regional organizations conduct arts organization economic impact studies, film festivals are not measured separately.

A year ago the IFP Festival Forum was proud to offer a session at Independent Film Week with the CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) Shelly Green on how she quantifies the economic impact of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. This model is one that the industry might develop as a best practice.

Read the White Paper here.

Once you’ve read the document, please share your thoughts with us at info@ifpfestivalforum.org.

Melissa Silverstein is a writer and speaker with extensive expertise in the area of women and filmmaking. She is the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, one of the most respected sites for issues related to women and film as well as other areas of pop culture. Women and Hollywood educates, advocates, and agitates for gender parity across the entertainment industry.

Melissa is the Entertainment Correspondent for WMC Live with Robin Morgan and was selected to be a film envoy for the American Film Showcase, the major film diplomacy program of the U.S. Department of State. And she recently published the first book from Women and Hollywood, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on the site.

Women and Hollywood's Melissa Silverstein
Melissa Silverstein

In addition, Melissa is the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival—A Celebration of Women and Leadership at Barnard College, a four-day festival of feature films, documentaries, and shorts dedicated to highlighting women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. The Festival, which includes conversations with producers, directors and talent, as well as Master Classes, will take place at Barnard College in New York City from February 5-8, 2015.

What are you working on?
Right now we are in the process of making decisions on the films we want to screen at Athena, finding panels and panelists and securing our awardees.

A-ha Moment?
The festival began following an event that I put together for Jane Campion for the film Bright Star at the home of Gloria Steinem. Kathryn Kolbert (Kitty) had just arrived at Barnard College to create the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. There were women directors at the event talking about how they were having very difficult times getting their films made, and so we decided to combine forces and start a film festival that focused on women’s leadership. We screen films directed by men and women, but all must focus on women’s leadership in some way. 

In Training
I come from the theatre and have an MFA in Theatre Administration. But my best training was working in women’s non-profit organizations.

Equipment/Software Must-Haves
Couldn’t survive without Google Docs and Gchat. 

My Mentor
I stand on the shoulders of all the women who came before me. 

Biggest Challenge
Fundraising is a challenge, but so is getting filmmakers to take a shot and come to Athena rather than a bigger or more well-known festival. But that is also an advantage, because we can allow the filmmakers to stand out and garner lots of publicity because there are not hundreds of titles vying for press.

Technology is also a challenge. We are small and we can’t afford DCP, so this will continue to be a challenge for us.

Best Advice
Trust your gut. 

Greatest Accomplishment
Getting the New York premiere of Belle at last year’s festival.

What is the Right Thing to Do?
Be true to your mission. Respect everyone who gives their time to come and participate—from the volunteers to the audience members—and remember how lucky we are to be doing the work we love.

Follow Melissa on Twitter @melsil and check out Athena Film Festival on Facebook and Twitter.