Film Festival Alliance

Monthly Archives: February 2015

In a recent post for Indiewire, IFP Festival Forum Executive Committee member Deirdre Haj outlines the work that we do and makes the case for why festivals are a crucial piece of the filmmaking ecosystem. We’ve excerpted a few key quotes below, but please find the entire article here.

 

“I am proud to say that the 200 members of the IFP Festival Forum (soon to be a stand alone organization called the Film Festival Alliance) believe in collaboration, not competition, and this is a very good thing for filmmakers on the festival circuit and for the audiences who come to see films.”

 

“Up until now, there has been no formal way for film festival professionals to communicate and learn from one another on a consistent basis.”

 

“The film festival circuit in the United States is vibrant, healthy and a more powerful distribution tool for independent film than a short run in New York or LA.”

 

“The plethora of established and humming film festivals in the United States is testament to the fact that audiences still want to see films together in a theater, and if they can hear from the filmmaker firsthand, they will come and pay to do so.”

 

“The Festival Forum will work to make sure that the filmmaker experience is the best one possible, and that our fellow festival organizers have the tools and resources to deliver the best event for them and their audiences. That’s why we do our jobs in the first place.”

 

More from Indiewire.

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? If you’re like us, you’re still on a (re-oxygenated) high from the jam-packed trip to the mountains of Utah—a double dose of Art House Convergence and Sundance. If you’re lucky, you avoided the Park City Flu, and came back refreshed and ready to tackle another productive year of festival planning…

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we want to thank you all for your enthusiastic participation, your friendly good nature, and your endless stream of ideas. We always learn so well from each other—our collective knowledge is unstoppable—and we are energized by the camaraderie that comes from sharing our experiences. (It’s so good to know we are not alone!)

What came out of our Convergence? In addition to friendships forged and renewed, we have a few big announcements to share:

1. In the coming months, our organization will make the transition to an independent and vocal organization with a new name: we will soon become the Film Festival Alliance. As a community, we will benefit from strength in numbers as we advocate for best practices and symbiotic relationships with filmmakers and distributors.

2. What’s more, membership in the Film Festival Alliance just got a bit sweeter: entertainment legal eagles Michael Donaldson and Corey Field have offered their services as a first line of defense, should any of our member organizations face an unforeseen legal hurdle. This is huge.


Reminder: If you have not yet officially joined the IFP Festival Forum, what are you waiting for? (Membership will transition to the new organization automatically.)


During our time together, our panels—including a legal clinic from Donaldson and Field—covered the gamut, from rush lines to hospitality to Oscars to board management and beyond. Our roundtable discussions were especially fruitful this year, centering on topics such as social media, sponsorship, ticketing, tech, the (dreaded) program guide, and making the most of a small budget.

Once we got to Park City, we of course reconvened in line for Press & Industry screenings, and gathered more formally at what has becoming an annual tradition: our colleagues at the Sundance Film Festival showed off their terrific hospitality, hosting festival organizers at an intimate brunch last Tuesday. (Thank you!)

All of these conversations will continue throughout the year; we’re just getting started. In the weeks to come, we will compile the learnings from our various sessions, sharing the wealth with those who weren’t able to attend and serving as a concrete refresher (and to-do list) for the rest of us. Please stay tuned, and keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the comments selection below.

We’ve got a lot of work to do, and it’s easier to do it together. Happy New Year!

We’re looking for a few good festivals.

If we’ve learned anything over the past several years, it’s the fact that our power comes from our diversity: small festivals, large festivals, year-round showcases, three-day events. Each and every one of our member festivals brings something to the table, and we all learn best when learning from each other.

As we move into our next phase of existence (as the Film Festival Alliance; read more here), we know that strength in numbers is key. That means we need YOU.

Click here to join today!

What are you waiting for? Join today. Note: Membership will transition to the new organization automatically.

We can’t wait to have you (officially) on board!

Are we all in agreement that the roundtables at Art House Convergence gave us barely enough time to scratch the surface on the juicy topics we tackled? We hope so, because we’ve lined up our next couple of webinars, where we hope to dive a little deeper and share some of our best practices around popular issues.

Please mark your calendars and look for further details in your inbox in the coming weeks.

Wrangling the Line: Rush Tickets, Waitlists and More

Tuesday, February 24
2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT
Moderator: Tom Hall, Montclair Film Festival
RSVP

Sponsorship: Finding the Right Partners

Tuesday, March 31
2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT
Moderator: Anne Chaisson, Hamptons International Film Festival
RSVP

Registration for all webinars is free; detailed instructions will be mailed when you RSVP.

Last fall we launched our first Annual Festival Operational Benchmark Survey, designed as an invaluable tool for our organization as we move forward into our new iteration as the Film Festival Alliance (read more!). Most importantly:

Who are we? What do we value? What can we learn? What can we contribute?

So far, we’ve started to see some interesting trends. We are curious to see how these change as we gather more data:


While we have gathered initial findings from our first round of participants*, we would like to round out our sample even more. To that end, we have extended the survey deadline to April 15. If you have not done so, please complete the survey before that date. .

The survey results will be an invaluable tool as the Alliance 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.

Remember, we are only looking for only one submission per festival. 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!

*Thanks a million to those members who participated in the first round. Initial participants were eligible for festival passes and cash awards, and winners included Napa Valley Film Festival, Berkshire International Film Festival, Maryland Film Festival, Human Rights Watch Film Festival and Frameline!

As the landscape of the business side of filmmaking—distribution, platforms, revenue streams—becomes more and more murky, Sundance Institute, Cinereach, and other organizations have launched The Transparency Project to counteract the complexity. Recently previewed at Art House Convergence and launched at Sundance, IFP Festival Forum has come on board as a collaborator in this nonprofit initiative, which explains itself with the following motto:

We empower filmmakers by creating tools to analyze independent films’ financial data.

As Anne Thompson outlines in her detailed piece introducing the project, the “goal is to collect and share current data on both revenue and expenses for independent film distribution in order to help filmmakers be more creative and efficient in funding, marketing and releasing their work.”

For the project to actually work, the filmmaking community (filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors—including film festivals, where applicable) needs to participate by submitting data about individual projects, specific production factors, and detailed revenue numbers.

So far, the following non-profits have come on board as collaborators, in addition to IFP Festival Forum:

Arthouse Convergence |Austin Film Society | Britdoc | IDA | IFP | ITVS | The Film Collaborative | FIND | POV | San Francisco Film Society | Tribeca Film Institute |WGA East | Film Society of Lincoln Center

In addition, the following “for-profit distributors and industry leaders have expressed their support of mission”:

Alchemy | Amplify | Bond 360 | Brainstorm | Cinedigm | Cinetic | Film Movement | Ocilloscope | Paladin | Preferred | Premiere Digital Services | Radius | Roco | Tribeca Film | Vimeo | VHX

For the project to take root and succeed in empowering the film community, all parties must agree to provide input. “The website is still being designed and updated,” Thompson explains, “but the idea is to fill in your budget and cast levels and genres, and when relevant, reviews and festival exposure, to see what numbers comparable projects obtained using different release platforms. The numbers will not—initially—reflect individual returns on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon etc., but rather throw them all into the same online platform bucket.”

We encourage all IFP Festival Forum members to become more acquainted with the project. Together, we can make a collective difference.

First step: Please read Anne Thompson’s full article by clicking on the following image.

thompson-transparency
Second, sign up for their mailing list, and get involved.

And please: let us know what you think, either via the comments section below, on Facebook or Twitter, or via email.