Film Festival Alliance


FFA invites film festival professionals to our 2nd Regional Roundtable of 2018 at the 27th annual Woods Hole Film Festival.  A full agenda will be coming soon…highlights include:

-Roundtable discussions with an emphasis on audience development
-FFA’ signature Meet The Programmers session
-A group trip to Martha’s Vineyard (Monday, July 30)
-A group tour of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Marine Biology Laboratory
-Film Screenings, Lobster Tacos & More!

Registration Information:
$50 FFA Members / $75 Non-Members
Member Discount Code: WHFF4FFA

Industry Pass Information:
-10 comp industry passes will be given away randomly to those who register by June 30.
Industry Pass Prices: (Pass good for entire festival)
-$100 Pass for FFA members / $150 – Pass for non members

Hotel Links:
Treehouse Lodge Discount Code: WHFF2018

Transportation Information:
By Air: Closest Airports are Boston Logan and T.F. Green, Providence, RI (Woods Hole is approximately 70 miles from Boston Logan Airport)
By Bus: Busses area available to Woods Hole and Falmouth from Logan Airport and Downtown Boston; as well as from Downtown Providence, RI and Port Authority to Woods Hole (NYC)

Transportation in Woods Hole:
If you are staying within walking or ubering distance, a vehicle may not be necessary, especially as parking in Woods Hole is tricky.
Uber is available and is the WHOOSH Shuttle from Woods Hole to Falmouth.

Film Festival Alliance invites attending SIFF and regional filmmakers to a candid Meet the Programmers discussion with film festival programmers from across the country, on Sunday, May 27th from 12:00pm-1:30pm, hosted by the Northwest Film Forum.

This moderated session is designed to create an open dialogue intended to increase transparency between filmmakers and festivals – demystifying the festival programming process and giving filmmakers an inside look at the people behind the screen. This is also an opportunity for filmmakers to share stories and insights about their festival experiences – from submissions to notifications, screenings and more.

The event is free, but space is limited. Follow the link to get signed up!

About Northwest Film Forum:
Founded in Seattle in 1995 as an independent film and arts nonprofit, Northwest Film Forum incites public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Each year the Forum presents hundreds of films, festivals, community events, multidisciplinary performances, and public discussions. As a comprehensive visual media organization, the Forum offers educational workshops and artist services for film and media makers at all stages of their development. 

FFA has announced the agenda for our first-ever Regional Roundtable at SIFF, May 25-27,sponsored by Elevent. The gathering is open to all festivals, FFA-members and non-members, and strives toward inclusive and meaningful conversations and outcomes for festivals of all sizes.

Register by April 20th to get yourself in the running for one of 10 FREE SIFF Industry Passes!
Registration: $50/FFA Members; $75 FFA non-members // SIFF Industry Pass: $100

SIFF Regional Agenda:

Friday, May 25th:
8pm: Informal Gathering, Queen Anne Beer Hall (203 W Thomas St.)

Saturday, May 26th:
9:30-11:00am: The Intersection Between Filmmakers and Festivals, SIFF Lounge (2 West Roy Street)
This group discussion will explore the intersection between festivals and filmmakers: what benefits do festivals offer filmmakers, is exposure enough, how can film festivals help create conditions for filmmakers to make a living as creators? We’ll also look at the differences and similarities in festivals of all sizes when it comes to filmmaker support and the filmmaker experience. Join as we explore this essential question – what is the functional relationship (creative, economic, emotional, spiritual) that you have with your filmmakers?

11:15am-12:45pm: Sifting Through Entries: Submission Management Strategies, SIFF Lounge (2 West Roy Street)
The ever-evolving landscape of submission management is a hot topic within the film festival community. From competing platforms to how many programmers watch each entry, the manner in which festivals handle submissions can have far-reaching consequences. This discussion will explore platform options, scoring, databases, and more – to find out what film festivals need in order to manage submissions.

12:45: Group Lunch (Optional), Location TBD

Afternoon: SIFF Screenings, Various Locations

7:00pm: Informal Meet-Up,  Queen Anne Beer Hall (203 W Thomas St.)
Followed by a  group excursion to the SIFF Saturday Evening Party

Sunday, May 27th
10:00-11:30am: Identifying Festival Stakeholders: Filmmakers, Northwest Film Forum (515 12th Ave.)
How can the Film Festival Alliance engage festival stakeholders – from vendors, to sponsors, to filmmakers, to festival nomads? Join us as we kick-off this discussion by addressing the question: Should the Film Festival Alliance create a membership category for filmmakers? This roundtable series will continue at Woods Hole, IFP, and Cucalorus as the Film Festival Alliance works engage stakeholders on multiple levels to grow and shape our industry.

12:00-1:30: FFA’s Meet the Programmers, Northwest Film Forum (515 12th Ave.)
A moderated session, open to SIFF-filmmakers, regional filmmakers and festival programmers. Join us for an open dialogue intended to increase transparency between filmmakers and festivals. We’ll try to demystify the festival programming process and give filmmakers an inside look at the people behind the screen. This is also an opportunity for filmmakers to share stories and insights about their festival experiences – from submissions to notifications, screenings and more.

1:45pm: Group Lunch (Optional), Location TB

Afternoon: SIFF Screenings, Various Locations

8:00pm: Film Freeway presents FFA Drinks + Bites, Solo Bar (200 Roy St)
Gather for FFA-hosted drinks and appetizers  to share programming tips and continue the conversation. Sponsored by FilmFreeway.

Save The Date for these Upcoming Regional Roundtables:

FFA is excited to announce that registration is now open for our first Regional Roundtable conference at the 44th annual Seattle International Film Festival (May 25-28)

Group discussions will take place on Saturday May 26 and Sunday May 27th, over the SIFF Shorts Weekend. In addition to conversation, the Regional will also include Happy Hours, a Meet The Programmers event with visiting short filmmakers and other networking opportunities.

Your special FFA Industry Pass is valid from May 23-30 to attend all festival film programming. 10 complimentary SIFF Industry Passes will be available to FFA Members (one per festival) via lottery. SIFF will offer an additional 20 discounted passes available for FFA Members for $100. (Should demand exceed 30, regular priced industry passes are available for $150.) The first 20 discounted passes will be available on a first-come first-serve basis. Non-members pay the full pass price of $150.

Register now
Registration: $50/FFA Members; $75 FFA non-members // SIFF Industry Pass: $100

Attendees are responsible for their own travel and housing. Here is a link to SIFF partner hotels.

NEA Art Works Grant Opportunity for Media Arts Organizations – Overview

Part 1 – Submit SF-424 to February 15, 2018
Part 2 – Submit Materials to Applicant Portal: February 20-27, 2018
Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection: November 2018
Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance: January 1, 2019

Eligible projects types include exhibition, presentation, distribution, and preservation activities:
· Film/video/audio/new-media festivals and associated public programming that include artists, critics, and/or scholars, and are open to the general public and demonstrate meaningful community engagement.
· Preservation, restoration, or archiving of media art works, and services that support preservation, restoration, or archiving efforts.
· Curated series, screenings, exhibitions, installations, and/or touring programs and associated programming featuring all genres of historic and contemporary art that uses electronic media, film and technology (old and new) as an artistic medium and demonstrate meaningful community engagement.
· Regional, national, or international distribution of electronic media, film, and technology as art.

Here is the link to more information about the NEA Art Works: Media Arts grant. There are two grant cycles – each have different eligible project activities for each deadline. Note, the July deadline is for creation, education, and resources for artistic and professional development. For many of you, this upcoming deadline might be the best fit for you.

Helpful tips:
· Eligible applicants must be a 501c3 organization – review list of organizational eligibility here.
· Though the SF-424 is due on February 15, it is strongly recommended to submit the SF-424 to (aka: Step 1 – more details here) by February 6, to allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter.
· The second step of the process is submitting your application to the applicant portal between 2/20-2/27/2018 (aka: Step 2 – more details here).
· We highly recommend downloading the Media Arts FY19 Application PDF in advance to start preparing your project narrative and additional materials/work samples in advance. The application PDF also has helpful hints and tips that may not be visible in the applicant portal.
· All eligible applications will be reviewed on the basis of the artistic excellence and artistic merit. Full descriptions of the review criteria are available here.
· For a general overview of the Art Works grant opportunity, here is a link to a recent webinar on the Art Works Guidelines for FY2019.
· Some of you may enjoy (or find it helpful) to look at previous grants awarded to film festivals or other projects in the media arts field. The link to the database is here.
· If you have any general questions during the application process, please contact Media Art Grant Specialists Sarah Burford ( or Sarah Metz (

(Pictured above L to R: Patrick Shepherd, Cara Ogburn, Ryan Watt. Missing: Rachel Morgan.)

FFA is thrilled to welcome four new members to its Board of Directors, who represent festivals of different sizes and from varied geographical locations. They join several existing directors who are committed to advancing FFA’s growth, programming and networking opportunities.

Rachel Morgan, Sidewalk Film Festival
Rachel Morgan is the creative director and lead programmer for the Sidewalk Film Festival as well as an instructor of Media Production and Telecommunication and Film at Lawson State Community College. She is also a co-instructor in the Documenting Justice documentary film program at the University of Alabama and is a former contributor to Film Threat. She received a BFA from The Savannah College of Art and Design in Film/Video Production and a MA in Film Critical Studies from the University of Alabama where her focus of study was on Children and Adolescence in Cinematic Horror.

Cara Ogburn, Ph.D., Programming & Education Director, Milwaukee Film
Cara Ogburn is the Programming & Education Director for Milwaukee Film, which hosts the annual Milwaukee Film Festival, a 15-day film festival that, in 2017, boasted attendance over 84,000 for 297 films (shorts, features and VR shorts) and which will in summer 2018 be assuming operation of the historic Oriental Theatre year-round. Cara began working for the Milwaukee Film Festival seasonally in 2011, curating and planning panels, workshops, and other programming for filmmakers and general audiences to extend the films onscreen. With twelve years of experience teaching at the college level, in 2013, Cara joined Milwaukee Film’s year-round staff, overseeing strategic planning and a resulting expanded slate of programs for youth, filmmakers, and general audiences. In late 2015, Cara was promoted to direct the Programming Department in addition to Education, guiding the process and team that curate all content presented on and off-screen during the festival and year-round.

Patrick Shepherd, Cleveland International Film Festival
Patrick Shepherd serves as the Associate Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival and marks his twentieth year with the organization in 2018. Joining the organization as a seasonal staff member in 1999, Patrick was hired as Development Director in 2001 and promoted to Associate Director in 2006. He has managed the CIFF’s fundraising efforts as our attendance tripled (to 106,504) and our budget increased to just over $3.2 million in the last 17 years.

Ryan Watt, IndieMemphis
Ryan Watt is the Executive Director of Indie Memphis, creating community for independent film and supporting the development of filmmakers. The arts organization is dedicated to year-round programs culminating with the annual Indie Memphis Film Festival in November.  He is a film producer of features with premieres at SXSW, Locarno International, AFI, Los Angeles Film Festival, and Venice Film Festival. Most recently, Ryan is Associate Producer of FREE IN DEED, nominated for four 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Before transitioning into film production, Ryan specialized in marketing technology services at Securas Consulting Group, after they acquired his data backup firm Metro Backup.

If you want the next edition of your film festival to have a bigger audience, stronger international reputation and improved sponsorship and partnerships, this course was designed for you. Developing Your Film Festival is an intensive programme for film festival professionals, taught by some of the world’s experts on taking your festival to the next level. Don’t just take our word for it: We are 100% recommended by our participants, which include over 120 film festivals from around the world.

Developing Your Film Festival is taught interactively by experts from the Independent Cinema Office as well as key festival staff from the best festivals from around the world (in the past, we have welcomed representatives from the Berlinale, Hot Docs, Rotterdam, Toronto and many more). You will come away with a clear strategy that you can implement immediately, as well as new contacts from festivals around the world. On the course you will learn practical lessons about:
Audience development
Press strategy
Income building

DYFF 2018 is taking place at Vilnius Film Festival. You will have the chance to make new connections and see the beautiful Lithuanian city of Vilnius, as well take in the one of the most incredible festivals in Europe.

Deadline for expressions of interest from North American applicants: Monday 29th January, 2018.

For more information please see here or contact Jemma Buckley, Partnerships Manager:

· 100% of participants questioned said they would recommend Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) to a colleague or peer.
· 100% of respondents said the course was ‘very relevant’ or ‘relevant’ to their job and career development.
· 100% said the overall organisation of the course was either ‘excellent’ (77%) or ‘good’ (23%)
· 96% rated the speakers expertise as ‘excellent’

What our participants say:
“We changed our ticketing strategy and overall ticket sales increased by 35%. We implemented an intensive rebranding and have received rave reviews from the board, and our partners”.
Marian Spier, KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival, Netherlands

“Extremely insightful. The course will allow me to bring back a variety of tangible ideas which I can implement immediately.”
Damian Connor, Belfast Film Festival, UK

“Since attending DYFF, we’ve trebled annual turnover of the festival, implemented a five year strategic plan, received international attention and acclaim for our projects and had 79% capacity at last year’s festival.”
Holly Tarquini, Bath Film Festival, UK

The FFA Board is excited to announce it is seeking new board members! We’re looking for a handful of film festival professionals (or well-financed film festival enthusiasts!!) who would like to lend their time, talent and connections to help take the organization to the next level and to shape the future growth of the alliance.

Candidates for the board will be presented to members leading up to the annual meeting of the Alliance during the Arthouse Convergence. All active members of the Alliance will get a chance to cast their vote on the final candidates. The results will be announced during the annual meeting. To nominate yourself or someone else, please complete this form by January 4th.

We are gearing up for the 5th annual Film Festival Alliance @ Art House Convergence (FFA@AHC), which is packed to the brim with many great sessions and panels — including new discussions on Workplace Harassment, and Persevering Through Natural Disasters.

PLUS, we’re adding two special events:

We know you love your event’s shirts — and want other festival professionals to sport them in their towns. Fill the empty space in your luggage with a few extra shirts, and exchange them with other festivals at our official T-shirt Exchange (time TBD.) You may go home with a new wardrobe AND some clean clothes!

Before you became a festival professional, were you a director, actor, producer or worked on a short film? If so, send a link to, and we will showcase during a special screening. If possible, send your shorter works so we can show as many as possible in 60 minutes. All entries accepted (the easiest festival you ever entered).

If you have not yet completed the form to reserve a space on the shuttles — DO SO NOW before space fills up.

It appears that the Zermatt and Homestead are SOLD OUT. We recommend checking Airbnb. If you are in need of a roommate or have extra space, please let us know and we will try and help out!

More information is forthcoming — we will send updates as more events and sessions are confirmed and you can check out the Full Conference Schedule.

We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks and hope you enjoy a happy & peaceful holiday season.


Jon Gann & Lela Meadow-Conner
Conference Organizers

Register Now

Confirmed Panels to date include:


Past participants tell us that it is the best event of the year — and allows them to interact with their peers across the country in a relaxed, productive and non-competitive atmosphere.

How do you keep the “festive” in festival? Beyond programming, how do you attract new audiences? Hear out-of-the-box presenters share their favorite special events: parties, seminars, live comedy performances, BBQs, bar crawls, talks, staged readings, hula hooping — and beyond —  to target active and passive entertainment seekers.

Acknowledging the elephant in the room, no cell phones, no social media – just an honest, closed-door session where film festivals and distributors can openly discuss everything from scheduling, marketing, distribution strategies, and the necessity of screening fees. Our goal is for this frank talk discussion to create more transparency on both sides of the invoice, helping make negotiations easier for all parties.

Learn how Indie Memphis and others use a data-driven approach to audience development and ticket sales for film festivals and weekly screenings. Analytics are used to better understand each individual attendee, fine tune sales and outreach, activate sponsorship and maximize attendance for each event.

Most children only see three films a year in a theater, vs 20+ on tablets and TV. How do we create culture of cinema to ensure future audiences for theaters and festivals alike? Learn how we can work together to develop new programs and activities that encourage long-term affiliation and appreciation of cinema as a shared cultural experience.

Not every festival is able to use the local cineplex or DCI-compliant theater. Discover how other festival organizers and tech staff turn high school cafeterias, church basements, empty storefronts and other raw space into facilities that welcome audiences, and honor the work of filmmakers through extraordinary presentation.

With Netflix, Amazon and other snapping up properties before their festival runs are over, many programmers are skeptical to include these titles in their final lineups. Hear from festivals who eschewed traditional thought — with runaway sales and success.

In these rapid-fire presentations, hear how three festivals (small, medium and large) tackle everything from programming to marketing to audience development, and presentation. This is the first year that festivals will been included in the storied Art House Tales program — where there is much to learn from both festivals and theaters alike.

Everything is marketing — and marketing is everything. Hear from theaters, festivals, and marketing professionals about strategies, techniques and new software solutions to engage your audience, drive up sales, and decrease your day-to-day work. Attendance to this special double session is limited. Please sign up in advance.


The conference gets underway with a delicious buffet dinner in which all attending festivals introduce themselves, their event — and their hopes for the week.

Take a break between sessions to visit one of the sponsoring vendors to demo various software solutions for ticketing, film trafficking, review panels and other festival administration.

Discover what FFA has planned for 2018 and beyond, and reflect on the past year’s programming efforts. The Annual Meeting is open to all attendees, with the election of a new board limited to FFA members.

After a day of panels and seminars, relax before dinner (included) with a glass of wine or a stiff cocktail. Whatever your poison, relax and mingle with festival crew from around the country.

It’s said that there are 3,000 film festivals — and 2,999 way to run one. Meet fellow organizers throughout the conference, exchange ideas and successes, collaborate on future events — and make friends with the one group of people who truly understands what you do, and the trials and tribulations that challenge us every day.


Register Now