Monthly Archives: January 2022

Film Festival Alliance to Receive $50,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Rescue Plan

Film Festival Alliance is pleased to announce they have been approved to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. FFA is recommended to receive $50,000 and may use this funding to fund operations, as well as marketing and promotional efforts to encourage membership and engagement. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Film Festival Alliance, rebuild,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”

“We are very grateful to the NEA for recommending Film Festival Alliance for American Rescue Plan Funding,” said Executive Director Lela Meadow Conner. “ In turn, we will continue our work in support of our 250+ members and the film festival industry and independent cinema exhibition field at large. Through new and existing programming and initiatives, we’re hopeful that this recognition of film festivals will lead to additional streams of federal revenue and increase advocacy opportunities for our industry.”

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The second installment in November 2021 allocated $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations.

For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded in this announcement, visit www.arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-plan.

Film Festival Staffing, Workforce and Compensation Survey, supported by Elevent

The 2022 Film Festival Staffing, Workforce, and Compensation Survey is live! We encourage all festivals to participate in completing this survey to help provide a full picture of current festival staffing, labor, and wages. The deadline to complete this survey is Wednesday, February 9th. This survey is supported by Elevent, who had this to say about their involvement:

“Elevent is excited to support the FFA’s data-gathering initiative,” said founder Jeremy Wine. “We’re big data nerds ourselves–Elevent is a data-first powerhouse that fuels both the operating and contributed revenue generation of event organizers; the FFA’s benchmarking survey suits us to a T. The data gathered from this survey will help demonstrate the need for institutional support, shed light on pay inequities, and create a roadmap for the professionalization and maturation of organizations and personnel alike. As the leading event ticketing and membership platform for professionalized film presenters, this initiative is the perfect complement to the org advancement we facilitate, one organization at a time.”

Film Festival Alliance adheres to strict standards to preserve the confidentiality of all data received. All survey results will only be reported in summarized form, and we will ensure that the responses of no specific festival will be evident based on reporting.

The survey will compile data on current festival staffing, labor and wages, drawing on festivals from across North America. Using this data, Avenue ISR will develop a topline executive summary that will be published widely and a detailed report for FFA members that will break down data by multiple categories including job titles, geography, and budget size.

Complete the survey here.


About Avenue ISR:

Avenue ISR is a research and strategy consultancy serving a global client base from its headquarters in Michigan. Since 2006, Avenue ISR has worked with the Art House Convergence, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Cinereach, the State Theatre, the Natural Products Expo, Great Lakes Association, FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) and many other organizations, alliances and associations. Avenue ISR delves deeply into the needs and decision processes of people, producing actionable insights to help clients adapt and evolve. Avenue ISR uses both qualitative and quantitative research techniques to allow patron, member and constituent voices to be heard and understood. Avenue ISR brings a profound commitment to the success of film festivals and the people who are working to further joy, understanding and positive change through film.

Film Festival Alliance Adds Five New Board Members for 2022

The Film Festival Alliance is thrilled to welcome five new board members, Linda Cardarelli (FACETS), Albert Chow (Tribeca Film), Larry Laboe (NewFilmmakers Los Angeles), Shellie Schmals (Atlanta Jewish Film Festival), and Barbara Vásconez (NYWIFT).

In addition to these new board members, FFA has elected a new Executive Committee for 2022:

Alyx Picard, deadCenter Film (OK), President
Linda Broker, Rocky Mountain Women’s Film,(C0), Vice President
Kathryn Spitz-Cohan, Film Pittsburgh (PA), Treasurer
Beth Barrett, SIFF (WA), Secretary
Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film (WI), Past President

Learn more about our new board members:

Karen Cardarelli, Facets

Since 2020, Karen has navigated the organization through the passing of its founder Milos Stehlik, and its reopening after the Covid pandemic. Prior to that she served as Interim Program Director with Illinois Arts Council. A long-time theater administrator, she co-founded Chicago’s Emerald City Theatre leading its growth from infancy to an annual audience reach of 60,000 people and $2M operating budget. Karen has served as Strategic Partnerships Co-Chair for the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre, Steering Committee Chair of Ingenuity’s Strategic Partnerships Committee and sat on grant reviewTheatre Panels for DCASE and Illinois Arts Council. Currently, she sits on the League of Chicago Theatres Board of Directors and the iHeart Media Local Advisory Board.



Albert Chow, Tribeca Film

Albert Chow started from the ground up – as a Production PA; and has since straddled front of house, production and technical side of events. Besides his three most recent festivals (NY Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle Intl Film Festival), he has also worked at Sundance, Mill Valley, SXSW, Doc NYC, NewFest, Woodstock, Rooftop Films and Hamptons International Film Festival.

Larry Laboe, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA)

Larry Laboe is Co-Founder and Executive Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), an organization committed to highlighting and connecting emerging filmmakers and storytellers worldwide. Larry is a member of the Producers Guild of America and has been a Faculty Member at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and L Art University in Shanghai and Beijing. He is a Board Member of the BRIC Foundation, a Committee Member of SAGindie and the Co-Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Entertainment, Arts and Media Committee. Larry has produced scripted and unscripted streaming series and commercials, directed by talent such as Joseph Gordon Levitt, for some of the world’s leading brands, networks and studios, including Disney, NBC, CBS, VEVO, Dailymotion, MTV, DEFY Media, Comedy Central, Verizon go90, Amazon, Complex Media, IKEA, Mountain Dew, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Verizon and Smuckers.

Shellie Schmals, Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Shellie Schmals has been the Film Programming Manager at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival since 2014, where she plays a lead role in selecting the nearly 800 films that are considered for each annual Festival. She has 25 years of experience in the non-profit universe, holds a MBA from Brenau University and EDM in Higher Education Administration from the University at Buffalo. As a talent wrangler and producer/emcee, Shellie is involved in many projects including Roxie Roz burlesque, Georgia Pinup Posse, DanceATL and most recently, curated a burlesque/short film collaboration with the Philadelphia Jewish Film & Media (2021). She is an active member in Georgia Production Partnership and Women in Film & Television Atlanta, where Shellie sits on the Board of Directors as Vice President of Programming, coordinates WIFTA industry panels at Dragon Con (Film Track) and for the nationally known Cinema Life Collective, is past co-chair of the WIFTA Short Film & Talent Showcase (2017-2020) and past WIFTA Secretary (2016-2020).

Barbara Vásconez, New York Women in Film & Television

Barbara Vásconez is the Program Manager at New York Women in Film & Television. Before joining NYWIFT, she held the position of General Manager at the Quad Cinema for three years. She has worked for a variety of film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, Rooftop Films, Hamptons Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, DOC NYC, and the Nantucket Film Festival. Her spare time is spent programming panels and creating unique community engagement opportunities for the New York Latino Film Festival. In 2019, she launched and founded the Ville Film Festival in Somerville, New Jersey. In 2020, she joined the Ecuadorian Film Festival as Co-Director. Her educational goals include working to develop film programs in New Jersey that improve film education for low income students. She works on amplifying the Latinx community and speaking on important issues like immigration and minimum wage. She is committed to the importance of film as a means of community engagement. Barbara has a degree in Film and Video Production from the School of Visual arts in NYC and holds a Business certificate from W.O.R.C in Philadelphia.