As I look back on three years of service as the Board President of the Film Festival Alliance, I’m so humbled and grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with so many creative and bold humans. The Alliance is thriving today because of the hard work and vision of people like Lela Meadow-Conner, Anne Chaisson, Jon Gann, and so many others who have helped build the organic and evolving vision for this critical organization in our industry. I can testify to the fact that the leadership of the Alliance is in good hands.
I’m also enthusiastic about our industry and where we are headed. In less than 20 years, the film festival has become a dominant fixture in the cultural and social life of our world. The number of film festivals continues to grow as our industry adapts to an increasing demand for access to audiences. The number of films being made today is difficult to even comprehend. We’ve heard from so many people about huge increases in the numbers of submissions from talented filmmakers. At Cucalorus, we could easily program three or four outstanding festivals from our submissions. So the Film Festival Alliance’s role in cultivating the resources for our industry to continue to grow and expand to meet those needs is more important than ever.
I would say we’re on the right track. From conversations with many of you, I sense that collectively we’ve been able to attract increased revenue from sponsors, donors, grants and ticket sales over the past ten years. I can assure you that when Cucalorus started in the early 90s, not a single one of us ever thought there would be a ‘film festival industry’ that offered paid jobs of any kind. The resources to support film festivals is growing every day. Just one example, Jax Deluca from the National Endowment for the Arts gave a presentation about how to apply for a grant and is hopeful that they will receive more applications. I’m hoping we can make that happen. I’m happy to help anyone who would like an extra pair of eyes on an application. The fact that the National Endowment for the
Arts is seeking us out is a good sign! And they’re not alone. Many national funders are paying more and more attention to our industry and the work that we do. The Film Festival Alliance will continue to advocate for funding
I’m deeply dedicated to strengthening the communication channels so that filmmakers, the Alliance, and festival-makers have a chance to collaborate in shaping our future. I hope that we can build these tools together so that filmmakers have access to the information they need to navigate the festival circuit and so that festivals have the resources they need to provide the kind of customer service (and transparency) to our most important partners: the filmmakers.
I hope you’ll take a little bit of time to encourage new festivals to check out the Alliance. Not just to become members but also to tune into the work we’re doing to strengthen our industry. Join us at our next Regional Roundtable at the Ashland Film Festival. Email a few friends with a link to our website!
Dan Brawley, Chief Instigating Officer, Cucalorus Festival