Film Festival Alliance

Category Archives: Events

Happy Hour: Hybrid Strategies & Being Adaptable

Join us on Wednesday, September 22nd in conversation with Eventive to discuss the challenges and changes that come with adjusting to the hybrid model, including how festivals are managing mask and vaccine policies and more.

Join here : (Link Coming Soon!)

This Happy Hour is open to all and will begin at 5:30 PM central.

The session will be recorded.

Member Chat: SVOG & Film Festivals

Join us on Wednesday, August 11th at 2PM Central for an FFA Member Chat: Applying for the SVOG as a Film Festival

More and more film festivals are receiving funding from and applying for the Shuttered Venue Grant. Join us for this informal conversation with three festivals who have successfully navigated the application and system, as they share their own experiences. We invite FFA members to join this zoom meeting and share their experiences with SVOG and ask questions of our ‘experts,’ who include Jeff Ross (SF Indie Film Fest), Kathryn Hecht (Alexander Valley Film Festival) and Dan Brawley (Cucalorus Film Festival.)

Members: Find the invitation to the zoom on our member Google Calendar, or by emailing

2021 Member Event Schedule

Monthly Member Happy Hours!

FFA Member Happy Hours will take place the last Wednesday of each month at 5:30PM CST. Catch up with your peers and mingle with our FFA sponsors as we continue conversations about the ever-changing landscape of 2021.

Happy Hours are scheduled for March 31, April 28, May 26, June 30, July 28, August 25, September 29, October 27, November 17, and December 29, 2021.

Working Groups 2021

The initial brainstorming meeting of the FFA’s Working Groups to Provide Best Practice Guides yielded excellent ideas from our membership. Designed to be living resources for FFA members, by FFA members, the group decided to begin with four main categories: Accessibility, Filmmaker Relations, Human(e) Resources and Logistics. Each of these groups will be spearheaded by volunteer co-chairs, who will meet as a group next to determine the best practices for each working group.

The goal of the working groups (by Dec. 2021):

  • Begin to compile Best Practices resources/documents for membership to live on FFA website members-only page
  • Refine Vision Statements which become the base-level standard for our members (and hopefully industry standard)
  • Identify key industry partners and stakeholders who should be part of these conversations/provide assets
  • Determine how we keep these working groups active and cycle on new members
  • April 2: 4:00pm EST/3:00pm CST/1:00pm PST: Logistics + Humane Resources
  • April 9: 4:00pm EST/3:00pm CST/1:00pm PST: Filmmakers + Accessibility

Learn more about the Working Group Vision Statements and sign-up to participate by visiting our Members Resources section.

Regional Roundtable Heads to Sidewalk!

FFA presents our second Regional Roundtable of 2019, taking place August 22-25 at the 21st Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.  The overall theme for this gathering is “Communication & Connectivity with Filmmakers” – and a full roundtable agenda will be announced soon.  Check out the outlined schedule and click here to register now.

Discounted hotel rooms are available through July 29th  – find out more about planning your trip here.  (PLEASE NOTE: when travel planning, Roundtable Conversations will take place on Friday, August 23- Sunday, August 25th. We recommend a Thursday arrival.)

Registration is $50 for FFA members and $75 for non-members. Complimentary industry passes will be offered to all FFA members who register. Discounted Industry Passes will be available for non-members for $75. All film festival professionals are welcome to attend.

Thank you to our sponsors Eventive and FilmFreeway.

Summer 2016: FFA Updates and Transitions



Happy Summer from the Film Festival Alliance!

We have some updates and news we’d like to share, and we’re also looking ahead to our upcoming in-person gatherings, including IFP Film Week in September in Brooklyn and the annual Art House Convergence in Utah in January.

First of all, we’d like to thank Colin Stanfield for the transitional leadership he provided as Interim Executive Director. Over the past eight months, he has guided us through our transformation into a stand-alone entity, creating a framework for membership, sponsorship and board development.

As Colin moves on to new endeavors, we are excited to share that as our new Program Director, Jon Gann will take the lead on (among many other things) both year-round programming and conference planning over the next six months, taking us through Art House Convergence in January. As usual, he is working with a crack team of organizers—if you’re interested in helping out, please let him know.

Over the next six months, we will be transitioning in other ways as well. The current members of the Executive Committee are ready to hand the reins over to those of you ready to step up and take our place. We feel a strong sense of pride in what we have achieved together, but we are excited to bring in new ideas and fresh enthusiasm—we will be looking for people with a broad range of skills to manage our multiple areas of need. So… If you are eager to take on a leadership role within our community, please let one of us know. (Some of you already have, and we will be reaching out!)

We hope to see you all and further our ongoing conversation at the following events:

IFP Film Week (September 17-22, 2016)

Among other programming for festival organizers, we will be hosting an event specifically for our colleagues:
Film Festival Alliance Breakfast and Diversity Talk
Thursday, September 22, 9:00am – 10:30am
All IFP Film Week registrants from film festivals are welcome at this breakfast, which will be followed by a conversation about ensuring diversity across the board at film festivals. We will also be providing more updates on Film Festival Alliance. More details to come!
Learn more about programming for festival professionals and register today!

Art House Convergence (January 16-19, 2017)

For the third year in a row, in conjunction with our art house colleagues, Film Festival Alliance will provide three days of programming with a specific eye towards film festivals. We are very eager to receive your thoughts and ideas on topics, panels, and participation, so please let us know if you’ll attend and how we can shape this conference to best serve you! As we hope you will agree, each year just keeps getting better and better.
Registration is now open!
Early Bird Rate: $525 through December 1
Special rate of $450/pp if you register yourself and two new participants (either from your organization — or others)

We look forward to connecting with you all in the months to come.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Jody, Anne, Jon, Tom, Deirdre, Kristin & Rosie

FFA at IFP Film Week 2016


What is IFP Film Week?
A week of meetings, screenings, talks, meet ups, exhibitions, and tours centered on cutting-edge independent content for the big screen, small screen and Internet. It’s a neo-post-trans-screen film project and marketplace.

As usual, the 2016 IFP Film Week will include programming of interest to Film Festival folks. Registration is now open! Click this link, use the drop-down “Company Type,” which allows fest programmers to register for a special rate of $250.

Note the exciting new location! This year’s events will take place at IFP’s home base, the Made in NY Media Center, and all over Brooklyn.

IFP Film Week 2016
September 17-22

Brooklyn, NY

Bowling Night Hosted by Amazon Studios

Monday, September 19 (Brooklyn Bowl)
Join fellow industry members and filmmakers at the one and only Brooklyn Bowl!

IFP Filmmaker Labs Showcase

Tuesday, September 20 – 8pm (location TBD)
IFP’s annual outdoor screening, in partnership with Rooftop Films, features excerpts from the twenty films taking part in this year’s Filmmaker Labs. All projects come from first-time directors and are currently in post-production. Last year’s participants went on to premiere at Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival, HotDocs, Locarno Film Festival, and many others.

IFP Screen Forward Labs Showcase

Wednesday, September 21 – 8pm (location TBD)
For the first time, IFP presents a new showcase (also done in partnership with Rooftop Films) dedicated to highlighting its newly-created program: the Screen Forward Labs. Beginning in November 2015, the Screen Forward Labs selects groundbreaking serialized content that pushes storytelling forward. Past participants have already gone on to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, among many others.

Film Festival Alliance Breakfast and Diversity Talk

Thursday, September 22 – 9 to 10:30am (Brooklyn)
All IFP Film Week registrants from film festivals are welcome at this breakfast, which will be followed by a conversation about ensuring diversity across the board at film festivals. We will also be providing more updates on Film Festival Alliance. More details to come!

Meet the Programmers at IFP Film Week

Thursday, September 22
Each year, festival programmers who register to attend Film Week are able to take ten-minute meetings with projects hoping to be on the festival circuit in the coming year. Register now to ensure access to these meetings!

Last Call to Submit to the 2016 IFP Filmmaker Labs

Festival tribe, do you have emerging filmmakers on your radar who would benefit from the 2016 IFP Filmmaker Labs? If so, please spread the word…


IFP’s unique yearlong mentorship program supports first-time feature directors when they need it most: through the completion, marketing and distribution of their films.  Focusing exclusively on low-budget features (<$1million), this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films—and their careers. Through the Labs, IFP works to ensure that talented emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to reach audiences.

Open to all first time feature documentary and narrative directors with films in post-production. Twenty projects (10 documentaries and 10 narratives) are selected for the annual program. All Lab projects also automatically participate in the Project Forum of IFP’s Independent Film Week.

Lab alumni projects include Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again (Factory 25), Lyric Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s (T)error (The Film Collaborative), Darius Clark Monroe’s Evolution of a Criminal (Independent Lens), David Thorpe’s Do I Sound Gay? (Sundance Selects) Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly’s Beneath the Harvest Sky (Tribeca Film), Stacie Passon‘s Concussion (RADiUS), Alexandre Moors‘ Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects), Penny Lane‘s Our Nixon (CNN Films and Cinedigm), Daniel Patrick Carbone‘s Hide Your Smiling Faces (Tribeca Film), Lotfy Nathan‘s 12 O’Clock Boys (Oscilloscope), Dee Rees‘s Pariah (FocusFeatures), and Terence Nance‘s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Variance Films).

Deadline to Apply:  Tuesday, March 1

Countdown to Art House Convergence!

The countdown to the 2016 Art House Convergence is ON!

We’re looking forward to seeing SO many of you Monday in Midway, UT. To make sure you are fully prepared for the jam-packed agenda put together by the stellar Film Festival Alliance Programming Team, please study the following, and make room in your carry-on for the requested “bring-alongs.” It takes a village festival to raise a convergence… or something like that.

Download the agenda here.

Or click to see the entire agenda (only first page displayed):


Click to keep reading…

2015 Film Festival Alliance @ IFP Film Week Agenda Announced

We have finalized the agenda for the Film Festival Alliance @ IFP Film Week, including seminars, presentations and networking opportunities. While Film Week runs from September 20-25, most of the festival-specific programming is scheduled for September 23-25; we hope you can join us!

Festivals receive 40% off the registration fee for IFP Film Week. Visit and use code ah$s to generate the discount.

Questions? Contact Industry Manager Jennifer Carpenter at

September 23-25
Lincoln Center
144 West 65th Street (map)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Festival Forum: Should Festivals Care About TV?
2:00 to 2:45 pm

Bruno Walter Auditorium – 111 Amsterdam Avenue
As filmmakers seize upon the creative and professional opportunities provided by episodic storytelling, both on network TV and online, film festivals have only just begun to incorporate this shift into their programming. But with the small screen often considered a traditional enemy of the big screen experience, can festivals find a meaningful relationship with TV storytelling? Does a festival’s mission of “serving the filmmaking community” extend to small screen content? And if so, how can festivals build a meaningful, competitive platform for TV while preserving the collective film-going experience that is at the heart of their missions? This panel examines the opportunities and issues surrounding the rapidly changing landscape of ambitious, cinematic storytelling.

Panelists: Terence Gray, Founder and Exec Director, NY Television Festival; Randi Kleiner, CEO of SeriesFest; Janet Pierson, Head of Film, SXSW; Amanda Warman, producer of The Outs and Whatever This Is; Moderated by Jody Arlington, Festival Forum

Meet the Festival Programmers: Narrative
Note time and location change!
3:30 to 5:30 pm (also on Thursday, 2:30-5:30) 

Rose Room | Rose Building: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 10th Floor
Meet with narrative feature, doc and web content creators, discovering them first before they’re on the circuit. These are filmmaker-selected meetings, so contact Zach Mandinach if you would like to represent your event at these small group meetings, which last approximately 15 minutes. Not all festivals can participate, and you must sign up for participation in advance of August 25. Register now for your festival to be considered for the roundtables. For more information, email Zach Mandinach at

Rooftop Films + IFP Labs “Sneak Peek” Showcase
7:00 to 10:00 pm

The Labs Showcase gives audiences a first-look at exciting new films before their festival premieres. This outdoor screening features excerpts from the 20 new films from the emerging talent of the 2015 IFP Labs, the nation’s only program that supports diverse feature filmmakers when they need it most: through the completion, marketing and distribution of their first features. Invite with details will be sent to registrants.

Thursday, September 24, 2015
Gilman Theater, Film Society of Lincoln Center

Welcome and Association Updates
9:00 to 9:30 am

Introducing the Film Festival Alliance and our 2016 programming and member-driven initiatives!

Love, Money, Youth: Your Festival’s Strategy Here!
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

While each film festival is unique in its own way, we all share similar challenges and opportunities. No matter what a single festival might look like, most are grappling with the same questions: how can we grow in esteem in the eyes of filmmakers and the industry? How can we secure more financial support to deliver on our best ideas and capitalize on creative opportunities? How can we reach younger audiences and build for the future? This two-part session will ask each attending delegate to introduce what makes your festival special and share your festival’s greatest challenge, followed by an open discussion of strategies and tactics that can help your organization become all that it can be.

Space is limited, so please register soon. Registrants will receive further instructions and a presentation template ASAP.

Kaplan Room | Rose Building: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 10th Floor

Note date, time and location change!
Meet the Festival Programmers: Documentary
2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Meet with narrative feature, doc and web content creators, discovering them first before they’re on the circuit. These are filmmaker-selected meetings, so contact Zach Mandinach if you would like to represent your event at these small group meetings, which last approximately 15 minutes. Not all festivals can participate, and you must sign up for participation in advance of August 25. Register now for your festival to be considered for the roundtables. For more information, email Zach Mandinach at

IFP at Film Week 2015

We hope to see you there! In the meantime, please check out the Festival Alliance on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

Festival Alliance Programming Set for Art House Convergence 2016

The reviews are rave, the company is spectacular, and the shared knowledge is priceless.

Join festival colleagues from across the country (and beyond) for the only Festival Conference you need! Programming is set for the 2016 Art House ConvergenceJanuary 18-21 in Midway, UT, and we think you will find the far-ranging topics to be right up your alley.

Registration is now open!

AHC flyer 2AHC flyer 3AHC flyer 4

In the meantime, follow the Festival Alliance on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing conversations…

The ARTery Previewed Art House Convergence in Boston This Week!

Thanks to The ARTery for previewing this week’s Art House Convergence Regional Conference, held at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA.


One notable area of growth is among film festival leadership. Brian Tamm and Nancy Campbell, who respectively head up the executive function and program of the Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston), attended this year’s Art House Convergence because of its track designed for festival staff by another national group, this time of film festivals, called IFP Festival Forum.

Festival Forum (currently a project of Independent Film Project; this fall it will become an independent nonprofit called Film Festival Alliance) joined forces with Art House Convergence and began programming at the annual gathering in 2014. This week marks the first time the entities will partner for a regional conference.

Collaborating with Festival Forum makes a lot of sense to Collins, who explains, “There’s karmic overlap and practical overlap, in terms of most festivals are housed in art house venues.”

Read the whole article here.


We had a fabulous time in Boston—special thanks to the Brian Tamm, Nancy Campbell, and Anna Feder for making local arrangements (dinner! karaoke!) on the ground. And the entire Coolidge Corner Theatre staff made us all feel welcome in their classically cinematic digs.

One highlight was the Festival Track Mixer, where we saw some old friends and (hopefully!) forged some new collaborations.

AHC Boston 1 AHC Boston 2 AHC Boston 3

We look forward to seeing many of you at IFP Film Week and the national Art House Convergence in January.

In the meantime, follow the Alliance on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing conversations, and check out the Film Festival Organizers private Facebook group, where pertinent questions are asked and answered everyday. Join us!

Registration Still Open for IFPFF @ Art House Convergence Regional Seminar

The IFP Festival Forum will be out in force August 12-13 at the Art House Convergence Regional Seminar in Boston, an opportunity for Festivals to sample Art House Convergence and Festival Track programming, and also forge deeper relationships with other festival organizers participating in Seminar.

What’s more, AHC has planned a terrific agenda, including pre-seminar tours of local art house institutions (Brattle! Coolidge! Somerville! Emerson!) and even the legendary Fenway Park (!).

Specific Festival track events are highlighted (highlit?) below.
Click here for full details and registration information.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Pre-Seminar Events

Daytime: Tours!

Evening: As part of the Festival Track, join festival organizers from DC Shorts, Hamptons, Film Society of Lincoln Center, SXSW and regional festivals to socialize, learn more about each other’s events and the forum.  Please email if you would like to participate in this dinner (location TBD; pay your own way, first drink on us!).

Thursday, August 13, 2015
Regional Seminar

8:00AM – 9:00AM: Check-in and Register

9:00AM – 9:30AM: Tour of the Coolidge Corner Theatre

9:30AM – 10:30AM: A Conversation with Technical Wizard Chapin Cutler

10:30AM – 11:30AM: Building Fundraising Muscle Within Your Organization
From capital campaigns to membership drives, fundraising is a necessity for non-profit art houses (and festivals!). Learn from several theaters on how to build and manage your development staff effectively, leverage your community impact, and cultivate your audience in order to build up your fundraising muscle, and increase your fundraising dollars.

11:30 – 12:30 PM: Festival Track Mixer
Bring a stack of your festival programs, brochures, post cards and stories, to share with other Festival organizers from around the region and beyond, for this informal meet-and-greet and information sharing session replete with refreshments and materials on upcoming Festival Forum activities, and an exploration of greater regional collaboration. Representatives from at least a dozen festivals in attendance!

11:30AM – 12:30PM: Single Screen Theaters: Making The Most of Your Single Screen

12:30PM – 1:30PM: Lunch

130-1:30PM – 2:30PM: Building A Culture of Great Service
 will be back again for a one-hour session focused on customer service. Learn how customer service begins within your organization and find out why it’s crucial to treat your staff with as much care as you treat your customers. With great techniques and new tools, you’ll leave with a refreshed perspective on your customer service and some plans for creating a more effective culture at your theater or festival.

2:30PM – 3:30PM: Session Five (TBA)

3:30PM – 5:00PM: Case Study of the Coolidge Corner Theatre

5:00PM – 6:30PM: Cocktail Reception at Osaka sponsored by Art House Cinema Solutions
Join us at Osaka Japanese Sushi & Steak House, across the street from the Coolidge, for drinks and sushi following the day’s sessions. Stop in for a drink before dinner or before heading back to the Coolidge for Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Registration is now open. Hope to see you in Boston!

On the Horizon: IFP Film Week, Art House Convergence 2016

Though we’re deep in the throes of summer, don’t forget that the roller coaster of fall (into winter!) will be here before we know it. Please mark your calendars to join us at IFP Film Week and Art House Convergence. More info below. 

IFP Film Week logo

IFP Festival Forum at IFP Film Week 2015: September 20-25

Taking place concurrent to Independent Film Week each year, IFP Festival Forum is the leading gathering of international and U.S. film festival leadership. This professional association advocates for the needs and interests of film festival organizers and also provides a collaborative platform for members to develop curatorial and operational efficiencies, professional standards and best practices, and leverage their collective interests to the international film community.

Note: Key dates for IFPFF programming at Film Week are Wednesday through Friday, September 23-25. More details to come…

Forum Member Festivals receive 40% off registration! Use code ah$s to register today.

Art House Convergence photo

Art House Convergence 2016: January 18-21

As the largest annual gathering of Art House cinema and festival professionals, community leaders, service providers and suppliers, the conference attracts participants from across the world. By defining our field, creating a shared vision and vocabulary, and identifying best practices, the educational components of the Convergence’s annual conference strengthen efforts to sustain Art House cinemas and film festivals of various sizes, operating structures and programming philosophies.

Our tentative schedule includes programming around submissions, income, fundraising pitches, staffing, projection and much, more more!

Registration is now open!

We hope to see you at these invaluable events. In the meantime, please join our community on Facebook and Twitter, and check out archived webinars on YouTube

WATCH: Wrap Reports Webinar

Every month, IFP Festival Forum hosts a webinar on a topic that will make your festival life easier, happier, and more productive.

This month: Rosie Wong (Associate Director of Industry and Alumni Relations, Sundance Institute) walked us through the best thing (daunting though it may be!) you can do for the future of your festival: how to assign, write and gather all-encompassing wrap reports.

Taking Down the Circus Tent: Wrap Reports 101

Having your staff write wrap reports is probably the most vital thing to planning your next edition. This is when they can include what they think went right, what didn’t, how to improve for next year—all crucial information for the year(s) to come. We discuss what makes a good wrap report and what kind of information you should ask for from your staff in order to ensure you’re on the right track for planning and improving upon future festivals!

Moderator: Rosie Wong, Sundance Film Festival

To receive access to sample wrap reports, please visit our Google Group. (If you are not already a member, please request access.)

We hope you’ll join us next time! In the meantime, join us on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing conversations and updates…

Film Festivals Converged with Art Houses at High Altitude

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!

Webinars to Dive Deeper into Roundtable Topics: Save the Dates

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

Sponsorship: Finding the Right Partners

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

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

WATCH the December Webinar with Ira Deutchman: Can Festivals Afford Not to Converge?

If you missed our webinar, you can watch the archived version below!

Festivals: Can You Afford Not to Converge?

Have you already signed up to join the arthouse theater community and fellow festival staff at Art House Convergence 2015? Or are you still on the fence? Either way, our December webinar makes the case for why AHC is a can’t-afford-to-miss pre-game for your Sundance experience… and why it’s worth even a stand-alone trip out west in January!

Reason #1: Daily festival-specific panels

Reason #2: The extraordinary networking opportunities

Reason #3: The chance to learn what you need to know to make your festival a success

Ira Deutchman is the Managing Partner of Emerging Pictures, a New York-based digital exhibition company. He is also Chair of the Film Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Ira was the keynote speaker at last year’s AHC—which art house professionals and film festival staff alike agree was an unprecedented success—which makes him the perfect person to provide the skinny on the conference. As our guest at the webinar, he spoke to the practical benefits of attending AHC and also the extraordinary opportunity to discuss topics at the forefront of the ongoing developments in our dynamic industry.

In addition, IFP Festival Forum Executive Committee members Jody Arlington, Colin Stanfield, Kristin McCracken and Chris Holland walked us through logistics, the attendee list, and the contextualized agenda we have planned for our 3+ days together.

Note: If you’re ready to register for Art House Convergence now, remember to use code IFP2015 to receive the early bird registration rate through December 31. Register here. 

Hope to see you in Utah!

WATCH: Budgeting Webinar

In the August 2014 webinar, we tackled the intricacies of budgeting for your festival, and we enlisted two of the best in the business to give you the lowdown:

Budgeting Essentials: Making it All Add Up

The Festival Forum budgeting webinar helps to demystify the world of budgeting and provide participants with the techniques and confidence to manage and control their budget effectively. Financial terms and budgeting concepts are explained in a way that festival professionals will immediately be able to apply to their own organizations.

Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director, Film Society of Lincoln Center, and Colin Stanfield, Producer, New York Film Festival, uses “real life” examples and case studies in this interactive seminar.

Watch the archived version of the webinar here:

Have an idea for a future webinar? Email

The IFP Festival Forum was founded in an effort to connect members of the film festival community in a dynamic and engaged conversation around the work we do. In order for us to develop a tried-and-true set of best practices—allowing the smallest festival to be just as successful as the behemoth—we have to talk to each other and share our knowledge. Independent Film Week in September and the Art House Convergence in January are two places where these conversations happen, but how can we keep talking all year long?

Please check out the IFP Festival Forum on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Look Who’s Coming to Art House Convergence 2015!

One of the great things about Art House Convergence is that you can take half your planned Sundance meetings with distributors and other colleagues in a casual and convivial setting, before 40,000 others with the same idea descend on Park City. Join your festival and film society colleagues (bolded in the list below) for a conference you don’t want to miss!

On the fence about joining us in Utah? Learn more in our upcoming webinar!

If you’re ready to register now, use code IFP2015 to receive the early bird registration rate through December 31. Register here. 

4th Row Films
a/perture cinema
Alamo Drafthouse
Americans for the Arts
Amherst Cinema
Animas City Theatre
Arena Cinema Hollywood
Arts Alliance Ltd
Aspen Film
Athena Cinema
Avalon Theatre

Balcony Booking
Ballantyne Strong, Inc.
Bama Theatre
Belcourt Theatre
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Boston Underground Film Festival
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

California Film Institute
Camera Cinemas
Cape Cinema
Capri Theatre
The Cary Theater
Casablanca Ventures
Chatham Film Club & Crandell Theatre
Chincoteaguer Island Arts Organization
CICAE – International Confederation of Art Cinemas
Cinema Arts Centre
Cinema Center
Cinema Falls
Circle Cinema
Clinton Street Theater
The Clover Theater
Cohen Media Group
The Colonial Theatre
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Cornerhouse and HOME

DC Shorts Film Festival
Dealflicks Inc
Dedham Community Theatre
Denver Film Society
Distrib Films

Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association
Enzian Theater
EW Booking

Film Forum
Film Hub North
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul
Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater
Fractured Atlas
The Frida Cinema
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Gateway Film Center
Gold Town Theater
The Grand Cinema

Hammond Entertainment
Hamptons International Film Festival
Hollywood Theatre
Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre
Hopkins Center Film
Hot Docs

IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films
IFC Center
IFP Festival Forum
Images Cinema
Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston)
Indiana University Cinema

Jacob Burns Film Center
Jacobs Entertainment Inc
Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center
Janus Films

Kalamazoo Film Society
Kristin McCracken, Former VP Tribeca

Lark Theater
Lefont Theaters/Lefont Film Society
Living Room Theaters
Loft Cinema, Inc.

Magic Theatre
Magna-Tech Electronic
Maiden Alley Cinema
Majestic Theatre
Manhattan Short Film Festival
Maroon Peaks Entertainment
Martha’s Vineyard Film Center
Mary D. Fisher Theatre and Sedona International Film Festival
Maryland Film Festival
Merrill Theatre Corp.
Michigan Theater
Monclair Film Festival
Monument Releasing
Mortell Development Inc.
Movies of Delray
Moxie Cinema

New Orleans Film Festival
Nickelodeon Theatre
The North Group Inc.

Pacific Film Resources
Park Circus Limited
Park City Film Series
Participant Media
Philadelphia Film Society
Pickford Film Center
Picturehouse Entertainment
Pittsburgh Filmmakers
ProludioRagtag Cinema

Ready Theatre Systems
Real Art Ways
Renew Theaters
Riverrun Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute

Salem Cinema
San Francisco Film Society
San Francisco Indie Fest
Shoreline Entertainment
State Theatre of Modesto
Studio Movie Grill
Summerfield Cinemas

Tallgrass Film Association
Tampa TheatreThe Moviehouse
Theatre Properties Corp
Toronto International Film Festival
Tropic Cinema
True/False Film Fest

The United Theatre
Utah Film Center

Westport Cinema Initiative
Wilmette Theatre
Woods Hole Film Festival


Art House Convergence Schedule Live Today!

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.


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. 

WATCH: Ticketing & Data Mapping Webinar

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!

WATCH: Mastering the Red Carpet Webinar

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!

Festival Forum at the 2015 Art House Convergence

Annual Conference For Festival Organizers

For the second consecutive year, the IFP Festival Forum is partnering with the Art House Convergence (AHC) to offer a series of panels, events and professional development opportunities for film festival leaders and staff during the 2015 AHC, January 19-22, 2015 in Midway, Utah. The AHC provides a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues, film industry professionals and leaders in the non-profit film exhibition community, and to discuss our shared challenges and successes.

Set during the days before the Sundance Film Festival, the AHC offers a relaxed atmosphere for meetings and conversations before the business of Sundance begins. It is also a chance to combine a terrific conference and Sundance into one plane ticket, an efficiency we can all appreciate!

This year, the Festival Forum will offer a set of panels integrated into the AHC’s overall agenda, with a diverse group of speakers, experts and panelists on hand, allowing delegates to focus on issues specific to film festivals as well as broader issues of non-profit management in the film community.

If you have a panel idea you would like to propose, or if you are interested in participating on a panel as a panelist, please download the submission form here (festivals may ignore the deadline).

Also, if you are willing, please take a moment to share this post with your colleagues, as we would love to expand our pool of attending festivals.

Finally, it is important to say that the Festival Forum receives no financial support from the AHC and receives no money from this event. Your event registration fee goes directly to the AHC, covering the cost of putting on the conference, and includes your meals. The AHC itself is a non-profit conference; our shared goal is to keep costs low and the event accessible to as many organizations as is possible while still putting on a meaningful event.

As such, The AHC is offering Film Festival delegates the $450 rate until December 31, 2014. This represents a significant savings and gives delegates time to plan their trip.

If you are interested in attending, please click here or check out the flyer below to register.

We look forward to the opportunity to spend time together with our festival colleagues and hope you will join us for another wonderful conference.

See you in Midway!

IFP Festival Forum Executive Committee

P.S.  If you weren’t able to join us at the IFP Festival Forum at Independent Film Week, check out our Takeaways post, including full presentations and contact info for the presenters!


2014 IFP Festival Forum Agenda Announced

We have finalized the agenda for the 2014 IFP Festival Forum, two days of seminars and presentations at IFP Independent Film Week (September 16-17), with sessions looking at festival budgets, marketing and social media, the new tools and services for submitting films to festivals, “Meet the Programmers,” where fests gain access to this year’s filmmakers and their new projects, and more.

Festivals receive 40% off.  To register for IFP Film Week, visit and use code ah$s to generate the discount.
Questions? Contact Industry Manager Jennifer Carpenter at or 212.465.8200 x222.

Click to download 2014 Festival Forum Agenda in PDF form.


Tuesday & Wednesday, September 16 & 17, 2014
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater
144 W. 65th St. (map)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

The 5th Annual IFP Festival Forum Roundtable (11:30 AM – 11:55 AM)

The IFP Festival Forum Executive Committee will discuss with attendees the organization’s achievements and new initiatives for the year, including the operational survey and nomination process for new leadership in 2015.

Festival Budgets: Best Practices (12:00 – 1:15PM)

Creating an accurate budget for your film festival is one of the most important steps in building an effective, lasting organization. It also serves as an expression of your organization’s values, allowing a snapshot of priorities and managerial success for donors, sponsors, granting organizations, auditors and artists to review. But given the nature of festival production, where events and screenings often cost more than ticket revenue can provide, how can festivals develop budgets that showcase their priorities while also satisfying the need for transparency and fiscal responsibility? Join Film Society of Lincoln Center Executive Director Lesli Klainberg and New York Film Festival producer Colin Stanfield for an examination of best practices available to festival leaders looking to build a better budget.

Advocacy Tool Kit: Harmony Institute/Festival’s Impact (1:20 – 2:00PM)

How effective are films and film festivals at fostering positive change? How can that change be tracked over time with data that fosters new strategies for audience engagement and action? Join us for a presentation by Harmony Institute as they preview StoryPilot (, their forthcoming interactive platform for measuring the impact of film. It will be followed by a discussion on how film festivals can become more effective partners in tracking impact, delivering measurable outcomes for social transformation and leveraging impact metrics to demonstrate organizational effectiveness with sponsors, donors, distributors and other stakeholders.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Everyone is on the Marketing Team…and Other Things Your Co-Workers Don’t Want to Hear! (11:00 – 12:15PM)

As social media tools continue to present inexpensive and effective opportunities for building audiences online, film festivals have developed all manner of ways to keep an ongoing connection with their audiences. But how can organizations continue to thrive in a constantly evolving social media landscape? Atlanta Film Festival’s Chris Holland, and Tribeca Film Festival’s former VP of Digital Media Kristin McCracken join forces to expand on their popular webinar to show how your Festival can reach potential customers all year long and make them fans for life. From programming to sponsorship to customer service, learn how to engage staff in all areas – and at all levels – to amplify your Festival’s message through embedded marketing strategies.

Festival Tools: Submission Survey (12:30 – 1:30PM)

In a world where everyone with a cell phone might be considered a filmmaker, the tremendous increase in film festival submissions has been fraught with mistrust between artists and festivals. As costs increase and the number of film festivals expands rapidly, the film festival submissions process has grown, vexing fests and filmmakers alike. But with new services and terms, expanded offerings, and emerging opportunities, festivals and filmmakers have more choices than ever before. DC Shorts impresario Jon Gann will present a survey of new services and strategies to increase your reach, find more diverse films, reduce the requests for fee waivers, and make stronger connections with filmmakers.

Community Discussion (1:35 – 2:00PM)

To close the day, we’ll open the floor up to our festival colleagues to discuss the issues covered during IFW – and the role that they’d like to see the IFP Festival Forum play in the community moving forward.

Thursday, September 18, 2015 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Each year Festival programmers gain access to the IFP’s Project Forum filmmakers at Meet the Programmers, one-on-one 10-minute “speed dating” meetings set up exclusively for festival programmers attending Film Week.  Details provided upon registration for IFW.  Meet the Programmers is held at the Kaplan Penthouse, 165 West 65th Street
, New York, NY 10023.

We hope to see you soon! In the meantime, please check out the IFP Festival Forum on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

IFP Festival Forum at Independent Film Week-Save the Date!

IFP Festival Forum will present two days of seminars and presentations at IFP Independent Film Week (16th & 17th), with sessions looking at festival budgets, marketing and social media, the new tools and services for submitting films to festivals, “Meet the Programmers” where fests gain access to this year’s filmmakers and their new projects, and more.   Festivals receive 40% off.  Registration code and more details below.

Festival Forum IFW Mailer

WATCH: Marketing Webinar

In case you missed it, we’ve made our recent webinar, entitled Everyone is on the Marketing Team (and other things your co-workers don’t want to hear), available on YouTube. Please enjoy this archived presentation, and make sure to RSVP for future events.

To learn more, please check out the IFP Festival Forum on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Thanks!

Just a reminder: once you’ve watched the webinar (or if you were one of the original attendees), don’t forget to complete our survey here. We need your feedback in order to plan future events that will meet the needs of our growing community. Thanks!

IFP Festival Forum Webinar on 7/22: Everyone is on the Marketing Team…

The IFP Festival Forum was founded in an effort to connect members of the film festival community in a dynamic and engaged conversation around the work we do. In order for us to develop a tried-and-true set of best practices—allowing the smallest festival to be just as successful as the behemoth—we have to talk to each other and share our knowledge. Independent Film Week in September and the Art House Convergence in January are two places where these conversations happen, but how can we keep talking all year long?

We are pleased to announce the first in our series of monthly webinars around topics of interest to Forum members. The inaugural webinar, hosted by Chris Holland (Atlanta Film Festival), will uncover the mysteries of marketing your festival.

You are invited to join us online at 2pm ET / 11am PT on Tuesday, July 22, for an informative and interactive hour-long session entitled:

Everyone Is On The Marketing Team
(and other things your coworkers don’t want to hear)

In the language of film festivals: “If the house is packed, programming did a great job. If the seats are empty, marketing must have screwed up.”

Specialization and the compartmentalization of duties in any company — film festivals being no exception — disguise the fact that every decision you make about your event affects how the members of your audience see you. That means that every decision is a marketing decision, and every person who works for you must be aware of the marketing impact their actions have. Everyone, whether they want to admit it or not, is on the marketing team.

Want a sneak peek? Here are a few examples of tidbits we’ve learned:

* Programming is marketing. You must show movies that YOUR audience wants to see, and accept the fact that “good programming” may defy your own tastes and the tastes of others.

* Customer service is marketing. When it comes to new customers, trusted word of mouth has the power to override your other marketing efforts, so treat everyone well.

* Other areas traditionally not thought of as marketing that really are: budgeting, education, sponsorship…

You will also learn key concepts and ways to bring your entire staff onto the marketing bandwagon (and keep them happy once they are on board)!

The event is free to IFP Festival Forum members and friends, but space is limited. Please RSVP using EventBrite. Detailed instructions will be sent upon RSVP.

Chris Holland is the Operations and Marketing Director for the Atlanta Film Festival. He is also the author of Film Festival Secrets: A Handbook for Independent Filmmakers and a consultant on marketing and festival strategy for independent filmmakers around the world. Chris has worked on all sides of the festival circuit, including time spent at B-Side Entertainment, Slated, IFP, and the Austin Film Festival.  

Have an idea for a future webinar? Email