Film Festival Alliance

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FFA has announced a new partnership with the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, the official arts and film agency for the state of Kansas, which is dedicated to supporting the role the arts play in economic and community development. Together, the two organizations will present workshop, Developing A Flourishing Film Festival, on October 18th at Harvester Arts (215 N. Washington) in Wichita.

“Film festivals are a critical part of the cultural landscape in Kansas,” said Peter Jasso, Director of the KCAIC. “They provide communities a mechanism for sharing personal experiences across space and time and the opportunity to participate in a global conversation with artists and audiences from around the world. KCAIC views their continued development as critical to its mission of supporting the arts statewide.”

Film organizations, festivals and potential festivals from across the state, will gather for conversation centered around mission and organizational structure, developing audiences and indie cinema culture amongst new generations and regional communities, and the benefits and drawbacks, of curating and presenting independent cinema in the heartland region. The discussion will be led by FFA Board Member & Festival Consultant Jon Gann, and Lela Meadow-Conner, FFA’s Executive Director, both of whom were intimately involved in founding festivals.

Presented as the first annual conference, attendees will also provide feedback as to how to grow connections and collaborations between Kansas-area festivals. Festival organizers will then participate in FFA’s signature Meet the Festivals panel, at the 16th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, which  is designed to create an open dialogue to increase transparency between film festival professionals and filmmakers.

As the largest annual gathering of Art House cinema and festival professionals, community leaders, service providers and suppliers, the annual 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 Art House Convergence annual conference strengthen efforts to sustain Art House cinemas and film festivals of various sizes, operating structures and programming philosophies.

The goal of the annual conference is to engage art house theaters, film festivals, film societies, museums and other exhibition-oriented organizations through a variety of topics. Read More >

Looking for a few good folks?

In the spirit of collaboration (and sheer necessity,) we’re creating a database of seasonal festival staff, and our members have the exclusive ability to view potential hires with film festival experience, for their upcoming festivals.

Please help us spread the word within the film festival community so that we can share in each other’s successes, and cultivate future generations of festival professionals to help create a sustainable environment for our industry. Learn more >

Join Melissa Silverstein, founder of Women and Hollywood and Artistic Director and Co-founder Athena Film Festival, for an open conversation about the Film Festival Parity Pledge. Melissa has been at the forefront of the conversation with international festivals including Cannes, TIFF and others, and is working to bring the parity to festivals across North America. During this webinar, she will talk about the origin and definition of the parity pledge, proposed outcomes and timelines, and answer questions from festivals who are interested in taking the pledge.

Webinars are open to all festival professionals, and recordings are accessible for FFA members on the FFA member page shortly thereafter.

Login Instructions:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Andriod:
Telephone: 646-876-9923
Meeting ID: 428 854 7450

Through a partnership with the Film Festival Alliance, the Sundance Industry Office will offer five complimentary and five deeply discounted SIO Passes for the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, to FFA Members who identify as historically underrepresented festival professionals, in an effort to cultivate diversity within the film festival industry.

Interested parties must fill out this short questionnaire. Priority will be given to those festival professionals who have never had the opportunity to attend Sundance. Ten applicants will be selected by the FFA, and will be entered into a lottery, where they will receive either a fully comped SIO Pass ($850 value), or a discounted SIO Pass (rate of $375.)  Application deadline is October 12 and accepted applicants will be announced October 19.

Applicants must be current members of FFA, or belong to an organization who is a current member; and may not have received a comp SIO Pass for the 2016 or 2017 Sundance Film Festivals. *Read below for important information.

FFA and the Sundance Institute will also co-host the Festival Organizer’s Brunch on Tuesday, January 29, in Park City. All festival organizers and representatives are invited to attend

*Important Information:

*If your organization is already an SIO member, you will not need to register through the SIO office, and may still apply to obtain an SIO Pass after October 19th if you are not selected for the Diversity Pass Initiative.

*If you/your organization is NOT an SIO member, you will also need to email to in addition to filling out the Diversity Pass Program application. If you are selected for the Diversity Pass Initiative, you will automatically be enrolled as an SIO member. If you are not selected for the initiative, you will need to wait for your SIO membership application to be approved in order to purchase a pass.

*If you are definitely planning to attend the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, you should still apply for the SIO Pass through the SIO office; if you are selected to receive a comp or discounted pass, your credit card will not be charged or your price will be automatically discounted, respectively.

Regional Roundtable: Cucalorus

FFA’s third roundtable of 2018 takes place November 8-11 at the 24th annual Cucalorus Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina, sponsored by Eventive and FilmFreeway.

Open to all festival professionals, this 3-day workshop/festival experience will focus on the Human Capital it takes to run a film festival, with discussion topics including HR, seasonal staff, volunteer management and board partnerships, as well as specific sessions on data management, print traffic & DCP logistics. Additionally, the gathering will include networking events, group activities, FFA’s signature Meet the Festivals session, and a host of unexpected artistic collisions as we dive deep into the 24th annual Cucalorus Festival. Full agenda coming soon!

A number of complimentary Cucalorus Festival industry passes will be available by lottery for FFA members who register by October 11. Additional, deeply discounted passes will be available for members as well. Register now!

Film Festival Alliance (FFA) announced today it has named Lela Meadow-Conner as the organization’s Executive Director; She has served as Acting Executive Director since April 2017.

“FFA and the film festival industry have grown rapidly over the past several years. We’re thrilled to have Lela fill this important role at a critical time for the Alliance as we evolve from a grassroots movement into an institution that can support festival professionals and shape the future of our industry. Lela has the right mix of vision and experience to lead the organization into the new phase and I’m excited to work with her as we build, grow, and adapt,” said FFA Board President Dan Brawley, Chief Instigating Officer of Cucalorus Festival.

Meadow-Conner comes to Film Festival Alliance with over 15 years of experience in the film festival industry. A founder of the Tallgrass Film Festival, she filled several roles within that organization between 2003-2017, including six years as the popular festival’s Executive Director. She’s also served in consulting roles for the Woods Hole Film Festival, and most recently for Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, and has attended dozens of film festivals, nationally and internationally in various roles and capacities, as well.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with my peers at FFA, which is such an important organization for our industry. It’s a place where film festival professionals sincerely feel like they belong and know that the work they are doing is making a difference,” she said.Our environment is collaborative and inclusive, and our membership base is truly passionate about storytelling, independent film exhibition, supporting filmmakers, and enriching audiences. I look forward to working together to advance the film festival’s role in the entertainment ecosystem.”

The agenda is here for our second Regional Roundtable gathering, July 27-30th, at the 27th annual Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Support comes from Elevent and Film Freeway. Registration is $75, or $50 for FFA members. Lodging information can be found here. Industry Passes (good for the entire festival) are still available ($100 Pass for FFA members / $150 – Pass for non members.) Group discussions, centered around audience as stakeholders, take place on Saturday July 28th and Sunday July 29th along with FFA’s signature Meet The Programmers session. See the full agenda below.


July 27:
3:00pm: Group Tour Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory (Meet at WHFF office, 89 Water Street, Second Floor)

4:00pm: Welcome Drinks, Sponsored by Elevent

6:00pm: Private Party, RSVP Required

July 28:
9:00am-10:30am: Identifying & Expanding our Audience:
We will begin by identifying our existing audiences and then our aspirational audience. What should the audience of the future look like and how do we work to develop our audiences to reflect that? How can our marketing, messaging and planning attract and engage desired audiences and new demographics while retaining existing ones?

11:00am – 12:30pm: Fulfilling Audience Expectations:
How do we continue to provide the people what they want? Does a film festival’s programming need to include episodic, streaming, VR and other interdisciplinary art, and does our audience expect us to be leaders in new forms of visual entertainment? This session will explore whether or not the film festival needs to stay in constant evolution as technology and exhibition changes, and what our audiences really appreciate about and expect from what we provide.

12:30pm: Lunch

2:00-3:30pm: Audience Experience – Box Office:
How can we make the box office a seamless and accessible experience for our audiences? This session will attempt to tackle the box office beast. Topics include pricing, packaging, logistics, location, delivery, comp inventory, data tracking and audience experience within your box office platform, both digitally and physically. We will also discuss audience measurement and whether or not there might be a standardized way for festivals to count attendance.

Sunday, July  29:
9:00-10:15am: Audience Experience & Your Brand:
From a physical perspective, including venue selection, to concessions, logistics, parties, panels, accessibility, etc., how do festivals prioritize their audience’s experience? And how do you convey that experience virtually and year-round to create brand loyalty?

10:30am: Filmmaker Brunch (Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, Woods Hole Branch)

12:30pm: Meet the Programmers Session:
FFA’s flagship panel discussion is a two-way conversation between film festival professionals and filmmakers to create a more open dialogue about the festival process. More than 70 filmmakers will attend the session at Woods Hole Film Festival.

5:00pm: Sunday Drinks sponsored by Film Freeway

Monday, July 30:

10:45am: Martha’s Vineyard Excursion, for attendees and filmmakers, sponsored by Steamship Authority with a tour of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven.

Wednesday, July 18 @ 1:00pm ET (11:00am PT)

Cultivating a long-term relationship with your audience for increased engagement & sustainable revenue.

For every stakeholder, the first point of contact for your festival is likely going to be online. FFA partner Eventive presents July’s webinar, examine how to attract and retain your audience by creating a fun, easy to use and accessible online presence that communicates a consistent brand message and experience regardless of where they find you. Topics include staying on top of your multiple online channels and creating a feeling of belonging and ownership amongst your followers, maintaining a rich online experience for your users that reflects the essence of your festival, a fun ticket buying experience, easy ways for your audience to support you, email marketing and tracking audience and sponsor behavior with online analytics tools.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android (see the slides):
Call in from a phone: US: 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 428 854 7450

FFA partner Agile Ticketing Solutions presents “Demystifying Memberships,” on Wednesday, June 20 from  1:00-2:00pm EST. The presentation was given before a sold-out crowd at the 2018 Film Festival Alliance/Art House Convergence conference and Agile is back to share it with our festival community. The webinar includes overall guidance for establishing Membership Programs: is it right for your organization, why they are important, when you should start one, who your members are and where to find them, and maintaining the program, followed by a a Q&A with the Agile team.

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android (see the slides):
Call in from a phone: US: 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 428 854 7450