Film Festival Alliance

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Festivals Run on People: What Are They Being Paid?

The Film Festival Staffing, Workforce, & Compensation Survey, supported by Elevent and conducted by Sherwood B. Smith of Avenue ISR, looks at current salaries and wages across a range of roles within the festival landscape, current policies on organization culture, and offers insight into suggested best practices from festivals for hiring, retention, and workplace morale.

 The three objectives for the survey are:

  1. Learn from film festival leaders about their current approaches to using and compensating team members across a range of functions and roles.
  2. Determine current policies toward work from home, pandemic response, diversity/equity/inclusion and other current issues.
  3. Provide opportunities for film festival leaders to share best practices in hiring, retention and workplace morale.

 For FFA Members, you can access the recording of Woody’s presentation from Wednesday, June 22nd as well as dive in further to the data with an expanded presentation report, aggregated raw data, and an anecdotal report with suggested best practices from your festival colleagues. Please check the Member Resources page on our website or your email for a link to all of the above.

It is a common refrain that nonprofits pay low wages; the reasons range from ‘We put all the money into programs’ to ‘We’re cash-strapped.’ In our report, we find a mixed bag on wages – usually, the bigger the budget, the higher the wages, but not always. We also see certain roles command more secure employment (full-time, higher wages), while others less so (contractor + seasonal, lower wages) , without a clear connection as to why those roles are considered more, or less, important to the organization. We hope this expanded interpretation of the survey data offers questions and solutions you can take to your organization as you look towards improving and growing.

 tl;dr: People are the most valuable resource that your organization has. Don’t squander them.

We are small, mighty, and nimble
71% of festivals report their budgets are under $500,000. The median cash budgets for organizations are as follows:


Festivals report their income comes from a diversity of revenue. On average, organizations report no singular source generates more than 20% of their revenue. This balance can make for wonderful financial diversity, particularly in a pre/current recession period with high inflation like now. Overreliance on a particular revenue source can leave your organization financially vulnerable. Within some specific budget categories, organizations report sponsorship and admission revenue rising to the mid-20%. As you look ahead to 2023, consider where you might expand revenue generation in other categories to inflation-proof and recession-proof your sponsorship and admission dollars. 

Interestingly, organizations report, on average, 7% of their budget comes from submissions. This contradicts the oft-repeated idea that festivals make their money at the expense of filmmakers. While there is much progress to be made on filmmaker compensation, it is important to combat myths around festival sustainability. Of course, this number reflects the 108 organizations who participated in the survey, not the entire field. Yet there is opportunity here to communicate with filmmakers about the quality of festivals they engage with and how these budgets may look different than other festivals whose interests may lay in profit generation over all else.

Overall, this is great news because it reflects our nimbleness. The diversity of revenue streams gives your organization multiple paths to address funding much of what is outlined below. There are ample opportunities to increase our budget and reallocate our existing budgets towards the most valuable resource of our organizations: our people.

 

Can you move up in your organization?

 A great aspect of film festivals is that you often find passionate people working at them, particularly in higher-level roles. This can allow a smaller organization to grow or accomplish something greater because of the combined passion of the staff. However, without appropriate professional development or succession planning, festivals can suffer from stagnation in leadership (often referred to as ‘Founder’s Syndrome), or a substantial wage gap between the Executive Director, whose board sets their salary and conducts their reviews whilst also approving the organization’s budget, and the lowest paid worker, who relies on their manager to advocate for them in the budget, while the manager also must advocate for themselves in the budget.

Reviewing the average Executive Director salary versus the lowest average salary for full-time roles, we see that in organizations under $999,999, the average Executive Director earns less than 2 times as much as the lowest paid full-time worker. For organizations with budgets greater than $1million, the Executive Director makes, on average, 3.5 times as much as the lowest paid full-time worker. For these organizations, it’s important to review salaries and consider whether the gap between the highest and lowest earners is justified, or if it might be based on another element, like proximity to budget or power dynamics.

36% of organizations offer no approach to wage transparency. How do workers at your organization advocate for themselves and their staff without a clear picture of the finances? Your organization’s 990 may not give a full picture, but it will list the top earner’s salary. We encourage all folks to review their organization’s 990. Not just for wage transparency, but because understanding your organization’s resources is vital to decision-making at all levels.

The majority of organizations report their raises are based on tenure, skills, and replaceability, yet only 6% of organizations offer a career development pathway for all employees. How likely is it that someone gets a raise based on skills if they’re not offered opportunities to increase their skills? Consider the bias that might be going into your raises if based on subjective, non-measurable goals. For organizations of $1mil or more, none offered defined career development pathways, yet 64% offered annual reviews. Annual reviews can be great, when paired with measurable goals. Without that, what is your organization gaining from those reviews? And what are your staff gaining from them?

 Interestingly, 25% of organizations with budgets from $500K-$999K offered career development pathways, and are the most likely to have wage transparency in their organizations.

 How many jobs does it take to make a living?

The average salary in the U.S. for an individual in 2022 is $53,924 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In reviewing the median salary for all director-level roles, a few roles stood out. This is how it stacks up:

  • The Executive Director median salary meets or exceeds the average U.S. salary at all budget levels.
  • The Operations Director median salary does not meet or exceed the average U.S. salary for organizations with budgets less than $499K
  • The Programming Director median salary does not meet or exceed the average U.S. salary for organizations with budgets less than $999K
  • The Marketing Director median salary does not meet or exceed the average U.S. salary for organizations with budgets less than $499K
  • The median salary for Box Office Director, Technical Director, Hospitality Director and Volunteer Director does not meet or exceed the average U.S. salary for organizations at any budget level.

 

If working for a film festival often requires people to earn less than the average U.S. salary, how does that impact their life? It may look like working multiple jobs, living in a lower-cost area, relying on a partner or relative to financially support them, or building up debt to financially sustain themselves. 

In reviewing the average full-time salaries for these roles and comparing them to the average salary using the FT, PT, seasonal and contractor rates combined, the results are stark, particularly for Box Office and Tech.

For organizations with budgets under $250,000, the below jobs require people to work at least two festivals a year to make the same average wage as their full-time salaried colleagues:

  • Operations Director: $48,000 full-time vs $24,000 FT/PT/Seasonal/Contractor avg
  • Box Office Director: $45,000 full-time vs $12,000 FT/PT/Seasonal/Contractor avg
  • Technical Director: $52,000 full-time vs $19,000 FT/PT/Seasonal/Contractor avg

 For organizations with budgets under $500,000:

  • Programming Directors see an $18,000 reduction when going from Full time to the average wage of FT/PT/Seasonal/Contractor combined, from $47,000 to $29,000. 
  • Box Office Directors would need to work about three festivals a year, while tech directors would need to work about five festivals a year, to equal the average full-time salary.

 

For organizations with budgets over $1 million:

  • Programming Directors see a $14,000 reduction going from the average full-time salary to an average salary encompassing FT/PT/Seasonal/Contractor wages. 
  • Executive Director, Operations Director, Development Director, and Artistic Director salaries remain the same. 
  • This suggests that the above four roles are predominantly, if not exclusively, hired in full-time capacities, while Programming Directors could be part time, seasonal, or contractors for an organization of this budget size.

 

Why does any of this matter? It matters because it means that many of these roles, like Programming Director, and particularly Box Office and Tech, offer unstable employment. It means that your organization could see higher turnover from year-to-year in your box office staff and technical staff because of financial uncertainty. This means you are spending more of your money on training and hiring new folks each year. Consider the implications on your festival program if your Programming Director and Programming staff are juggling multiple jobs to pay their bills. Consider whether increasing your spending on employee retention might go further for your budget and your organizational culture. 

 

Unstable employment is aggravated by the independent contractor model. Being an independent contractor can be a beneficial financial choice by an individual. Too often, it is used in an exploitative manner, which is reflected in the tightening of labor regulations in various states (i.e. California). Independent contractors are obligated to pay the employer AND the employee share of taxes. The federal rate is currently 15.3%, plus state + local tax where applicable. Independent contractors are usually excluded from benefits like health insurance and retirement. The average cost for health insurance for an individual in the U.S. is $7,739, and for families, $22,221. How is your organization structured? Who gets to be a full time worker? A part time worker? An independent contractor responsible for their own taxes, health insurance, computer, the list goes on…? 

  • Organizations report 78% of Executive Directors, 46% of Operations Directors and 39% of Programming Directors are full-time.
  • 100% of organizations with budgets over $500,000 reported hiring independent contractors.

 

Consider the tax burden on those folks when you’re budgeting their pay. For organizations where offering group health insurance is a challenge (Film Festival Alliance employees live in multiple states – no one wants to insure us as a group!), look at options like ICHRA, QSEHRA or even a taxable monthly stipend to offset the expense. Given that many independent contractors, seasonal workers, and part time folks must work at multiple jobs in a year, is there an opportunity to team up with other festivals in your state to offer health benefits? A joint retirement fund for your state? Is there a donor in your organization who wants to make an impact not just on your organization, but on the field as a whole? Start talking with your neighbor orgs and see what you can dream up together.

 

Is your organization unintentionally exploiting workers through the exempt/non-exempt loophole?

 

Film festivals take passionate people to run them. Passionate people are often willing to put in the hours and work it takes to get something done. The Herculean effort to put on a festival requires many passionate people, and it can feel great to do it! The impact on your audience, on your community, and the pride you take in the work you’ve done. All of that is wonderful and positive and should be celebrated.

 However, this can lead to what Dr. Aaron Kay calls ‘the Passion Tax.’ Those same passionate people can put in far more hours than they are compensated for, combined with below-market salaries, lack of benefits, and the inevitable burnout, festival flu, or crash.

 Organizations report the majority of director-level roles are exempt from being paid overtime. In recent years, the Department of Labor ruled that as long as an employee earned at least $35,568 annually, they could be exempt from overtime (with exceptions and conditions). Remember that the average U.S. salary is $53,490. The report also shows that Technical Director, Box Office Director, Artistic Director, and Programming Director are all more likely to be exempt from overtime than the Executive Director. Each of those roles tend to be heavy on the hours and expected labor. Think about all the DCPs coming in, the multiple screenings tended to, the endless customer service requests, and hundreds, if not thousands, of screening links to review. These tasks are critical to your festival, but they may be getting done by folks who are not only at risk of burning out, but also inadequately compensated for their positions.

 

Does your organization track hours for all employees, regardless of exempt/non-exempt status? It is incredibly important to understand how much time it actually takes to put your event on. Run the numbers yourself – how many hours of overtime did you put in during 2021? What would the organization have had to pay you if you were paid overtime rates for all of that work? Knowing that paying you the full rate of your time may be financially crippling, consider how else your organization could approach fair compensation. It could be as straightforward as allowing you to fill the open position in your department, or as complex as reimagining your festival to better accommodate the resources you do have access to.

 

Are you paying to do your job?
Most of us spent the last two years working from home during the pandemic. 84% of organizations report offering staff the opportunity to work from home. The report did not ask whether organizations are paying stipends to remote workers. In lieu of hard data here, ask these questions of your own organization:

  • Are you offering a home office monthly stipend?
  • Are you offering a one-time home office set up fee?
  • If you are paying a stipend, is it going to full time employees only? Consider that part time, seasonal and independent contractors are paying those same expenses.

 

The average cost for a P.C. in 2022 is $820. The average monthly internet cost in the U.S. is $68.38. The average monthly cell phone bill is $127.37. A computer, broadband internet, and a telephone are requirements for nearly every job in the festival world. Consider how much of your home internet and mobile phone usage is for work vs. personal.

 Further, consider who your employees are if they must have and maintain a computer, internet and telephone at their own expense. Who are you not hiring? Who is not applying for your open positions due to the expense of working for you? Who among your staff is struggling to cover those bills on top of low wages?

 

Words, limited action
Nearly half of organizations report not offering detailed procedures for reporting incidents of discrimination and/or bias within the organization. Yet 85% of organizations report they provide an environment for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs. How is that measurable if the means of reporting a discriminatory incident don’t exist?

Only 39% of organizations report that prospective candidates will see diversity among the people they meet in their first visit to your organization. Consider who makes up your executive staff and your full time staff. If your organization is diverse, consider which departments or employment status report the most diversity. Is the majority of your diversity among your part time, seasonal and independent contractors? Consider the implications of that, given that those positions often reflect unstable employment.

 Important to note that as budgets grow, more organizations report having detailed procedures in place and greater diversity. More resources often lead to more staff, departments and more formalized procedures over all. However, there is no reason these can’t be right-sized to your budget. It doesn’t take resources to make a diverse organization, it takes reflection.

––

We are dealing with limited funds, no bones about it. Nonprofits historically do a lot of work with limited budgets. We can take pride in the work we’ve accomplished under those conditions, but we do not need to accept or keep those conditions as we move forward.

 The festival community is a generous, supportive network. We can work better together in tackling many of these systemic issues, uplifting those of us making progress, and offering assistance to those of us struggling with the next steps.

Our recommended next step? Share this and our report with your staff and board. Then, host a conversation (or several). What comes up? What new paths emerge for your organization?

As always, we’re here for you.

 

Inflation + The Impact on Film Festivals: Watch the Playback

On May 11th, Film Festival Alliance hosted a free discussion with festival’s around the country to discuss inflation.

Watch the recording here.
Access code: R+2B*KS9

About the session:

Inflation is at its highest in the last forty years. This means everything from festival merch to venue rentals to wages to ticket prices are going up, and donations from funders and individuals are going down (if not in direct $ amount, then at least in value).

Recommended Reading:
Articles written and/or sourced by Vu Le of NonprofitAF

A letter from Executive Director Barbara Twist

Dear FFA community,

I am grateful to begin this next chapter of Film Festival Alliance with all of you in my new role as Executive Director. I first encountered the Film Festival Alliance community through the Art House Convergence conference, as we collaborated on shared programming. Over the years, our partnership expanded, until Lela asked me to join as the Director of Membership in January 2020. My singular focus on membership had to shift as Lela led the FFA community through one of our most difficult times in recent history. We expanded virtual programming, looked for new ways for collaboration, and actively interrogated long-held beliefs and practices within our organizations, from office culture to pay equity to working hours. I am very much looking forward to building on Lela’s work, and working together as a community during the next challenging chapter of recovery as we shift out of the pandemic.

I want to share a portion of the letter I sent to the hiring committee as part of my application. In it, I outline my beliefs for collaborative working and my key tenets. It is important to me that you know where I stand and where I come from as we move this community forward together:

Exhibition is my ancestry. My great-grandfather founded a chain of movie theaters in Michigan in the early 1900s which served as places of joy, entertainment, and refuge from the stressors of daily life. These theaters were fixtures of small-town America, connecting communities across divides of class, race, and generation. When I graduated from college, I found myself unexpectedly working at one of the original Butterfield theaters: the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Long since turned non-profit, the theater was no longer connected to the Butterfield chain, which shuttered in the 1980s, yet remained linked through their shared mission of bringing the community together to watch movies. My first festival experience was at the Michigan: the Ann Arbor Film Festival. The thrill of hopping from one screening to the next, of bumping into filmmakers in the theater lobby, and of that indescribable ‘festival feeling’ we all know showed me the expansive power of community-based exhibition. I am deeply committed to continuing my family’s legacy of exhibition, of refuge-seeking, of entertaining all ages, and of bringing joy (and sorrow) to the big screen.

Throughout the last decade of working in the film community, I have observed a diverse set of work ethos, management style, and commitment to values. Through this, I have identified what is effective and sustainable for me, and what I can bring to my role with Film Festival Alliance. I believe in putting people first and honoring boundaries. I believe in establishing boundaries through clear and consistent communication. I believe in growing deeper before growing wider, in strengthening one’s mission before expanding it. I believe in getting back to the basics and building a stable financial foundation. I believe in a consistent, quality experience, and in doing a few things well, rather than many things of lesser quality. Most importantly, I believe in abundance, not scarcity, in rising tides floating all boats, and in community as the best path forward for collective health and growth.

In my two years with Film Festival Alliance, and my decade of working with exhibitors, I have developed three core tenets that I believe are foundational to supporting a national community, particularly of exhibitors who are themselves supporting a diverse community of artists and audiences. As the Executive Director, I will use these as my guides for decision-making and goal-setting for the organization.

Community: Establishing trust and a sense of camaraderie among exhibitors allows for the sharing of resources, advice, and hope, which instills a belief in the abundance model, over the traditional non-profit scarcity model.

Education: Through professional development, leadership training, and data sharing, the health and longevity of the community is ensured because exhibitors are able to make informed decisions, challenge existing power structures, and focus on personal growth, which leads to organizational growth.

Advocacy: Through collective action, exhibitors can tackle structural issues, such as accessibility and access, pay equity, and racism within existing organizational models, and increase the awareness of the festival community on a national level, from funders to media.

I want to close in gratitude to all of you for showing up and making this community the friendly, collaborative space that it is. I am honored to be part of it, and I am excited to share with you our renewed vision for Film Festival Alliance over the coming months.

You can always reach me at barbara [at] filmfestivalalliance.org. I may not respond within a day as I am part-time, but I will get back to you ☺ We’ve got exciting work ahead of us!

Until then,
Barbara

Barbara Twist named Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance

The Film Festival Alliance is pleased to announce the hiring of Barbara Twist as the organization’s new part-time executive director, effective May 1, 2022. Barbara has served FFA in multiple roles since 2020, most recently as interim executive director.

“After an extensive international search, we are proud to permanently appoint Barbara to spearhead FFA’s efforts. Her experience within the organization is invaluable and her passion for community, education, and advocacy through film exhibition is unmatched,” says Alyx Picard, FFA board president. “We look forward to our continued work supporting all film festival organizations and staff as we navigate recent shifts in the film industry, champion inclusive environments for storytelling, and lead the charge on equitable and fair practices for festival workers, filmmakers, and film organizations alike.”

An L.A.-based filmmaker and exhibition consultant, Barbara has been involved in the independent exhibition sector for over a decade. She previously worked with Art House Convergence as Managing Director until 2017, and in recent years has consulted for organizations including Europa Cinemas, Europa International, and IndieCollect. Since 2020, Barbara has worked with the Vidiots Foundation, a non-profit Los Angeles-based movie theater + video store, and will continue to serve as their part-time Director of Partnerships. Barbara holds an MFA in Creative Producing from Columbia University and has produced several award-winning short films. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

“My first festival experience, at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, introduced me to that indescribable ‘festival feeling’ and the expansive power of community-based exhibition,” says Barbara Twist, FFA Executive Director. “At FFA, festivals are our focus, yet we acknowledge we are part of a larger film ecosystem that faces many critical challenges. I have great hope for our future because I believe in the passion and commitment of my colleagues and our collective belief in an abundance model made of shared resources, advice, and comradery. I see this new role as an incredible opportunity to support and grow the exhibition community about whom I am so very passionate.”

Twist will build on the strong foundation laid by her predecessor, Lela Meadow-Conner, who departed in February to head mama.film, after shepherding the organization successfully through the pandemic by more than doubling its budget and introducing innovative programs over the last five years, including FilmEx. In the first year of her tenure, along with her staff and board, Twist will focus FFA on addressing pressing issues of accessibility, fair labor practices, racial inequity within the festival community, and futureproofing festivals’ financial health amid inflation.

Film Festival Alliance seeks partner for new logo design and style guide: Request for Proposal

Film Festival Alliance (FFA) seeks to establish a new logo and brand identity that can be used throughout our marketing efforts to build stronger brand awareness within the communities it serves. 

About Film Festival Alliance:
Film Festival Alliance is a not-for-profit organization serving film festivals and the people who run them.

We foster a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals, advocate for a sustainable and inclusive environment within the cinema exhibition ecosystem, and create a powerful collective voice for our industry.

Accessibility and inclusivity are critical to our mission and to this specific project. This new brand identity must reflect these core values and we request all proposals take this into consideration.

FFA is seeking a creative, qualified freelance graphic designer, design firm, or agency to create a strong graphic logo that will also establish a new brand palette, font/typeface, and style guide for our marketing materials. For reference here is a link to our current logo package. We do not currently have a brand style guide.

Project:

Logo:

  • Designer to provide 3-4 logo concepts to accompany proposed color palette
  • FFA team to make up to 3 rounds of revisions on the selected concept

Style Guide:
A set of standards for the design of documents, signage, and any other brand identifier. To be used to ensure complete uniformity in style and formatting wherever the brand is used to ensure no dilution of that brand. The final style guide including logos and fonts must be designed with accessibility in mind. We strongly recommend referring to this Accessibility Guide to verify compliance.

FFA requests that the designer or firm present 3-4 mood board concepts of typeface and color palettes for the style guide.

Deliverables

  • Brand style guide including creative parameters for logo usage, color palette with values, typefaces, graphic styles, and relevant information for brand consistency
  • Print (CMYK) logo files in all color variations –  vector (.ai, .pdf, .svg, .eps), and high-resolution JPG formats
  • Digital (RGB) logo files in all color variations – vector (.ai, .pdf, .svg, .eps), JPG, and transparent PNG formats
  • 5 editable Canva templates
  • Social media profile and header graphics for Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, and Youtube placements. 
  • Canva presentation deck template (5 slides)
  • Email layout template
  • Business card design
  • Letterhead and envelope design

Film Festival Alliance will retain copyrights to all images, logos, style guides, designs, color treatments, fonts, and templates created by the designer and/or firm.

Timeline:

April 25, 2022: RFP responses due to gray@filmfestivalalliance.org

May 3, 2022: Selected designer, firm, or agency notified.

June 24, 2022: Logo & brand identity project finalized.

 

RFP Delivery & Requirements:
This is an open and competitive process for all qualified freelance graphic designers and reputable design firms. Interested candidates must respond by end of the day (5 P.M. Pacific Time) on April 25, 2022, by emailing Gray Rodriguez (gray@filmfestivalalliance.org) with the following information:

About statement: A 3-5 sentence introductory paragraph about you or your business.


Skills/Creativity:
Please demonstrate through the submission of portfolio samples, including assignment and/or speculative projects that demonstrate technical and creative execution, particularly for similar projects. You should also be able to document/demonstrate the full scope of the various services your firm provides.

Examples:

  • Two (2) Examples of your Style Sheet Design Work
  • Two (2) Examples of your Logo Design Work

Pricing Structure/Rates:
Please provide comprehensive pricing and/or rate sheet for all potential services you might provide under this RFP agreement. Film Festival Alliance has budgeted up to $4,000 for this project.

Questions about the RFP process or submissions can be directed to Gray Rodriguez at gray@filmfestivalalliance.org.

A Message from Lela Meadow-Conner

Dear FFA Community,

I am writing to let you know that February 28th will be my last day as Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance. Just before the winter holiday, I let our leadership and staff know of my plans to move on in early 2022 in pursuit of other projects, namely my work with mama.film, our rePRO Film initiative and other producing and creative consulting opportunities. Our wonderful Associate Director Barbara Twist will step in as Interim Executive Director, while we undergo a search and until the position is filled. I will remain in a consulting position through the end of May to assist with special projects including the FilmEx Regional at the Atlanta Film Festival (April 28-May 1.)

We are a robust community and this transition comes at a most opportune time! As FFA completes its strategic plan, embarks on an organizational rebrand, and stands in good fiscal health, it’s the ideal time for a new era of leadership to steer us into our next iteration as an industry-wide trade and advocacy organization.

It’s an understatement to say that it has been a true honor to have played a role in building our community of film festival professionals over the last five years. When I started as Acting Executive Director in spring of 2017, I was a very part-time contractor of one, with a budget of $33,000, and a membership of 100. Building on the foundation established by FFA’s founders, and my predecessor Jon Gann, we have accomplished a great deal:

  • Expanded to three part-time employees
  • Grown our budget in excess of $250,000
  • Received $120,000 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts since 2020
  • Built a membership that now surpasses 250.
  • Presented several regional gatherings, three FilmEx conferences, two Leadership Labs and pivoted to regular virtual programming (and back!)
  • Cemented lasting partnerships with industry organizations and stakeholders.

I am profoundly thankful to Barbara Twist and Gray Rodriguez for the excellent contributions they have made to the organization. Their professionalism and thoughtful attention to the work has elevated FFA even more, and has absolutely made me a better leader. I am also grateful to the Board for their wonderful stewardship and especially to the two Board Presidents whom I have served alongside as a true partnership – Dan Brawley and Cara Ogburn, as well as the most recent Executive Committee including Alyx Picard, Beth Barrett and Linda Broker. The championship that they have provided to the staff throughout the pandemic has been second to none.

Although what I will undoubtedly miss the most are the people I’ve been fortunate to interact with every day, I look forward to joining and becoming an active member. I leave FFA in great hands, and with an abundance of excitement at what the future holds for this organization!

Lela
Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director
Film Festival Alliance

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.

 

 

 

2022 SIO Diversity Pass Recipients

 

In an effort to increase the diversity of film festival professionals, organizers and programmers with access to Sundance Industry screenings, FFA partnered with the Sundance Industry Office for the fourth year, to award 8 FFA members who identify with historically underrepresented communities with 4 comp and 4 half-priced SIO Passes. FFA is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2022 SIO Diversity Pass Program. Looking forward to Sundance 2022!

Of the 2022 recipients, seven are women or non-binary, and the group represents African American, Pakistani, Asian-American, South Asian, and Latinx cultures, as well as the disabled community.

Recepients:
Neha Aziz, Cleveland International Film Festival and Austin Asian American Film Festival
Roxbury International Film Festival
Lisa Simmons, Roxbury International Film Festival
Lukia Costello, MicroMania Film Festival
Vianca Vega, Oak Cliff Film Festival
Rabia Sitabi, Horrible Imaginings/ Amsterdamned/ Halloween Horror Show Amsterdam / CinemAsia
Inney Prakash, Prismatic Ground, San Diego Asian Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Freep Film Festival
Krupa Kanaiya, ​​Atlanta Film Festival
Ivonne Cotorruelo, Cleveland International Film Festival

2022 Proposed Board of Directors Slate

Below is the list of nominees who make up the 2022 proposed Board of Directors slate. Each director serves a three year (3) term and may run again one time for a consecutive three year (3) term. Please return to Election Runner to cast your vote.

New Nominees

Karen Cardarelli, Executive Director of Facets Multi-media since 2020 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 review Theatre 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 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 (New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SIFF), he has also worked at Sundance, Mill Valley, SXSW, Doc NYC, NewFest, Woodstock, Rooftop Films and Hamptons International Film Festival.

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 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 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.

Returning Board Members

Linda Broker is the Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Women’s Film. Currently in its 34th year, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival is the oldest women’s film festival in North America. Linda’s passion for film as a catalyst for the community began when she started volunteering for the festival in 1994. During the following seven years, she served the festival in various capacities, including Programming chair and Operations chair, before being hired as the first executive director of the organization in 2001.
Linda has led the organization through a period of tremendous growth and today RMWF has an active year-round presence. In addition to the November festival, three other events take place annually, including a Filmmakers Retreat. Screenings are also hosted regularly in the RMWF “microcinema” and the Film in the Community program offers free screenings throughout the year in diverse locations throughout Colorado Springs.

Alyx Picard-Davis is the Executive Director of deadCenter Film. In its 20th year, deadCenter has grown from a one-night screening of Oklahoma short films to a year-round organization with award-winning programs that provide free film classes to 3,000 high school students each fall, free film seminars for hundreds of working professionals each quarter, free film screenings every month, and an annual film festival that brings 33,000 people to downtown Oklahoma City for the most exciting weekend of the year. A long-time volunteer for the festival in host, events, transportation, and programming, Alyx was hired full-time in 2013. She has worked with budding rock stars at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, and she currently serves on UCO’s Alumni Board where she graduated with a BA in English-Creative Studies. She worked in the production office on “The Killer Inside Me,” the star-filled serial killer film made in Guthrie, Oklahoma. She co-produced Lance McDaniel’s award-winning film “Swirl,” and the 2017 OKC48 film “Previously on Alley Cats.” She continues to produce and advise on a few short films every year.Kevin Sampson, Executive Director, DC Black Film Festival

Kevin Sampson is the Executive Director, DC Black Film Festival. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, radio show/podcast, and hour long film review TV show. He has served as the director of the Rosebud Film Festival since 2013. He created the DC Black Film Festival in 2016 in an effort to create a space to exhibit quality productions by and about people of African descent. In 2017 Kevin launched Picture Lock PR to represent some of the many great independent films he sees on a regular basis. Kevin received the 2018 Donald H. McGannon Award for his work with women and people of color in media. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, North Carolina Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. His weekly radio show can be heard on Fridays on WERA 96.7FM.

Erica Thompson is the Deputy Executive Director of Ashland Schools Foundation. Erica has held numerous staff positions at the Milwaukee Film Festival as well as the Ashland Independent Film Festival, where she most recently served as Executive Director. She now leads an education foundation while providing consulting services to film festivals. Her particular areas of interest and expertise lie in finance, ops, and appreciation of cat appearances on Zoom.

FilmEx 2022 Registration is Now Open!

FilmEx returns January 2022!

REGISTER FOR FILMEX HERE

For three full days, January 10th, 12th, and 14th, 2022 we will host virtual sessions, workshops, and discussions on current and evergreen industry topics.

With multiple tracks including Programming, Development, Marketing, and Operations, sessions will tackle critical issues facing festivals and cinemas. Programming announcements will roll out over the next month, so keep an eye out to see who will be speaking this year!

Registration will open in mid-November for individuals and organizations. With over 900 attendees at the January 2021 FilmEx, we cannot wait to welcome even more of you this January.

From full-time staff to seasonal workers, board members to advisory councils, we encourage you to bring your whole team to participate. Sessions will be offered at a range of levels, accommodating all skillsets and giving everyone from your Executive Director to your Executive Assistant an opportunity to meet their peers and discuss the biggest challenges facing them for the new year.

Pricing:

INDIVIDUAL
$100 FFA MEMBER / $150 NON-MEMBER

SMALL ORG (Under $500k annual budget)
$250 – includes up to 5 attendees

MEDIUM ORG (Under $1m annual budget)
$350 – includes up to 7 attendees

LARGE ORG: (Over $1m annual budget)
$450 -includes up to 9 attendees

Conference passes are on sale now.

 

 

2022 SIO Diversity Pass Program

For the fourth year, through a partnership with the Film Festival Alliance, the Sundance Industry Office (SIO) will offer five complimentary and five discounted SIO Industry Passes for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

This opportunity is open to FFA members who identify as historically underrepresented festival professionals in an effort to cultivate diversity within the film festival industry.

All applicants must be current members of FFA, or belong to an organization that is a current member, and may not have received a comp SIO Industry Pass for the 2020 or 2021 Sundance Film Festivals.

Follow this link to complete the application by October 11th

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 SIO@sundance.org 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
For current SIO members, please wait to register for your SIO pass until you have received a decision about your Diversity Pass Initiative application.

 

 

https://forms.gle/EtKZxZJSkUgjpoeL8

 

FilmEx 2022 Town Hall

An open 90-minute session on September 15th at 1:30 PM Central
Join us for our town hall as we start planning toward Film Ex January. This is your chance to share what you want to see in terms of programming and format. We are also interested in hearing from individuals interested in joining the programming committee.

Keep your eyes open for a zoom link in the future.

FilmEx July Sessions Schedule

Join us for two days of thought-provoking, challenging conversations with industry peers and allied thinkers.

Day One: Wednesday, July 14th presented by Eventive

9:30 AM: NEA Accessibility Workshop

The National Endowment for the Arts Accessibility Team, along with filmmakers and festivals, presents information on accessibility standards for film fests.

11:00 AM: WHY-brid? Returning to An IRL Fest

How do we migrate back to in-person events and maintain the importance of physical connection around cinema?

11:00 AM: Definition: Executive Director

Becoming an Executive Director can be the chance of a lifetime to understand your community and how art serves it. In reality, the job description often differs from the actual responsibilities of the role with an ED being expected to wear many more hats. What are the core functions of this leadership role and the universal truths about marrying service and business? As we see a greater turnover of ED positions across our industry, what can we learn from the old guard and how can we look at new models of leadership to ensure that we are educating and nurturing the ED’s of our future?

12:15 PM: Framing the Future: Hiring Your Next Executive Director

With a large number of ED vacancies, we’ll examine best hiring practices from HR and hiring professionals across our own and other industries, about what organizations should be looking for in filling this leadership role.

2:30 PM: Who Should Alan Hire? Designing An Org Chart From the Ground Up

In this hypothetical exercise, Alan LaFave (Hell’s Half Mile) has been given various sums of money to make the first hires for his all-volunteer-run festival. This workshop will allow participants to create a dream org chart from the ground up.

4:15 PM: Peace Out: Do You Believe in Life After Fests?

Leaving a festival, or even the industry, on your own accord or through the decision of others, can be fraught with fear, confusion, and doubt. How do you transfer the incredible skill set developed while running a festival, and learn how to present and adapt them for other sectors of our industry or other industries altogether? We’ll hear from festival folks who’ve made the decision to move on!

5:45 PM: Short Circuit: Maintaining the Spark/Avoiding the Burnout

Join us for an off-the-record conversation around what contract workers hope will change (unionizing?!) as our industry moves forward?

 

Day Two: Thursday, July 15th presented by Eventhub

10:00AM: Show Me The Money: A Case Study

FFA and New Orleans Film Society will discuss the implementation of payroll and transparency-pay within their organizations.

11:00AM: Actualizing Safety & Belonging: A Case Study From the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

12:15 PM: Accessibility: How to Build An Organizational Culture

1:30PM: Show THEM The Money: Why Filmmaker Compensation Matters

A conversation about the results of FFA & Dear Producer‘s Filmmaker Compensation Survey and why we need to be paying attention to this topic if festivals want to remain critical to independent film distribution.

1:30PM: Bang for Your Buck: The New Social Media

We’ll hear from festivals who’ve gone beyond the traditional socials and are using platforms like Clubhouse, TikTok and Letterboxd to build and engage new audiences. Has it been successful and is it worth your time?

2:45PM: FFA Vendor Roundtable + Bingo

Hear what our vendor partners have been up, what discounts they’re offering to our members, and win some prizes!

4:00PM: Both…And: Thinking Outside the ‘Category’

A continuation of our FilmEx January conversations around programming categories and awards. Are we alienating audiences and filmmakers with tags and labels?

5:15PM: Speed Networking presented by Eventhub

Get to know your fellow FilmExers and film festival folks!

Meet the 2021 Film Festival Leadership Lab Fellows

Film Festival Alliance and Full Spectrum Features are proud to present the 2021 Film Festival Leadership Lab cohort. This group of outstanding individuals was selected by the FFA & FSF teams based on their experience, career goals, and commitment to critically examining the festival industry.

The group includes Lillian Kazanis (Operations Director, Woods Hole Film Festival), Christina Lang (Program Manager, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project/International Queer Women of Color Film Festival), Ceci Leon (Program Manager, Atlanta Film Society), Dominique Oneil (Programming & Hospitality Manager, Frameline), Kristal Sotomayor (Programming Director, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival), Molly Veh (Artist Services Manager, Milwaukee Film), Victoria Yeung (Operations Manager, Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival), and Mariam Zaidi (Executive Director, Breakthroughs Film Festival).

The 2021 Lab was created in partnership with Full Spectrum Features with support from Stephen Sloan of the Humane Leadership Institute, as an opportunity to provide fellows with professional development, support, and networking that promotes agency, equitable leadership, career vision, and essential industry skills. This year, the lab is asking its cohorts to radically reimagine the film festival industry and challenge the status quo to examine and discuss what it means to be a film festival moving forward.

Get to know our 2021 fellows below!

2021 Leadership Lab Fellows

Lillian Kazanis (she/her), Operations Manager, Woods Hole Film Festival (MA)

Lillian Kazanis is a creative executive who is innovative in producing systems of support for the arts and well-being in communities. Her drive for creating events that make a difference is rooted in her desire to give everyone a chance to experience art and health as an integral part of life. Her work is cognizant of the connections between mental, emotional, and physical well-being and the effect the arts have on wellness.

Christina Lang (she/her),  Program Manager, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project/International Queer Women of Color Film Festival (CA)

Christina Lang is a queer biracial Chinese-American filmmaker and artist dedicated to advancing justice and equity. She holds a B.A. in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Bates College, with a minor in African American Studies. Christina first joined QWOCMAP in 2017 because she is committed to serving and empowering queer and transgender people of color communities. Named Program Manager in 2019, Christina coordinates and manages the International Queer Women of Color Film Festival, the award-winning QWOCMAP Filmmaker Training Program, and QWOCMAP’s boutique Distribution Program with the largest catalog of QTBIPOC films in the world.

Ceci Leon (she/her), Operations Manager, Atlanta Film Society (GA) 

Born and raised in Atlanta, Ga., Ceci has always been eager to make her hometown an inclusive space for filmmaking. After graduating from college, she worked for several non-profit organizations aimed to support Atlanta’s film industry. While working in various roles in film, Ceci has also served as the Operations Manager for the Atlanta Film Society since 2017. In 2019, she joined forces as co-producer of the comedy webseries ‘Real Fakes’—her first indie project as a producer. Ultimately, her goal is to be a connector in film exhibition and film production for filmmakers of color.

Dominque Oneil (they/them), Programming & Hospitality Manager, Frameline (CA) 

Dominique Oneil is a film programmer and curator based in San Francisco. They have contributed to the programming at Frameline, Palm Springs ShortFest, and Mill Valley Film Festival, and have worked in various capacities at Sundance Film Festival, SFFILM, and Seattle International Film Festival. Dominique is also the Grilled Cheese Eating Champion on the West Coast.

Kristal Sotomayor (she/they), Programming Director, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PA) 

Kristal Sotomayor is a bilingual Latinx festival programmer, documentary filmmaker, and freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. They serve as the Programming Director for the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Co-Founder/Journalist for ¡Presente! Media, and are on the Editorial Board for the film journal cinéSPEAK. Formerly, Kristal was the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at Scribe Video Center. Currently, they are in post-production on Expanding Sanctuary, an independent short documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by nonprofit Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. Kristal writes the Latinx cinema column “Cine alzando voz” for cinéSPEAK.

Molly Veh (she/they), Artist Services Manager, Milwaukee Film (WI)

Molly Veh (she/they) is the Artist Services Manager and EDI Co-Lead at Milwaukee Film. Prior to Milwaukee Film, she worked in arts education and advocacy at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Dramatists Guild of America.

However, they are first and foremost a storyteller. She refined this skill at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where she received a BFA in Dramatic Writing. They are also a devoted comic book nerd, cat mom, wannabe tarot reader, and roller derby badass-in-training.

Victoria Yeung (she/her), Operations Manager, Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival (Toronto) 

Victoria Yeung is the current Operations Manager at Canada’s largest queer film festival, Inside Out. She believes in the transformative and healing ability of art and strives to always bring critical analysis, and more importantly, fun, to her work. Coming from previous experience at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, she has a background in event production, communications, and anti-oppression work. Victoria is based in Toronto and has been using her pandemic time to tackle an ever-growing watch list (including one very ambitious Nic Cage movie project) and radically daydreaming a better world into existence.

Mariam Zaidi (she/her), Executive Director, Breakthroughs Film Festival (TX)

Mariam Zaidi is a South Asian filmmaker, film programmer, and festival leader based in Toronto, Canada. Zaidi’s work has been funded and supported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Arts Council, BravoFACT! Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent, and the National Film Board of Canada. Alongside her independent film work, Zaidi has held multiple roles at local arts organizations and festivals including the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Regent Park Film Festival, European Union Film Festival, Toronto Animated Image Society, and Images Festival. She currently holds the position of Associate Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, International Programmer at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, and Executive Director of Breakthroughs Film Festival.

2021 FFA Festival Audience Survey

Film Festival Alliance is pleased to announce the return of the FFA Audience Survey. This is a great opportunity for festivals to better understand and compare your audiences against national benchmarks, secure more sponsors and build support in our communities. We are continuing our work with Avenue ISR for the survey. You can review the 2020 Audience Survey results here.

This year, we’re changing it up! The survey will be issued on a rolling basis until December 10th, 2021. You tell us when you’d like to send it out, and we’ll get you a custom survey link.

Learn more about the survey and sign up for your organization to participate here.

Member Spotlight: Ashland Independent Film Festival

The Ashland Independent Film Festival has been long known as a destination festival for its beautiful region and generous hospitality. For the past 20 years, AIFF has lifted underrepresented voices and highlighted the best of American independent cinema during its five-day live event in April. Since the spring of 2020, AIFF has been offering virtual screening opportunities.

What are some things that set your festival apart?

What normally sets AIFF apart is the surrounding beauty of the region, the hospitality of the community, the highly engaged audiences, and an emphasis on multi-arts programming (“live cinema” events blending theater, music, and visual art with film). In the spring of 2020, AIFF became one of the first film festivals to move into the virtual space. Online, we keep as much of our usual atmosphere alive as possible by including filmmaker Q&A’s after every screening and hosting live virtual parties – during which filmmakers and community members interact face-to-face. The 2021 festival is a hybrid “double feature” — virtual April 15-29 and live and outdoors June 24-28, and future festivals will retain a hybrid approach.

How has being a Film Festival Alliance member impacted your organization?

AIFF’s leadership has found FFA to be an incredible resource over the years while navigating the unique and nuanced challenges of our industry, especially during the pandemic. Opportunities to connect with similar organizations, both online and at regional festivals, have proven to provide great insight and inspiration.

What should every filmmaker know about your festival/organization?

AIFF celebrates all artists and honors them by offering complete transparency throughout the submission process and by paying screening fees for every film in the festival (including revenue shares during the virtual festival) as well as cash awards for juried and audience-selected prizes. During live festivals, filmmakers from every film, short and feature-length, are offered accommodations in Ashland and are invited to several exclusive events.

What kind of programming can someone expect at your festival?

The festival structures its film programming in thematic tracks, often including “Arts” and “Activism” as emphases, along with special annual themes like “Rising From the Ashes” and “Screening Cuba” in 2021. Upcoming theatrical film releases are mixed with exciting discoveries by emerging independent filmmakers, both short and feature-length. Leading figures in independent films (such as Al Maysles, Barbara Kopple, David Oyelowo, Barbara Hammer, Christine Vachon, and James Ivory) are honored with the Rogue and Pride Awards and participate in screenings and TalkBacks.

Member Spotlight: Ann Arbor Film Festival

AAFF at a glance:

Their 59th edition kicks off virtually next week! For the second year, AAFF will exhibit their films online, with expanded cinema, salons, performances, and intermedia art experiences available both virtually and in-person (safely!) throughout downtown Ann Arbor.

  • For the first time this year, the Ann Arbor Film Festival will be paying filmmakers to show their films in competition.
  • More than 2,000 films were submitted to this year’s festival, from 100 countries.
  • AAFF is renowned for introducing the world to pioneering work, including the early films of Kenneth Anger, Brian DePalma, Devo, Barbara Hammer, George Lucas, Yoko Ono, Gus Van Sant, Agnes Varda, and Andy Warhol

In a typical, non-COVID year, the festival welcomes more than 10,000 ticket holders over their 6 day, 40 program festival, with many regional festivalgoers in attendance. Visiting filmmakers are invited and housed by locals to give visitors a true Ann Arbor experience.

This year, AAFF announced a pledge to pay all artists showing their films at the 59th Annual Ann Arbor Film Festival. Along with this pledge, AAFF has committed to providing discounted submission fees to BIPOC filmmakers.

“We aim to do all that we can to tip the scales towards equity and fairness for all.” – Executive Director Leslie Raymond.

You can explore the full program of mind-bending films here.

2021 Annual Report

The 2021 Annual Report was presented in January 2021 at the FilmEx Conference.

In this report, we celebrated a successful end to 2020 and mapped out for our members and board our goals and priorities as a team for 2021.

View the full annual report here. 

 

 

FFA announces virtual FilmEx Gathering to take place January 2021

Film Festival Alliance (FFA) announced the creation of FilmEx, a virtual gathering of talks, panels, and presentations focusing on innovation, technological analysis, and methods to promote equity and inclusion in the film festival industry and independent film exhibition space.

FilmEx, named to include everyone involved in the independent film exhibition world, and coincidentally, as a nod to the legendary Los Angeles-based film festival in the 70s and 80s that eventually spawned not only AFI FEST directly, but the spirit and format that so many film festivals still employ to this day, will take place January 11-15, 2021. Film Festival Alliance has previously partnered with the Art House Convergence for their annual conference for several years, but as that conference is on hiatus for 2021, FFA has stepped up to host what has become an annual touchstone gathering event for the national film festival and independent film exhibition community and industry.

Film Festival Alliance Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner, said, “FilmEx will set the tone for the year to come, bringing everyone in the ever-growing film festival and art-house cinema communities together in the virtual space we are all currently inhabiting, to share new ideas, methods, and business practices, as our members and others continue to innovate the ways in which we present films, and benefit filmmakers, distributors and audiences. We hope to join the voices of experience and bring new ones to the table, to look at the ways in which we move forward and the opportunities that exist for change.”

Film Festival Alliance has partnered with organizations including Alliance for Action, Art House Convergence, Avenue ISR, Festival Formula LTD, Firelight Media, Full Spectrum Features, IFP, Queering the Cinema, Theatrical At Home, and Together Films to provide a wide-ranging, dynamic, and comprehensive array of panels, talks, conversation tracks, and events to process, deconstruct, and look towards the future of our industry.

Among the FilmEx topics informed by, but not limited to, the experiences of film festivals dealing with the realities of operating during the pandemic, will be; Building Loyalty & Audience Engagement in the Virtual Spaces; Next Level Grant Writing; Balancing Sponsorship in the Virtual & IRL Worlds; Redefining Success from An Experiential POV; Confronting Reduced Bandwidth & Oversaturation; Staffing Sustainability: Retention in the Age of Covid; and Rethinking Programming Categories & Barriers.

Additionally, participants at FilmEx will connect with this year’s FFA Leadership Lab Fellows, engage in conversations focused squarely on continuing efforts to improve equity and inclusion within their organizations and programming, meet with distributors, key industry vendors, and even participate in virtual karaoke, film trivia events, select screenings, and other social events – all in an effort to give film festivals and independent film exhibitors the tools they will need to continue to connect, innovate, streamline, and build upon the success many film festivals and cinemas have experienced despite stark challenges presented to them this year.

Film Festival Alliance has been cited in numerous interviews with executive directors of regional film festivals across the country as having been instrumental in aiding their success throughout the year as they innovated and brought about measures to present their events in the midst of the pandemic. As FFA’s member film festivals, on the whole, went beyond surviving in a year beset with unforeseen hurdles and roadblocks, to instead, expand their audience and branding reach via virtual presentations as well as increasing their support of filmmakers, Film Festival Alliance also grew its activity, consultation, and events since March which has demanded more staff to support those efforts.

Registration opens on Monday, November 23rd – pricing for the 5-day conference as follows:

INDIVIDUAL

$100 FFA MEMBER / $150 NON-MEMBER

SMALL ORG (Under $500k annual budget)

$250 – includes up to 5 attendees*

MEDIUM ORG (Under $1m annual budget)

$350 – includes up to 7 attendees*

LARGE ORG: (Over $1m annual budget)

$450 -includes up to 9 attendees*

*Have more attendees? There will be an Attendee Add-On price available.

Gray Rodriguez Joins FFA as Director of Communications; Twist Upped to Associate Director

FFA has added Gray Rodriguez as its Director of Communications. She is a film festival organizer and enthusiast with a particular affinity for operations and marketing.  She has spent three years volunteering with the Sundance Film Festival in the Artist Relations Department, and has previously served as a Marketing Consultant for the Bentonville Film Festival. Gray began her career in the festival industry as a volunteer, evolving into the role of volunteer director for the Tallgrass Film Association before ultimately going full-time, where she is currently the director of marketing. Her marketing experience includes both corporate and agency roles.

Additionally, FFA has promoted Barbara Twist, formerly Director of Membership, to an Associate Director role. In her new position, Twist will continue to oversee membership and be more actively involved with FFA’s programming. “It is an amazing testament to our film festival community that in one year’s time, we’ve been able to triple our consulting staff. The need to come together as an industry has never been more evident.” said FFA Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner. “Barbara has been essential this year in helping our organization and membership navigate these unchartered waters. Gray brings marketing experience from many different points of view, that will greatly support the sustainability and growth of our programming. She has been a valuable member of the Alliance and the regional festival landscape and I’m thrilled that she is joining our team.”

Get to know the staff and board, here.

Virtual Regional Roundtable: Indie Memphis

FFA presents its final Virtual Regional Roundtable of 2020 at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Click here to see the schedule and for the registration link.

October 16 & October 30 (NEW DATE)
11am -5pm ET | 10am – 4pm CT | 8am – 2pm PT

Indie Memphis hosts two days of brainstorming, discussing, and sharing case studies on the current state of film festivals. The Regional Roundtable (a virtual event, geographically accessible to all) will take place on Friday October, 16 (before the Indie Memphis Film Festival) and Friday, October 23 (during the festival).

October 16:
The first day will be industry only meetings about crucial issues including the role of regional festivals in the digital landscape, supporting youth filmmakers, and avoiding tokenism and burnout in the workplace.

October 30 (NEW DATE):
The second day will open up discussions to hear from filmmakers about accountability, restorative justice, and embodiment in digital events.

All attendees of the Regional Roundtable are invited to join the full festival virtual events from October 21 – 29 with a 50% discount off passes. Registration is $30 for both days, and $45 including an Industry Pass.

Full agenda and schedule coming soon. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors Eventive and Film Festival Flix.

FFA Launches Inaugural Audience Survey

Film Festival Alliance is pleased to announce a new opportunity for festivals to team up to better understand and compare our audiences, secure more sponsors and build support in our communities. We are working with Avenue ISR, and a number of member festivals, to launch a collaborative International Film Festival Audience Survey. Avenue ISR has also worked with Art House Convergence for their annual surveying and data capture.

For only $100, you will receive a detailed report of your patron responses, comparisons to the national aggregate, and all of your patrons’ specific data. The survey covers demographics, motivations, deal makers and deal breakers, desired sponsors, willingness to donate, and more. Whether your festival is about to happen, or it happened in the Spring, this survey will give you great insight into your patrons and help you plan more effectively for 2021, assist with sponsor and grant development, and establish national benchmarks, especially in the year of COVID-19.

Sign up your organization at this link by MONDAY OCTOBER 5TH and we’ll send you additional information before you have to commit: Click Here for Survey

Here’s how it works:

  1. Let FFA know your interest in participating in the Audience Survey.
  2. You will be billed a nominal fee of $100 that goes to support the research and final report.
  3. The week of October 26, you will be issued a custom survey link, specific to your festival or event, along with instructions for launch.
  4. You then have a 7-week window (to allow for different festival schedules) to promote the survey to your patrons using email, social media, etc. by December 13.
  5. The week of January 4, 2021 you will receive a detailed report of how your patrons and audience members responded, compared to all other participating festivals – demographics, motivations, deal makers and deal breakers, desired sponsors, willingness to donate, etc.
  6. At our January, 2021 conference, we’ll share the big takeaways plus workshop how to use this information to attract/retain sponsors and enhance community support.

Filmmaker Lounge 8: Genre Fests

Grab a drink and join us in the Filmmaker Lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors, filmmakers & programmers.

This week, we’ll hear from festival genre festival programmers including Lisa Vandever (CineKink) and Roger Nevitt (Celluloid Screams Horror Film Festival.) Register and submit your questions for them in advance!

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Filmmaker Lounge 7: Hear From the Filmmakers

Grab a drink and join us in the Filmmaker Lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors, filmmakers & programmers.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

This week, we’ll hear directly from filmmakers Benjamin Wiessner, Elaine Gracie and Camrus Johnson, about their experiences on the festival circuit. Register and submit your questions for them in advance!

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Filmmaker Lounge 5: Hear From the Filmmakers

Grab your lunch and join us in the filmmaker lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors & programmers, with filmmakers bringing the questions.

This week, we’ll hear directly from the filmmakers about their experience in the virtual landscape. Join Ben Hyland (Talk Radio), Jacqueline Pereda (Generation Por Que?) and Maya Albanese (Freeze), all of whom have short films playing the circuit this year. Register and submit your questions for them in advance! Register here.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Virtual Regional Roundtable: aGLIFF

FFA presents its 3rd Virtual Regional Roundtable of 2020 on August 21, with host festival aGLIFF. The festival runs August 6-16. The roundtable will include overall themes of audience engagement, and queer film programming.

In addition to the gathering of festival professionals on the 21st, registration for the Roundtable will include access to selected aGLIFF programs including panels and other audience-driven events. Full schedule coming soon!

Registration per person is a suggested $20 donation which will go directly to support aGLIFF’s Black Queer Filmmakers Fund.  Email us at info @ filmfestivalalliance.org if you need to request a voucher. Register here >

Thank you to our sponsors Elevent, Film Festival Flix and The Laurel Channel.

Filmmaker Lounge 4: Connecting Filmmakers & Festivals

Presented by Film Festival Alliance & Festival Formula, LTD.
July 17, 12:00pm-1:15pm EST

 Grab your lunch and join us in the filmmaker lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors & programmers, with filmmakers bringing the questions.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

Join festival programmers Inney Prakash (FREEP, Hell’s Half Mile, Human Rights Watch, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Aspen Shorts, DOC NYC, Sundance, Cinema Programme at Maysles Film Center) and Karen McMullen (TIDE, New Voices in Black Cinema, DOC NYC and industry consultant Tribeca & Sundance) who will share their ideas about festival programming and filmmakers can be innovative, strategic and realistic about the near future of the film festival circuit. Register and submit your questions in advance:

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Register and ask your question here.

Filmmaker Lounge 3: Connecting Filmmakers & Festivals

Presented by Film Festival Alliance & Festival Formula, LTD.
July 2, 1:30pm-3:00pm EST/10:30am-12:00pm PST

 Grab your lunch and join us in the filmmaker lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors & programmers, with filmmakers bringing the questions.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

Join festival organizers Anna Bogutskaya (Festival Director of Underwire Festival, co-founder of horror film collective The Final Girls, previously Film & Events Programmer at BFI) and Stephanie Owens (Festival Programmer for Palm Springs ShortsFest, Sundance & previously LA Film Festival) who will share their ideas about festival programming and filmmakers can be innovative, strategic and realistic about the near future of the film festival circuit. Register and submit your questions in advance:

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Register and ask your question here.

Film Festival Day 3: Rainbow Retrospective

The Film Festival Alliance and Theatrical-At-Home presents the 3rd edition of its successful Film Festival Day virtual screening events with Rainbow Retrospective: A Decade of Queer Comedy Shorts with a special Filmmaker Q&A on Sunday, June 28. Joining in the celebration of Pride month, the special collection of some of the best LGBTQIA+ comedy shorts over the past ten years, curated by Derek Horne (Programming Director of FFA member festival Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival) will provide an opportunity for film fans to both see great films (which will be available to be seen as early as Friday, June 26), as well as benefit both the filmmakers and each of the participating film festivals across the country with a share of the evening’s proceeds.

The first two Film Festival Day screenings doubled the number of participating film festivals and film organizations from the first outing to the second. The screening events have brought in more than $25,000 in total revenues and saw more than 400 people tune into each of the post-screening virtual Q&As.

“Our Film Festival Days have really shown us, our member festivals, and filmmakers alike how we now have the opportunity to shake up what traditional film distribution look like. The last few months have exposed many cracks in the system and now is a time when (if we collaborate and support one another) we can hopefully make changes for the better in support of both independent artists and exhibitors,” said FFA Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner. “We’re thrilled that Derek curated this line-up of some of the funniest queer short films from the last decade, and look forward to hearing him moderate the Q&A with the filmmakers – just like at a film festival!”

Derek Horne added, “This retrospective of comedy LGBTQ shorts from the past decade are fascinating to watch through the lens of when they were made – to reveal the thoughts and viewpoints at the time…ranging from films that capture the witty vocabulary and sarcasm of the times to films that portray the natural humor arising out of life’s situations. Laughter is truly good medicine. “ Read more about the films  & participating festivals here. >

Virtual Regional Roundtable: SeriesFest Set for July 10

Join fellow festival organizers and programmers for our second Virtual Roundtable of 2020, in partnership with SeriesFest: Season 6 on July 10th. In addition to a case study of SeriesFest: Season 6 (an online edition), we’ll discuss programming episodic content, meet creators and more. Full agenda coming soon.

This Roundtable is FREE for FFA Members and  $35 for non-members, thank to our generous sponsors Elevent and Film Festival FlixRegister here.

AND to get the most of out of the Roundtable, FFA members can experience SeriesFest for a deeply discounted rate. Fest Differently with SeriesFest’s television network premieres, never-before-seen pilots, and thought-provoking conversations with leaders in entertainment. FFA members can purchase a discounted SeriesFest Sampler Pass (June 18-24)  for $50 (Regular price: $90) by clicking here.

Fimmaker Lounge 2: Connecting Filmmakers & Festivals

Presented by Film Festival Alliance & Festival Formula, LTD.
June 11, 1:30pm-3:00pm EST/10:30am-12:00pm PST

 Grab your lunch and join us in the filmmaker lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors & programmers, with filmmakers bringing the questions.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry.

Join speakers from several representative festivals who will share their ideas about how filmmakers can be innovative, strategic and realistic about the near future of the film festival circuit. Register and submit your questions in advance:

*Jessie Fairbanks (Director of Programming at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival & Programmer for Tribeca & Mountainfilm)
* Bears Rebecca Fonte (Founder & Artistic Director of Other Worlds Austin & Board Member at Agliff)
* Daniel Sol (Festival Director of HollyShorts Film Festival)
*Thom Powers (Artistic Director of DOC NYC & Doc Programmer for TIFF)

Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Register and ask your question here.

Eight Fellows Selected for Inaugural Film Festival Leadership Lab

FFA and the Chicago-based Full Spectrum Features , have joined forces to present the inaugural Film Festival Leadership Lab. Originally planned as a five-day gathering in Chicago in July 2020, the Leadership Lab will now be held online over ten consecutive weeks, connecting eight selected fellows through a series of weekly touchpoints including leadership training, conversations with film festival industry stakeholders and the creation of an individual project with the potential to impact the industry as a whole. The Leadership Lab will begin the second week of July and will complete just prior to Labor Day. 

“As the Alliance has quickly grown over the last few years, and serves as North America’s only professional affiliation for those who work within the film festival industry, we realized there was a need to cultivate our industry’s future leadership beyond our regular professional development activities.,” said Lela Meadow-Conner, FFA Executive Director. “We’ve been fortunate to engage with wonderful partners including Full Spectrum Features and Stephen Bárczay Sloan, Founder of the Humane Leadership Institute, to execute the program.” 

The inaugural cohort was selected based on their experience, their desire to continue working within the industry – even in spite of the recent challenges of Covid-19- and by recommendations from those who’ve witnessed their capacity as future leaders. The group includes Raquel Chapa (Managing Director, Dallas VideoFest), Faridah Gbadamosi (Freelance Programmer, COVEN Film Festival, OUTstream), Nia Hampton (Founder/Director, Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival), Kiwi Lanier (Education/Outreach Coordinator, Interim Marketing Coordinator, Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema), Skye McLennan (Festival Director, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival), Robin Robinson (Programming Coordinator, SCAD Savannah Film Festival), Logan Taylor (Programmer, Fantastic Fest), and Jamie Webb (Operations Coordinator, Milwaukee Film.) See below for bios.

“In most instances, film festivals are the first channel in an independent film’s life cycle. If we want to diversify the content being put on the silver screen, we must start by strengthening the relationship between film festivals and filmmakers,” said Brian Khan, Manager of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement at Full Spectrum Features. “We are thrilled to support these nationwide, future leaders as they develop innovative pilot projects to strengthen programming and operations within their festivals.”

“We at the Humane Leadership Institute are honored to partner with FFA & FSF in support of a new generation of leaders bringing independent voices and stories into this formative moment in our nation’s evolution,” said Stephen Bárczay Sloan, Founder of the Humane Leadership Institute and member of the Board of Directors for the Ashland Independent Film Festival.

The partnering organizations look forward to presenting the outcomes of the Leadership Lab to the film festival community and its stakeholders. The program sponsors include Film Festival Flix and the Laurel Channel, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

2020 Leadership Lab Fellows

Raquel Chapa, Managing Director, Dallas VideoFest (TX)
Raquel Chapa’s first short “Open Season” was made possible by the Southwest Alternate Media Project. She is currently in her 9th year of programming a short film program for the Association of American Indian Affairs. She was an associate producer for the 3rd episode of the We Shall Remain series on PBS, and has worked on documentaries for National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel.  She was accepted into NALIP Latino Producers Academy in the summer of 2010 and to the PBS Production Lab in 2011. She is also a media critic for Native Foodways magazine. Recently she took part in MAP2020: The Further We Roll, The More We Gain an arts festival at locations throughout Dallas – Fort Worth (DFW) commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 

Faridah Gbadamosi, Freelance Programmer, COVEN Film Festival, OUTstream (NY)
Faridah is a media and events professional who is dedicated to making media a more inclusive space. She is currently the Director of Programming for COVEN Film Festival, a festival that showcases the work of women and nonbinary filmmakers. Outside of her work at COVEN, Faridah works for many film festivals around the country. From discussing how to deal with attribution and ownership when it comes to hashtags in popular media to the importance of having people of color falling in love front and center in mainstream romantic comedies, Faridah is constantly dissecting and looking for new approaches to improve how we engage with media in an intersectional manner through her critical writing.

Nia Hampton, Founder/Director, Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival (MD)
Nia is a multidisciplinary artist and who has consistently found community with black femme filmmakers in her travels around the world. During her first solo art show “Drapetomania; The Strong Urge to Escape” Nia created and hosted the first Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival as a means to hold space for black femme filmmakers from all over the world. As an international freelance journalist by trade who has written for sites like DAZED, VICE, Paste Magazine, LA Weekly and the Village Voice, Nia hopes that the festival will travel and meet black femme filmmakers where they are, wherever that may be.

Kiwi Lanier, Education/Outreach Coordinator, Interim Marketing Coordinator, Sidewalk Film Center + Cinema (AL)
Kiwi is originally from Kennesaw, GA. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a BA in Media and Film Studies in 2014, and received an MA in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been involved with Sidewalk Film Festival since 2012.

Skye McLennan, Fetsival Director, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (CA)
Skye McLennan grew up in Templeton, CA and went on to receive her degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She also studied TV Documentary in Denmark at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. A dual citizen of Australia and the United States, postgrad she moved to Sydney, Australia and worked extensively in film production design on short films, features, advertisements, music videos and documentaries. She became involved in film festivals as a teenager starting out as a volunteer. Over the next ten years she went on to work in major film festivals including the Sydney, Sundance, Tribeca and San Francisco International Film Festivals. In 2019 she moved back to her hometown and became the Associate Director for the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. In June of 2020, Skye was named Festival Director. Skye believes in the power and impact of cinema and bringing diverse voices to the screen and engaging her local community.

Robin Robinson, Programming Coordinator, SCAD Savannah Film Festival (GA)
Robin Robinson is dedicated to independent film. She is the Programming Coordinator for SCAD Savannah Film Festival as well as a programmer for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Mountainfilm. Previously, she’s served as a Programming Coordinator for Mountainfilm and the Nashville Film Festival, where she managed the Screenwriting Competition and worked as a Senior Programmer. She has experience programming narrative, documentary, episodic, new director, and family films. In addition to her programming experience, she has served as a screener, reader, and judge for numerous film competitions and festivals. She received an M.F.A. in Film with a focus in screenwriting at the Watkins College of Film in 2018. Her works primarily focus on the exploration of identity and the pressure to conform to societal masks.

Logan Taylor, Programmer, Fantastic Fest (TX)
Logan Taylor is an Austin-based film professor and programmer. She has worked for numerous festivals in programming and event support including SXSW, Fantastic Fest, Boston Underground Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, and Cinepocalypse. She also teaches courses in communications and film at Austin Community College. In her free time, Logan (unsurprisingly) watches lots of movies, takes her dog on lots of walks, and eats lots of queso.

Jamie Webb, Operations Coordinator, Milwaukee Film (WI)
After graduating with a Bachelors in Film Studies in the United Kingdom, his home country, Jamie moved to the United States and began a nomadic career working various corners of the film festival circuit. He worked seasonally for respected film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, Full Frame, and Cucalorus before landing a year-round position managing ticketing operations and festival production for Milwaukee Film.

Filmmaker Lounge: Connecting Filmmakers & Festivals

Presented by Film Festival Alliance & Festival Formula, LTD.
May 28th, 1:30pm-3:00pm EST/10:30am-12:00pm PST

 Grab your lunch and join us in the filmmaker lounge for a candid conversation between festival directors & programmers, with filmmakers bringing the questions.

As all of us navigate the future of the festival circuit, we’re finding ourselves with more questions than answers. Festivals and filmmakers are pivoting in various directions in response to different circumstances with varying degrees of success. As we move forward, FFA and our member festivals, and Festival Formula, all believe that communication and transparency are critical to the sustainability of the film festival industry. This conversation will feature speakers from different types of festivals, and filmmakers are encouraged to participate by submitting their questions in advance. Moderated by Katie McCullough, Founder of Festival Formula Ltd.

Register and ask your question here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_xqe7HgM2Qjuhqr-lmyC04g

Film Festival Day: Life in Synchro

On May 23, FFA will team with Theatrical- At-Home once again to present a sequel to Film Festival Day.

39 FFA member film festivals will participate in a virtual screening of Angela Pinaglia’s documentary LIFE IN SYNCHRO, which Pinaglia describes as “the most feminist sport you’ve never heard of.” The special screening will benefit each of the participating film festivals across the country with a share of the evening’s proceeds. Film festival audiences from across the country will be able to select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization and the filmmakers themselves.To purchase a ticket, please go to filmfestivalday.com.

“The results of our first Film Festival Day surpassed any of our expectations,” said Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance. “To witness the collective power of these community & filmmaker-driven festivals coming together in support of independent storytellers and audiences, embodies the spirit our members organizations. Thus, the idea of doing a sequel seemed natural and LIFE IN SYNCHRO was a perfect film for us to feature. It’s a film that would have played the in-person festival circuit in 2020, and it represents the heart that independent filmmakers often infuse into their projects – exactly the type of storytelling that brings audiences to a film festival. The cherry on top is being able to support the filmmakers, as well.”

“Working with Film Festival Alliance for the inaugural Film Festival Day in April was a tremendous experience,” said Annie Lundgren, Producer of PHOENIX, OREGON, the first Film Festival Day selection. Their one day event brought in almost a third of our total virtual cinema revenues. We loved sharing these revenues with festivals, and we were able to screen our film for welcoming audiences. Being able to collaborate with festivals who directly engage with loyal indie audiences is monumental and could be transformational as indie filmmakers seek new distribution models.”

A film festival favorite that has touched and enthralled audiences around the country as it introduced them to the world of synchronized ice skating, Pinaglia’s LIFE IN SYNCHRO follows a skating season alongside the stars of today, the newcomers, the passionate amateurs and the founders of the sport as they push their teams and themselves to be too good to ignore. But will it be enough to get their sport off the fringes and into the Olympic spotlight? From a young Team USA skater with big dreams, a 65-year-old amateur skater embracing this next chapter of life with her team, to a woman who was on the first synchro team back in 1956, who is now trying to get the founder of synchro, the credit he deserves for creating the sport that gave her so much, LIFE IN SYNCHRO interweaves each woman’s vastly different journeys, from all around the U.S., as they and these determined teams are out to prove the staying power of synchro.

LIFE IN SYNCHRO was directed, edited and produced by Pinaglia. Nicole Davies is the film’s executive producer. As part of the special Film Festival Day presentation, both will participate in a Q&A along with the film’s subjects Emily Fitzgerald (a former competitive skater on the Dearborn Crystallettes), Heidi Coffin (a 68-year-old adult skater on the Maine DownEasters), and Peggy MacDonald (who was a skater on the first ever synchro team in 1956 and went on to coach the first ever national champions of the sport in 1984), The Q&A will be moderated by Women Sports Film Festival’s Co-Founder Susan Sullivan.

Pinaglia said, “Synchronized skating is the closest thing I have ever seen to a women’s utopia, and it’s not in an alternative reality or in the far off future. It exists in the here and now. LIFE IN SYNCHRO captures the promise of what can be – for the sport, the athletes, and ultimately all women.”

Among the 38 participating film festivals:

  • BendFilm (OR)
  • Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL)
  • Buffalo International Film Festival (NY)
  • CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival (WA)
  • Charlotte Film Festival (NC)
  • Cinetopia Film Festival (MI)
  • Cucalorus Film Festival (NC)
  • Durango Independent Film Festival (CO)
  • Film Pittsburgh (PA)
  • Flyway Film Festival (WI)
  • Free State Festival (KS)
  • Golden State Film Festival (CA)
  • Hells Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI)
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (AR)
  • Indy Film Fest (IN)
  • InterFaith Film & Music Festival (NY)
  • Maine Film Center (ME)
  • Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MA)
  • Milwaukee Film Festival (WI)
  • Nashville Film Festival (TN)
  • NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (CA)
  • Orcas Island Film Festival (WA)
  • Oxford Film Festival (MS)
  • Phoenix Film Festival (AZ)
  • Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA)
  • RiverRun International Festival (NC)
  • Rocky Mountain Women’s Film (CO)
  • San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (CA)
  • Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ)
  • Sedona International Film Festival (AZ)
  • Sidewalk Film Festival (AL)
  • Silver State Film Festival (NV)
  • St. Louis International Film Festival (MO)
  • Tallgrass Film Festival (KS)
  • The Valley Film Festival (CA)
  • Vermont International Film Festival (VT)
  • Women Sports Film Festival (CA),
  • Women Texas Film Festival (TX), and
  • Woods Hole Film Festival (MA).

 

Film Festival Day: The Results Are In

On April 11, FFA and Theatrical at Home presented the first Film Festival Day, to virtually come together in support of film festivals and independent film.  Below are some statistics. Every participating festival received a list of all ticket purchasers and all notes left to them by their patrons, as well as payment the following week.

  • Participating Film Festivals: 32
  • States Represented: 20
  • Ticket Price: $6.50
  • Total # of Orders: 1,037
  • Total # of Tickets Sold: 1,420
  • Total Box Office: $9,243
  • Total Net Revenue for Filmmakers: $4,706
  • Total Net Revenue for Festivals: $4,475
  • Highest Festival Net Revenue: $510 (with no paid advertising)
  • Attending Virtual Q&A: 402

Watch the Q&A with Director, Gary Lundgren and Cast Members James Le Gros, Jesse Borrego and Diedrich Bader, here. Moderated by Melanie Addington (Oxford Film Festival.)

Read a blog “Lessons From Our Most Successful Festival Partners by  Phoenix, Oregon producer Annie Lundgren here.

Save the date for FFD2, coming to festival audiences on May 23, 2020.

FFA & Sundance Institute Present A Conversation with the NEA/ Media Arts Discipline Grants

Sundance Institute and the Film Festival Alliance invite you to a conversation with the Media Arts team at the Arts Endowment on the topic of Grants for Arts Projects in the Media Arts discipline (application deadline: July 9) on Wednesday, May 20 at 3pm EST.

With a focus on educating new and first-time applicants (as well as offering a refresher for seasoned applicants), Arts Endowment staff will walk participants through the entire process from application preparation, submission, and review.

The session will also include first-hand stories from recent applicants, as well as time for questions throughout the session. Register here.

FFA Group Think: Reading the Relationship Temperature: Filmmaker & Festival

Many thanks to Katie McCullough of Festival Formula for moderating our sixth COVID-19 conversation: Reading the Relationship Temperature: Filmmaker & Festival. Out of this conversation came much thoughtful discussion and many questions to ponder (see below). Watch the call here.

Festival Formula is a consultancy company helping filmmakers navigate the world wide festival circuit, giving support on strategy and submissions.

FILMMAKERS EXPECTATIONS: (general points but important as it’s the baseline to paint your co-collaborator)

  • Seeking validation by being screened in festivals
  • Want announcements they can share about their career
  • By their very nature they are laurel hunters
  • Fighting a tidal wave of other filmmakers to be heard and seen on the circuit
  • Battling with smaller budgets than they’d like for festival submissions

 FILMMAKERS CONCERNS: (I’m going to read out some of the questions or statements we’ve been posed)

  • “all festivals are cancelling, why should I bother?”
  • “other festivals don’t want my film online so I can’t opt in if a festival goes virtual”
  • “doesn’t that mean that the end of the year will be really busy?”
  • “can I get refunds if a festival doesn’t go ahead?”
  • “all festivals are moving dates so it’s a waste of money”
  • “I’ve missed a big chunk of the circuit, my film is now too old”

FESTIVAL AREAS TO HIGHLIGHT: 

  • No matter how large or small your team is, keep talking about working out what your plan a, b, or c is even if they are all the same thing!
  • Respect and honour your filmmakers – they deserve to have communication from you first rather than find out on social media
  • At at time like this there is no such thing as too much communication – you have a captive audience and if they are a selected filmmaker they will want to know what the plan is, even if you’re not 100% confirmed something is better than silence
  • If you are in the process of selections and there is a delay, let everyone know
  • That communication needs to be existing otherwise you lose the trust of your co-collaborator – give them something great to talk about you for, not the opposite

COMMUNICATION & VERBIAGE:

  • FFA chat previously mentioned about using the term “virtual” rather than online. I completely champion this, “online” panics filmmakers and also distributors. They envision YouTube and Vimeo links open to all. It won’t correspond to *all* festivals though, but it’s something to nip in the bud to stop panic and also increase those who opt in.
  • Be clear in what you are actually wanting to say – are you cancelling? Postponing? Going virtual? Are you just getting in touch to say you’re going ahead as planned for the foreseeable? Make the message clear so you don’t get a plethora of responses asking questions, and therefore giving yourself more work.
  • Allow filmmakers time to respond and ask any questions – they chose you to submit to and you selected their film so it’s a two-way street of you working together.
  • When possible try not to group the features and shorts into the same process – shorts will be easier to get to opt in, features will possibly be reluctant or tied up with distributors – so treat them accordingly.

Online Festival Platforms

As many festivals pivot towards online events, we’ve created a list of know resources. If you have additional resources we should add, please email us: info at filmfestivalalliance.org. Please note that current FFA members receive a discount for FilmFestivaFlix.com.

Film Festival Flix: benjamin at filmfestivalflix.com
A streaming service, like Netflix, dedicated to film festivals. See films you missed, share films you love, and discover movies curated for you by respected and trusted festivals!
*FFA members receive a 25% discount on all services,

AgileLink VOD: sburkett at agiletix.com
Your organization can invite your patrons and members to experience curated films and live experiences from the comfort of their home. It allows you to market films, collect payment and issue a temporary expiring link to your customer. Once the customer clicks the link, they’ll enjoy the selected production in the comfort of their home theatre or virtually any streaming device. Once the time has expired, the link is no longer available for use. AgileLink VOD keeps your organization connected to what matters most to your patrons and members-great film experiences.
*Agile is an official FFA sponsor

Cinando Video Library
Cinando Video Library is an online B2B digital solution, launched by Cinando, the film industry network created by the Marché du film in Cannes, the world’s largest film market. Cinando VL allows film festivals and other film institutions to stream their selected films online.

CineSend Screener Rooms: eric at cinesend.com
CineSend is preparing assistance packages for film festivals looking to host virtual festivals that would allow the audience the opportunity to watch films from home.They are integrated with many ticketing platforms as well. Pay by the Gb transferred.
*CineSend is an official FFA sponsor

Elevent: Jeremy at eleventsolutions.net
Elevent’s Virtual Event suite supports robust online-only or hybrid online-on-premise event ticketing, membership, subscriber, and donor access, all under your org’s banner and brand. Elevent Virtual Events integrate to your choice of CineSend or Vimeo as video streaming providers.
*Elevent is an official FFA sponsor

Eventiveiddo at eventive.org
Eventive Virtual Festival is a premium service created to make your films and events available for secure, ticketed on-demand and live streaming through your very own Eventive site as well as via our streaming TV apps.
*Eventive is an official FFA sponsor

Eventivaltomas.prasek at eventival.com
Festivals using Eventival can benefit from its integration with both Eventive and CineSend by maintaining their natural workflow and benefitting in many other ways.

Festivee: FestiVee has been providing e-commerce enabled enterprise quality streaming and engagement solutions for film festivals since 2014. In 2020 FestiVee introduced a feature-rich turn-key solution that includes everything your festival needs to screen films, feature filmmakers, promote sponsors and create engagement opportunities – all under your brand. Build and launch your festival today – for free!

Festival Scope: info at festivalscope.com
Festival Scope has teamed up with Shift72 to offer an out-of-the-box online festival solution that can be integrated with your festival website. All plans include HD streaming and DRM protection and, to replicate the festival experience, festivals are able to bundle films in collections along with the option to include sponsor messages, festival trailers and director introductions as bonus content or pre-rolls, plus invitations for press & industry members.

Filmbot: max at filmbot.com
The modern ticketing & website platform for film festivals now supports online showtimes + live Q&A’s, as well as VOD rentals, in one seamless experience with enhanced capabilities like geoblocking, DRM, and all-access rental passes.

Film Festival Plus: hk at filmfestivalplus.com
We are FFA member and offer a 15% discount to all FFA members. Film Festival PLUS is a hybrid and virtual film festival platform based in California.  FF+ is super simple to use on: desktop, mobile and Apple TV streaming up to 4k. Host a Mini Film Festival up to 6 films – free for FFA members.

Its A Short, christine@itsashort.com
The ‘go to’ site for award winning short film, video and web series. Organized by channels, you can find comedy, drama, documentaries, horror and adventure all while learning about new emerging artists.

Seed&Spark, clay at seedandspark.com
The team is hard at work on a platform to power official fixed-term and ticketed online festivals, and they anticipate being ready to go live with our first festivals by mid-April 2020.

ScreeningRoom: A cloud-based collaboration platform for independent filmmakers, film festivals and granting institutions.   You can easily setup your festival submission and judging platform on ScreeningRoom with fully customizable fields and a screening area to invite judges to review and rate films.  With ScreeningRoom, you can also reach out to our fast growing member base of over 20,000 filmmakers.  Their mission is to help build sustainability in the independent filmmaking world.

Quido:  paul at qudio.com

Quido is built around live streaming virtual/hybrid film festival screenings to create a shared online viewing experience. Film is at its best when watched together, even when we’re apart. Ticketing, marketing, and promotion, live and VOD screenings all in one place. Built by Cinematiq, the experts in DCP mastering and delivery with an emphasis on stunning visual quality.

Others:

Vimeo OTT (formerly VHX.tv): vimeo.com/ott/home

Vision Media: https://visionmedia.com/

My Cinema: https://mycinema.live

XERB: https://landing.xerb.tv

AHC & FFA: SBA Loans, Cares Act & Paycheck Protection Call

Today, Art House Convergence and Film Festival Alliance hosted a call to discuss SBA Loans, Cares Act & Paycheck Protection. The call was moderated by Film Festival Alliance member Bears Rebecca Fonte of Other Worlds Austin and featured Dean Elazab, SBA expert from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in Austin, TX. In case you missed it, you can watch the very informative conversation here.

Dean represents esports teams and financial institutions in a wide range of legal matters, including entity formation, player and sponsor contract negotiation, and other general corporate concerns. Dean also has experience in capital markets, IPO’s, mergers and acquisitions, as well as real estate financing. Before arriving at Hunton Andrews Kurth in 2019, Dean worked at Latham & Watkins in New York for three years. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, and went to Southern Methodist University for his undergraduate degree. He can be reached by email: delazab at HuntonAK.com

FFA Group Think: Taking It Online

On Friday April 3, FFA hosted its fifth call in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were joined by several festivals who have taken or are planning to take their events online using various platforms, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Queens World Film Festival, Aspen Shorts Fest, San Luis Obispo Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, and Ashland Independent Film Festival, with some final words from our partner Film Festival Flix. There are many options for taking your festival online, however, the key things to note include making sure that your media is uploaded and tested, determining your best marketing plan, educating your audiences and giving yourself ample time to achieve an online festival that matches that quality of your brand. Watch the call here.

Check out the Ann Arbor Film Festival’s Guide to Using Zoom, Vimeo and PlayBack Pro to Take A Film Festival Online. 

FFA & Theatrical At Home Present Film Festival Day

In partnership with the independent streaming platform Theatrical At Home, FFA presents the inaugural Film Festival Day.

On April 11th, film festival audiences from across North America will join together for a virtual screening of the independent film PHOENIX, OREGON and filmmaker Q&A. Indie film fans can select their festival of choice when purchasing tickets and box office revenue will be generously split with that organization.

33 FFA member festivals (from 21 states) are participating in this initiative to spotlight the film festival industry, which has endured more than 175 cancellations, postponements and quick pivots in the wake of COVID-19, with an estimated economic impact of more than $1.4 million for this group organizations alone. Of the participating festivals, they have combined audiences of more than 200,000, support more than 5,500 filmmakers and collectively screened over 3,700 films in the last year.

“Film festivals and community cinemas are the backbone of the independent film industry. They introduce audiences to stories which nurture, nourish and encourage new perspectives” said Annie Lundgren, Producer of Phoenix, Oregon. “Especially at this time, we are excited to partner with Film Festival Alliance to share our film and support festivals who have given so much to us.”

Movies unite us in a way that no other art form can and film festivals play an essential role in connecting our community to support the works of independent storytellers. Please join us in a celebration of our communities, our audiences, independent filmmakers and what makes the film festival experience so unique, while supporting many FFA member organizations.

“We’ve been looking for a way to emulate the iconic Record Store Day idea for years,” said Lela Meadow-Conner, Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance. “It was always a challenge for film festivals since not everyone has access to a theater at the same time. So now, we gladly take this opportunity to bring audiences from across the country together, at home, and celebrate independent film. We are so grateful to the Phoenix, Oregon team for supporting so many festivals.”

LIST OF PARTICIPATING FESTIVALS: (See on A  Map!) AND PURCHASE TODAY!

  • Alexander Valley Film Festival (CA)
  • Ashland Film Festival (OR)
  • BendFilm (OR)
  • Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (IL)
  • Buffalo International Film Festival (NY)
  • Cambria Film Festival (CA)
  • Cinetopia Film Festival (MI)
  • Cucalorus Film Festival (NC)
  • Durango Independent Film Festival (CO)
  • Heartland Film Festival (IN)
  • Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival (MI)
  • Indy Film Fest (IN)
  • Interfaith Film & Music Festival (NY)
  • Flyway Film Festival (WI)
  • Free State Festival (KS)
  • Golden State Film Festival (CA)
  • Nashville Film Festival (TN)
  • New Filmmakers Los Angeles (CA)
  • Orcas Island Film Festival (WA)
  • Oxford Film Festival (MS)
  • Phoenix Film Festival (AZ)
  • Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (CA)
  • San Luis Obispo Film Festival (CA)
  • Sidewalk Film Festival (AL)
  • Silver State Film Festival (NV)
  • Scottsdale International Film Festival (AZ)
  • Skyline Indie Fest (VA)
  • South Georgia Film Festival (GA)
  • St. Louis International Film Festival (MO)
  • Tallgrass Film Festival (KS)
  • The Valley Film Festival (CA)
  • Vermont International Film Festival (VT)
  • Woods Hole Film Festival (MA)

FFA Covid-19 Planning & Pivoting Call 4

On Friday, March 27th, FFA hosted our 4th Covid-19 Planning & Pivoting Call.

This call was dedicated to hearing from festivals who’ve already endured cancellations, postponements and are pivoting online. Thanks to Debby Samples (Marketing Director, Cleveland Intl. Film Festival) & Emily Foster (Marketing Director, Full Frame Documentary Festival), Alyssa Armand (Programming Director, Atlanta Film Society), Greg Sorvig (Artistic Director, Heartland Film), Patrick Shepherd (Associate Director, Cleveland Intl. Film Festival) and Ben McCarthy (McArts Consulting) for sharing their experiences.

The April 3rd call will focus on case studies of organizations who have and/or are taking their festivals online. Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, etc: info@filmfestivalalliance.org. This series of calls is open to ALL and recorded videos will be made available to the entire film festival (including non-members) community on our website.

Watch the recording here.

Festivals Pivot with Online Events

As hundreds of film festivals have been postponed or cancelled through the first half of 2020, many organizations are creating unique ways to take their programming online.

The 58th Ann Arbor is streaming their entire festival online,  and other FFA members have plans for streaming their films, to continue to support both independent filmmakers and their audiences. Aspen ShortsFest will also screen their festival online. Access codes to screen film programs are on sale now through aspenshowtix.com and people should buy in advance as there is a limited number per program – like a traditional festival. The festival is still able to have their jury review all films and denote award winners in 5 categories which are Oscar®-qualifying.

Anyone offering online programming is invited to add their events in this sharable document, available to all. The opportunity of course, is to gain new audience members from around the world!

Recording: FFA Pandemic Planning Call 3

For everyone who missed the call on Friday, March 20th, or might want to review, you can find the full recorded session here.

Many thanks to festival professionals from SIFF, The Roxie Theater, Indie Film Fest, Oxford Film Festival and Seed&Spark, and others, for sharing of their recent experiences.  In the last week alone, more than 100 independent film festivals from across North America have been forced to postpone or cancel. FFA will continue to support the entire film festival community as we navigate this new terrain.

FFA will host a  4th Group Think  on Friday, March 27th at 2:00pm EST/11:00am PST.

All are welcome to join.

 

 

FFA Takes Ashland Regional Online

In the wake of COVID-19 and social distancing, FFA will hold its first Regional Roundtable Ashland Independent Film Festival: HOME EDITION online on Friday, April 17th –  an online day of professional development. Along with group conversations and fun activities, we’ll be bringing a little bit of Ashland Independent Film Festival to you.

Regional Roundtables are open to all. FFA members pay a registration of $30, which includes access to anyone within their organization and to post-roundtable session recordings. Non-members pay $35. Register now.

Many thanks to our sponsors Eventive and Film Festival Flix, and our partnering festival Ashland Independent Film Festival.

Legislator Letter Template

During this period of economic uncertainty we encourage art houses and film festivals to reach out to tell their legislators to include arts nonprofits in economic relief and stimulus packages.

In partnership with  Art House Convergence, we have authored a letter that you can share with your representatives to advocate for arts funding. Download the editable letter template here (.txt.pdf), and find your legislators here.

Recording: FFA Pandemic Planning Call 2

For everyone who missed the call on Friday, March 13th, or might want to review, you can find the full recorded session here.

Many thanks to festival professionals from Cleveland, Ashland and Full Frame who shared some of their recent experiences.  In the last week alone, more than 75 independent film festivals from across North America have been forced to postpone or cancel. FFA will continue to support the entire film festival community as we navigate this new terrain.

FFA will host a 3rd webinar on Friday, March 20th at 2:00pm EST/11:00am PST.

All are welcome to join.

Health in the Workplace

American Alliance of Museums has an extensive resource guide  covering health in the workplace.

Although this guide is geared towards museums, the information will also be useful for film festivals, cinemas and gathering organizations.

Our partner, Art House Convergence, has also compiled Covid-19 preparedness resources.

This google document has a list of responses and action plans from museums around the country.

We will continue to post links on our Resources + Research Page.

FFA Pandemic & Contingency Call 1 Recording

On March 6th, FFA hosted a Pandemic Contingency & Planning Call/Brain Trust webinar. You can watch the watch the recording here. 

The Alliance is planning another call in the coming weeks and will facilitate as many conversations between festival organizers as needed. Check our Virtual Roundtable page, join our mailing list or follow us on social media for updates.

As the news rapidly changes and develops each moment about the spreading coronavirus, event-based organizations all over the world are scrambling to make decisions that keep in mind the best interests of their staff, patrons, stakeholders, and bottom lines. Let’s take a moment to connect with one another and share thoughts and ideas on how we’re handling these challenges. Moderated by Erica Thompson, Managing Director, Ashland Independent Film Festival.

Film Festival Leadership Lab: Applications Now Open!

A new initiative co-presented by FFA and Full Spectrum Features, the Film Festival Leadership Lab will create an intimate professional development opportunity for future film festival industry leaders.

The program is open to mid-level professionals across all departments, and those identified as future leaders within their organizations. Six fellows will be selected to participate with an emphasis placed on bringing together a diverse (gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography) cohort of thought leaders.

During the lab, fellows will participate in networking and capacity building sessions and have the opportunity to learn from 3 seasoned industry mentors, and other industry guests. The mentor/fellow relationship will extend throughout the year, as the mentees complete leadership-based projects that will be presented at the 2021 Art House Convergence with a formal session that also evaluates the outcomes of and future opportunities for the program.

Learn more and apply here.

A Letter from Past President Dan Brawley

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!

Smiles,
Dan Brawley, Chief Instigating Officer, Cucalorus Festival

FFA Welcomes Two New Board Members

The membership of the Film Festival Alliance elected two new members to their Board of Directors in January. Joining the board are Kathryn Spitz Cohan, Executive Director of Film Pittsburgh, and Ben McCarthy of McArts Consulting, based in North Carolina.

Re-elected for their second three-year terms are Beth Barrett (SIFF), Dan Brawley (Cucalorus), Judy Laster (Woods Hole), Mark Fishkin (Mill Valley) and Andrew Rodgers (Festival Consultant.)

2020’s Executive Committee consists of Cara Ogburn, President (Milwaukee Film), Alyx Picard-Davis, Vice President (deadCenter), Beth Barrett, Secretary (SIFF) and Ryan Watt, Treasurer (IndieMemphis.)

Learn more about all of our current board members here.

FFA Launches Inside Film Festivals Podcast

Welcome to the first season of the Film Festival Alliance’s podcast: Inside Film Festivals, sponsored by Film Festival Flix.

Each episode will feature film festival professionals talking about a variety of aspects, and trends within our industry.

Our host is Kevin Sampson, founder of the DC Black Film Festival and Film Festival Alliance Board member. He is also founder of Picture Lock, an entertainment website, radio show, podcast and TV show featuring film reviews, news and interviews.

Inside Film Festivals Episode 1: What is Film Festival Alliance?
We go inside the Film Festival Alliance to get an understanding of what the organization does and where it’s headed from two people who know best. Executive Director, Lela Meadow-Conner, and President of the Board of Directors, Dan Brawley, give their perspectives on the organization and why festivals should join. Click here to listen!

FFA Welcomes New Director of Membership

FFA is excited to announce the hiring of film exhibition veteran and filmmaker Barbara Twist as our Director of Membership. Twist will begin in the newly created position on January 6 and will be primarily responsible for growing & managing the organization’s membership and membership benefits. FFA currently serves more than 200 member organizations and individuals from 40 states, Canada and the UK and recently opened its doors to global members.

“I am so thrilled to be working with Film Festival Alliance and their membership,” said Twist. “Film festivals are a vital part of the exhibition industry, discovering new filmmakers, cultivating movie-going audiences through curation, and serving as place-makers in their own neighborhoods. I look forward to supporting the growth of the festival community.”

Twist began her career at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor where she assisted with special programs, including the Cinetopia Film Festival. She then spent five years working with Art House Convergence, most recently as its Managing Director during years of significant growth, before pursuing her Masters in Creative Producing at Columbia University (2020.) She also currently works with Tales of Europe, a traveling film series developed to promote European cinema within the US, and serves on the board of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

“Barbara will be an excellent addition to our team,” said FFA Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner. “Not only does she bring with her great experience from her time with AHC – where we worked together for several years, she brings invaluable perspective as a filmmaker. The Alliance is focused on growing its membership to be evermore inclusive and accessible, and also finding ways to support festival stakeholders – filmmakers being one of the most vital. Barbara’s experiences align with our goals.”

2020 Art House Convergence Schedule is LIVE!

The full conference schedule is now live for the 2020 Art House Convergence, the largest annual gathering of art house cinema and festival professionals, community leaders, and service providers. Art House Convergence features  four days of panels, workshops, networking opportunities, and film screenings, with 55 sessions spread across 7 tracks.

2020 Film Festival Panels:

Bread & Butter: Festivals and Filmmakers
It’s time to end “us” vs. “them” mentality and foster a collaborative environment. What responsibilities do festivals owe filmmakers, and vice versa? Dive into the economics and ethics of this relationship including discussions about screening fees and programming transparency. We’ll also examine our power as micro-distributors, the value festivals can bring to filmmakers, and the value filmmakers bring to festivals. How can we effect change and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for all?

Breaking Ground: From Festival to Cinema
Hear from film festival organizations who have taken the plunge into cinematic waters. What does a cinema look like? Should we do this, and if so why? Learn from festival panelists in various stages of starting or operating cinemas about budgeting, planning,  and earning buy-in from your staff, board and community. Then decide if this is the right option for you.

We the Tastemakers
Just because we aren’t a ‘Market’ Festival, or don’t have high-profile industry in attendance doesn’t mean we don’t matter. In fact, we may be the most important tastemaker in town! As part of the majority of festivals sustaining our industry, we can drive a dialogue where premiere status and red carpets aren’t of tantamount importance, but collaboration is. Let’s discuss how we fit in both our community and the larger ecosystem of film consumption.

The Other 360 Days A Year
Many festivals take place once a year… so how do festival organizers maintain their curation aesthetic for audiences and filmmakers, when their physical presence disappears for 11 months, and why is this so important? From finding people and touch points in our community for collaborations, to social media and non-traditional or abstract ideas, we’ll hear how festivals are uniquely maintaining their brand presence within their communities and securing buy-in for next year.

Exit/Enter: Effective Leadership Change
An organization can outlast its founder, and sometimes needs to. How can leadership change affect, develop or reinforce the values upon which an organization is built… or go terribly wrong? When is it time to evolve to enable growth? How do we shape leadership change and legacy planning, particularly when staff and board have an even faster turnover? We’ll give panelists and attendees permission to speak in rough draft about this potent, often emotional topic.

Nominations Now Open for FFA Board of Directors

FFA is seeking new Board Members to begin service in January 2020. Interested FFA members should fill out this brief form. The deadline for nominations is December 12, 2019. Nominees must be associated with an active individual or organizational FFA membership.

A slate of candidates will be presented to the membership for voting in January, and they will be announced at the Annual Meeting. The current Board of Directors has set goals of inclusivity that guide our long term leadership development, and encourages all interested parties to apply.

2020 SIO Diversity Pass Recipients

In an effort to increase the diversity of film festival professionals, organizers and programmers with access to Sundance Industry screenings, FFA partnered with the Sundance Industry Office for the second year, to award 10 FFA members who identify with historically underrepresented communities with 5 comp and 5 half-priced SIO Passes. FFA is pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2020 SIO Diversity Pass Program.

Of the 2020 recipients, all are women, four identify as queer, and the group represents African-American, Asian-American, Latina, Afro-Caribbean, Black-Canadian cultures, the Immigrant population, the over-50 population and the disabled community. Of the 10 recipients, 8 are first time Sundance attendees. We’ll see you in the industry tents!

Melanie Addington, Executive Director, Oxford Film Festival, Oxford, MS
Sabrina Avilés, Festival Director, Boston Latino International Film Festival, Boston, MA
Opal Hope Bennett, Programmer (Aspen ShortsFest, Athena, DOC NYC, Nantucket Film Festival; Consultant, March on Washington Film Festival), NYC, NY
CR Capers, Founder/CEO Harlem Film House, Hip Hop Film Festival, NYC, NY
Camille Johnson, Festival Programmer, Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto, Canada
Wendy Keeling, Creative Director, Orlando International Film Festival, Orlando, Florida
Kiyoko McCrae, Filmmaker Labs Manager, New Orleans Film Society, New Orleans, LA
Shakira Refos, Education Manager, California Film Institute, Mill Valley, CA
Susan Sullivan, Founder and Executive Director of the Women Sports Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.
Brighid Wheeler, Director of Operations & Senior Programmer Indie Memphis Film Festival, Memphis TN.

Call for Panelists: Art House Convergence!

We’re excited to announce the film festival track panels for the 2020 Art House Convergence, and are looking for a wide variety of film festival professionals who are interested about speaking on the topics below. If one of these panels speaks to you, please complete this very brief form by October 15th.

Panel Description (with working titles):

Shared Responsibility: Filmmaker & Festivals
It’s time to end “us” vs. “them” mentality and foster a collaborative environment. What responsibilities do festivals owe filmmakers, and vice versa? Dive into the economics and ethics of this relationship including ever-present discussions like screening fees and programming transparency. We’ll also examine our power as micro-distributors, the value festivals can bring to filmmakers, and the value filmmakers bring to festivals. How can we effect change and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for us all?

Cultivating Your Community The Other 360 Days A Year
Many festivals take place once a year… so how do festival organizers maintain their curation aesthetic for audiences and filmmakers, when their physical presence disappears for 11 months, and why is this so important? From finding people and touch points in our community for collaborations, to social media and non-traditional or abstract ideas, we’ll hear how festivals are uniquely maintaining their brand presence within their communities and securing buy-in for next year.

Mission, Vision & Leadership
An organization can outlast its founder, and sometimes needs to. How can leadership change affect, develop or reinforce the values upon which an organization is built… or go terribly wrong? When is it time to evolve to enable growth? How do we shape leadership change and legacy planning, particularly when staff and board have an even faster turnover? We’ll give panelists and attendees permission to speak in rough draft about this potent, often emotional topic.

Know Your Role
Just because we aren’t a ‘Market’ Festival, or don’t have high-profile industry in attendance doesn’t mean we don’t matter. In fact, we may be the most important tastemaker in town! As part of the majority of festivals sustaining our industry, we can drive a dialogue where premiere status and red carpets aren’t of tantamount importance, but collaboration is. Let’s discuss how we fit in to our communities and the larger eco-system of film consumption, and how we can sustain our role within both.

Sundance & FFA’s SIO Diversity Pass Program Returns

For the second year, through a partnership with the Film Festival Alliance, the Sundance Industry Office (SIO) will offer five complimentary and five discounted SIO Industry Passes for the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. This opportunity is open to FFA members who identify as historically underrepresented festival professionals in an effort to cultivate diversity within the film festival industry. In 2019, out of the 10 passes that were comped or discounted, attendees represented 9 states and Canada, 9 were first-time Sundance Film Festival attendees, 8 were women, 6 were people of color, and 3 were from the LGBTQ community.

To apply for 2020 and read all of the important information, click here!

FFA Opens Its Doors To Global Members

FFA will expand its membership opportunities to mission-aligned film organizations and festival professionals around the world. The move comes amidst a growing desire for greater global connection from festivals outside of North America, and the shared intention of advocating for a sustainable and inclusive environment for the film festival industry within the cinema exhibition ecosystem.  Members share common mission-driven values and adhere to ethical practices in order to build lasting and transparent relationships with film industry stakeholders, developing a sustainable network of support and trust.

“In addition to all of the literal membership benefits, the greatest is the sense of kinship that is fostered by the group, and the solidification that film festivals of all types and sizes play an essential role in the independent filmmaking community,” said FFA Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner. The majority of  FFA’s current benefits will be available to global members as well.

“The Alliance has grown steadily over the past five years, and now there is an increased interest in widening our membership reach,” said FFA Board President & Cucalorus Festival’s Chief Instigating Officer Dan Brawley. “As an organization, we’ve created a collective voice for film festivals and we want to expand that conversation so that we can share stories, resources, and challenges with our peers around the world. We see this as an essential step in order to address the constant shifts in our industry related to technology, consumption, and culture.”

“We understand that there are some fundamental differences with festivals outside of North America – namely in funding and programming structure – but the commonalities of our digital world are overwhelming,” Meadow-Conner continued. “We’re looking forward to learning new perspectives from our international colleagues and as we grow our membership, we’ll plan to have a greater presence at festivals around the world, setting our sights on holding a Regional Roundtable outside of North American in 2021.”

Early Bird Registration Open for AHC 2020!

As the largest annual gathering of art house cinema and festival professionals, community leaders, service providers and suppliers, the Art House Convergence attracts participants from across the world. By defining our field, creating a shared vision and vocabulary, and identifying best practices, the Art House Convergence Annual Conference strengthens efforts to sustain art houses 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 in conversations of great relevance to our field.

Early bird registration is now open through October 17th! Click here for registration information and here for travel and lodging information.

New Member Benefit from LK Creactive!

FFA has partnered with LK Creactive to offer a new member benefit: 20% off your order of custom shirts, textiles, and other swag. “I know how much work goes into putting a film festival together,” says LK Creactive Founder Lucy Keile. “Merchandise is so important to branding.  I want to help organizations take care of the details of custom orders so that they can focus on the other aspects of presenting their festival.”

In addition to custom t-shirts and on-demand printing, LK Creactive can also build your organization an online merch store where attendees can pre-order items beforehand and pick them up the week of the festival. LK Creactive offers a wide variety of textiles and colors, as well as various printing styles, with a minimum order of 25 shirts or 12 hats.

Please take the 2019 Ticketing Survey!

We’re conducting a brief survey to gauge average ticket and festival pass prices. Please complete the short questionnaire here, by August 22nd. Results will be shared shortly thereafter. (Please note, festival names and locations will not be shared to respect any organization’s privacy, but information on community size will be reflected.)

Green Your Festival: Fundraising Opportunity

Are you interested in a greener film festival? FFA friend Insight + ReDesign Consulting, has partnered with a national brewery with environmental stewardship as one of their core values. The brewery is interested in collaborations that promote greener, more sustainable film festivals.

Everyone has interests in reducing their festival’s carbon impact, but we don’t always build “saving the planet” into our budgets. – thus, a unique offer for FFA members. This brewery is interested in donating beer for a fundraiser presented by your film festival/organization, with the revenue generated going directly toward expenses for waste recovery, compostable materials, composting, recycling services, and planning and implementation of a waste-reduction or a zero-waste event. Interested FFA member festivals should complete this form by Saturday, August 3, 2019.  Film Festival(s) will be considered and any selected will be notified shortly thereafter.  Questions should be directed to Insight ReDesign + Consulting. (roslynus at gmail.com)

 

Discounted Registrations for SXSW 2020

FFA is happy to offer our members access to discounted registrations for SXSW 2020 (March 13-22, Austin, TX.) The group discount rate applies to the SXSW registration of your choosing: Platinum badge, Interactive badge, Film badge or Music badge.

All FFA member and member companies are encouraged to take advantage of this offer — there is no minimum or maximum number of registrations a member can purchase. As long as you are a member, the discount is available.

*Please note that you cannot resell or use the SXSW badge registration as a promotion or giveaway

Click HERE to take advantage of this member benefit, today.

Save The Dates for 2020 Art House Convergence

The 2020 Art House Convergence will take place January 19-23 at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah. More information and early bird registration is coming soon. See below for information on submitting a proposal, scholarships and volunteer opportunities. Click here to Meet the 2020 Conference Chairs and Track Heads!

SUBMIT A PANEL PROPOSAL
Each year the Annual Conference hosts over 40+ educational sessions featuring conversations and presentations by leaders in cinema exhibition. Interested in presenting a panel, workshop, or networking session? Proposals for the Conference sessions, Art House Tales, and Trailer Wars are currently open. Proposals are due by August 13, 2019.

SCHOLARSHIPS
Art House Convergence offers initiatives and scholarships to improve access to the conference’s educational, networking, and professionalization opportunities. These programs are intended to cultivate diverse leadership, support first-time attendees, encourage conference participation by underrepresented members of our field, and strengthen the conference and the organizations it serves by making them more inclusive. Apply by September 4, 2019.

VOLUNTEER
We are currently seeking volunteers to assist with conference events, programming, operations, and tech. Art House Convergence offers volunteers complimentary conference registration in exchange for their work. Apply by September 4, 2019.

Filmmakers in Focus at Sidewalk Regional Roundtable

The schedule of panels and events for FFA’s next Regional Roundtable at the 21st Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama has been announced. The overall theme for this gathering is “Communication & Connectivity with Filmmakers” and sessions include conversations on what festivals can do to support filmmakers, cultivate filmmaker culture, and engage student filmmakers in the festival process.

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.f

Apply now for the 2019/2020 Spotlight Support Program

The popular Spotlight Support Program is back for the 2019/2020 festival season, sponsored by Spotlight Cinema Networks.

The Spotlight Support Program is a great way for FFA members to generate self-earned revenue by leveraging unused/underused screen time during their events. This is a turnkey revenue generating opportunity offered exclusively to U.S. film festivals that are Film Festival Alliance Organizational members.

FFA Member Testimonials:

“For the past two years the Spotlight Support Program has been a great new addition to the Woods Hole Film Festival. The Spotlight team works hard to make sure that the spot they provide us aligns with the Festival. They look great on screen and help elevate the Festival screening experience for the audience. They truly care about Festivals and they are a pleasure to work with.” –  Judy Laster, Festival Director, Woods Hole Film Festival

“Spotlight Cinema Networks partnership has been a great support of our festival. They are great to work with and will help find the best fit for your festival. Every festival is always looking for more revenue so when a company genuinely wants to work with you AND pay you a fair amount, it is incredibly appreciated.” – Adam Howell, Director of Operations, Heartland International Film Festival

“The Spotlight Support Program provided an ad that fits seamlessly with the environmental message of our film festival, and the team was easy to work with. We look forward to working with them again in the future!”  —Debra Wolf Goldstein, Executive Director, Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival

“We’ve been fortunate to work with the Spotlight Support Program for the past several years for the New Orleans Film Festival. Not only is it a reliable source of extra revenue for festival operations, but they’re also one of the easiest partners to do business with. They work with tons of film festivals, so they fully understand our needs. They are professional, straightforward, and uncomplicated—couldn’t ask for more in a partner.” –Clint Bowie, Artistic Director, New Orleans Film Society

SoCal FFA Members Short Film Showcase

FFA & Hollyshorts Film Festival are teaming up to present a short film showcase as part of the HollyShorts Monthly Screening Series, featuring selections from some of our SoCal FFA members including: Rom Com Fest, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, Shriekfest Horror Film Festival and Angaelica – Columbia Gorge International Film Festival.  GA tickets available here.  (FFA members get a discounted rate!)

Thank you to our sponsors Simple DCP and Wannago.

Film Line Up includes:
On Second Thought, D. Nora Jobling (Rom Com Fest)
Place, D. Jason Gudasz (NewFilmmakers LA)
We Summoned A Demon, D. Chris McInroy (Horrible Imaginings)
The Cleansing Hour, D. Damien LeVeck (Shriekfest)
Skinford, D. Nik Kacevski (HollyShorts)
Things Would Be Different, D. Kerri Fernsworth Feazell (Festival Angaelica)
Souls of Totality, D. Richard Raymond (HollyShorts)
Skin, D. Guy Nattiv  (HollyShorts)
The Driver is Red, D. Randall Christopher (HollyShorts)

SoCal Festival Organizers Meet Up

FFA & HollyShorts invite all Southern California festival organizers to a meet up on Thursday, May 30 from 5-7pm at Sid’s (the lobby bar in the TCL Theatre on Hollywood Blvd.) All festival organizers, both FFA members and non-members are invited to attend, but must register in advance here. Drink tickets are generously sponsored by Simple DCP.

Following the meet-up, HollyShorts’ monthly screening will feature a  Best of the SoCal Fests Shorts Program,  featuring favorite shorts from SoCal FFA member festivals including HollyShorts, Horrible Imaginings, RomCom Fest, Shriekfest, New Filmmakers LA  and more! Full program information coming soon. FFA members can get discounted screening ticket here.

This event is generously sponsored by SimpleDCP and Wannago.

New England Film Fest Meet Up: IFFBoston

Join Film Festival Alliance for a  casual, moderated discussion with fellow New England film festival organizers to discuss “Making The Case for Cinema Culture In Student-Driven Communities.” (Tickets are free, but please RSVP to let us know you are coming.)

What tactics do you use to develop young audiences who may be siloed on campus, what partnerships and liaisons can be created to attract and retain young talent and get them involved in your organization, how do you encourage them to come to a specific place at a specific time to experience a film with other people and nudge them outside their comfort zone? As film festivals, how can we keep the communal act of movie-going beyond the multiplex or the smart tv relevant?

Interested in an IFFBoston Industry Pass? Apply here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfSkmGbTluWrMyGoPRiJJgtAe–CJlLUBS1qkqMmEQjPXw_iA/viewform

Applications Open for DYFF: Developing Your Film Festival

Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) is the world’s only intensive development programme for film festival professionals. 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. The programme is 100% recommended by all previous participants, which include over 170 film festivals from around the world.

DYFF 2019 is taking place at New Horizons Film Festival  from 22-28 July. Here you will have the chance to see the beautiful Polish city of Wroclaw, one of the most incredible festivals in Europe, and home to the largest arthouse venue in Europe which plays host to the festival.

If you want to be next to discover the secrets of success from top film festivals, then apply to Developing Your Film Festival by 16 May 2019. The training programme is funded by Creative Europe and supported by the British Council, New Horizons International Film Festival and Vilnius International Film Festival.

About the course
The course is taught interactively by experts from the Independent Cinema Office as well as key festival staff from the best festivals from around the world (including representatives in the past from Berlinale, Hot Docs, Rotterdam, Toronto and many more have ). You will come away with a clear strategy that you can implement immediately, as well as new contacts from festivals around the world.

 The fee for attending DYFF19 is €1250. This includes accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and some meals. There will be scholarships and bursaries available to make it easier for you to attend.

On the course you will learn practical lessons about:

  • Sponsorship
  • Partnerships
  • Audience development
  • Programming
  • Press strategy
  • Income building

Scholarships
The fee for attending DYFF19 is €1250. This includes six nights accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and most meals. There are a limited number of the following scholarships available: 10 x Full scholarships worth €900 towards course fees (leaving €350 to pay in course fees), 8 x Part scholarships worth €650 towards course fees (leaving €600 to pay in course fees), 10 x Travel scholarships worth €200 (to spend on travel only)

 Please note, due to funding agreements, priority for scholarships will be given to film festival professionals working for not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than €400,000 from low capacity countries or non-EU countries that participate in the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme. This Scholarship is also open to freelance film festival professionals whose financial circumstances would otherwise prevent them from participating in the training.

In order to qualify for travel support, applicants need to live at least 50 miles from the course location. No travel expenses will be payable without official receipts. If you have any further queries or would like to apply for a scholarship, please contact training@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk.

Testimonials
100% of participants questioned said they would recommend 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 speaker’s expertise as ‘excellent’

 What DYFF participants say:

“I secured a whole bunch of sponsorship for GSFF this year, including a sizable commitment from our one sponsor. Don’t think I would’ve really gone for it without DYFF15!” – Morvern Cunningham, Glasgow Short Film Festival, UK

“It calibrated my work: what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong and it showed me ways of how to move forward.” – Nita Deda, Dokufest Kosovo

“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

“Our overall ticket sales increased by 30%.” –  Ornela Cop, Animafest Zagreb

“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

Take the 2019 Salary Survey Now

We encourage film festivals to take the 2019 Salary Survey to assist FFA in creating,  and then sharing an updated salary guide for our industry. This survey will take less than 15 minutes to complete if you have all of the compensation information available. If you would like to review the questions before beginning, please do so by clicking “start” and scrolling through.

At the end of the survey, an area is available to add comments or further explanation, if necessary.

The survey will be open until April 15, 2019. Information will be released by May 1, 2019.

CLICK TO TAKE THE SURVEY

FFA & Film Fatales Present the Parity Pipeline

As we, the film festival industry, emphasize the importance of parity within our programming, FFA has partnered with Film Fatales, to help make more films directed by women of all backgrounds available to more film festival programmers.

Together, we are excited to announce the launch of a beta phase of the Parity Pipeline, a programming initiative accessible to both FFA and Film Fatales members. This database is a tool designed to help festivals reach more historically under-represented filmmakers and more diverse content, and to allow filmmakers to reach a broader range of festivals and a wider audience.

We hope that this database of films will help our members who are striving towards, or who have already pledged for, parity in programming, and eliminate some of the barriers that come with traditional festival submission.
___________________________________________________________________________

How it works: Login to the Member Resources section of our website >  Parity Pipeline links. This will take you to a database of current films – both features and shorts – directed by members of Film Fatales. (All members of Film Fatales have directed at least one feature length film or episode of television.)

There, you can sort the films by a variety of categories, including completion date, running time, premiere status, film genre and filmmaker demographics. You can also read loglines, watch trailers, identify key talent and reach out to the Film Fatales programming team to offer  waivers or request screeners for specific titles. (Please note: per industry standard, if you invite a film to submit to your festival or ask for a screener, that you waive any submission fee.)

As the Parity Pipeline expands beyond the beta phase, additional projects will continue to be added to this database, to diversify both the films and the filmmakers represented.

More details are coming soon: www.paritypipeline.org

Please contact info@filmfatales.org with any questions.

Apply Now to Host a 2020 Regional Roundtable

The application process is now open for FFA member festivals who are interested in hosting a Regional Roundtable gathering in 2020. 2018 and 2019 host festivals include SIFF (WA), Woods Hole (MA), Cucalorus (NC), Cleveland (OH), Sidewalk (AL) and Denver (CO.)

Regional Roundtables allow festival organizers to meet up throughout the year for these affordable, capacity building, networking and programming opportunities, and offer an immersive way to experience the flavor and diversity of festivals across the country.

Three festivals will be selected based on geographic location, resources available, filmmaker attendance and unique offerings to attendees. FFA fully anticipates that each Regional Roundtable will take on its own unique flavor and anyone interested in encouraged to apply. While repeat hosts are welcome to apply, preference will be given to new festivals

Please follow this link to complete the application by April 1, 2019. Festivals will be notified no later than May 31, 2019.

Regional Roundtable CLE Schedule Announced!

We’re exited to announce the full schedule for our first Regional Roundtable of the year at the 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival. One of the largest film festivals in the US, with attendance topping 100,000 for the last four years, CIFF will play host to a gathering of film festival organizers as well as hundreds of filmmakers and more than 500 screenings.

With a focus on Communicating To Your Community (marketing, community partnerships, media, volunteers and more) this RR will some unique behind-the-scenes Case Study opportunities to check out the inner-workings of a 43 year old film festival.  Plus, check out the full CIFF lineup here and download the 2019 RR-CIFF43 Schedule3 here.

Registration is $50 for current FFA members and $75 for non-members. The first 20 registered attendees will receive a complimentary Industry Badge may use that at anytime between March 27-April 7. Sponsored by FilmFreeway and Agile Ticketing Solutions.

 

Regional Roundtable: Cleveland International Film Festival

FFA presents its first Regional Roundtable of 2019, taking place Friday, April 5th – Sunday, April 7th at the 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival. The overall theme for this gathering is Communication & Connectivity – with an emphasis on marketing, media, community engagement/ partnerships, branding, and publicity. Register here.

Learn more about the weekend – including a  group field trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – and CIFF, here. CIFF43 program details will be available at clevelandfilm.org on Friday, March 1.  Attendance has exceeded 100,000 for the past four years.

Complimentary industry passes will be offered to the first 30 FFA members who register. Discounted Industry Passes will be available for non-members. All festival professionals are welcome to attend.

Thank you to our sponsors Agile Ticketing Solutions and FilmFreeway.

Upcoming NEA Grant Opportunities

The NEA is back at work and has announced upcoming grant opportunities and deadlines for film festivals and organizations.

Art Works 1

Deadline: February 14

Proposals are accepted across 15 disciplines for the Art Works award, including Media Arts. During this upcoming deadline, the Media Arts discipline accepts proposals for projects that support exhibition, presentation, distribution, and preservation activities for all genres and forms of media art that uses electronic media, film, and/or technology. A general guidelines webinar for the 2019 Art Works program is now available here. If you have been a Challenge America applicant in the past and are interested in applying to the Art Works program, a special webinar is available here.

Note: It is recommended to submit the SF-424 form to Grants.gov by 02/05/19.

Challenge America

Deadline: 04/11/19

The Challenge America category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.

Note: It is recommended to register/renew your Grants.gov/SAM registration by 03/20/19 and submit the SF-424 form to Grants.gov by 04/02/19.

FFA & Festival Scope Pro Partner for Member Discount & Giveaway

Film Festival Alliance is happy to announce a partnership with Festival Scope Pro, the online platform exclusively for film professionals. We’re introducing a special offer for our members: discounted one-year Festival Scope Pro memberships: 50€/year (roughly $57USD). (Regular price: 70€/year or roughly $80USD.

Festival Scope Pro presents programming from over 90 international film festivals, made available online and on demand. With your Festival Scope Pro account, you will be able to watch an ever growing collection of films from around the world, gather information about upcoming projects, contact rights holders and directors and many more features that will assist in festival planning and programming.

To take advantage of the offer, please fill out this form by February 7th. You will then be contacted with a special promo code to take advantage of the discounted FFA rate. PLUS: Three festivals/festival professionals who apply and confirm their order, will be randomly selected by the Festival Scope Pro team to receive a  BONUS complimentary one-year membership for a second member of their organization or programming team.

Save the Dates for 2019 Regional Roundtables

FFA’s Regional Roundtables return in 2019 to member festivals: Cleveland International Film Festival (April 5-7), Sidewalk Film Festival (August 23-25) and Denver Film Festival (November 8-10.)

Join fellow film festival organizers throughout the year for these affordable capacity building, networking and programming opportunities, and an immersive way to experience the flavor and diversity of festivals across the country.  In 2018, Regional Roundtables were held at the Seattle International Film Festival (WA), Woods Hole Film Festival (MA) and Cucalorus Film Festival (NC.) More details coming soon!

Nominations Now Open for FFA Board of Directors

FFA is seeking new Board Members to begin service in January 2019. Interested FFA members should fill out this brief form. The deadline for nominations is December 24. A slate of candidates will be presented to the membership for voting in January, and they will be announced at the Annual Meeting. The current Board of Directors has set goals of inclusivity that guide our long term leadership development, and encourages all interested parties to apply.

Advanced Registration Extended for AHC!

The advanced registration rate for the 2019 Art House Convergence gathering has been extended! Now through December 12th, film festival professionals can register for $725 (individual) or $675 (more than 2 from the same organization.)

AHC is the largest gathering of art house cinema and film festival professionals in North America and is a must-attend event for anyone working in the independent cinema exhibition industry. Learn more about lodging and confirmed panels here.

The FFA Pass Exchange Has Arrived!

Just in time for 2019 festival travel planning, FFA members now have access to the FFA Pass Exchange program! Members can add passes to the list and apply for available passes. Apply for as many as you’d like and give away two or an infinite number.

Applicants will entered into a lottery (if necessary) and will be drawn at random – there is no preferential treatment! Recipients will be notified shortly after the application deadline.

Art House Convergence Updates: Lodging, Panels & More

Art House Convergence is just two months away! This year’s conference goals include Community Building, Elevate the Conversation, Action Beyond the Conference and Equity and Inclusivity.

All festival professionals are welcome, and registration allows you access to any panel or session at the conference. Come find your people!

  • Advanced Registration rates end November 29th. Click here for rates and dates.
  • New lodging options have been added for this year. You can also check Airbnb & VRBO for other nearby properties.
  • Complimentary busses are available at select times from SLC airport and then post-conference, back to SLC and on to Park City. Click here for times & reservations.
  • FFA & AHC have announced several panels! A full conference agenda is coming soon.

FFA/SIO Select Participants for 2019 Diversity Pass Program

Congratulations to the film festival organizers and programmers who were selected for the FFA/SIO Diversity Pass Program, an initiative between the two organizations to encourage and cultivate diversity within the film festival industry. Out of 10 passes that will be comped or discounted, attendees represent 9 states and Canada, 9 are first-time Sundance Film Festival attendees, 8 are women, 6 are people of color, and 3 represent the LGBTQ community.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with our friends at the Film Festival Alliance, who share our passion and commitment to diversity, on expanding access to our Festival,” said Rosie Wong, Director, Industry Relations, Sundance Institute. “We’re eager to welcome the organizers of the many festivals that spotlight diverse points of view and experiences, and help them connect audiences to the bold, independent work we showcase.”

We looking forward to seeing everyone in Park City in January!

Comp Passes:

  • Ian Damon Martin, Community Outreach Director, Middle Coast Film Festival (Chicago, IL)
  • Patrice Francois, Co-Founder/Director, Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Kevin Sampson, Festival Director, DC Black Film Festival (Washington, DC)
  • Savine Wong, Executive Director, Reel Asian International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
  • Susan Chinsen, Founding Director, Boston Asian American Film Festival (Boston, MA)

Discounted Passes:

  • Alyx Picard, Director of Festival and Operations, Dead Center Film Festival (Oklahoma City, OK)
  • Kathryn Hecht, Founder/Director Alexander Film Festival (Sonoma County, CA)
  • Anna Colavito, Founding Director, Scout Film Festival (Stowe, VT)
  • LaSonya Thompson, Founder/Director, InterFaith Film & Music Festival (NY, NY)
  • Rachel Morgan, Creative Director, Sidewalk Film Festival & Sidewalk Cinema (Birmingham, AL)

Regional Roundtable: Cucalorus Schedule is Live!

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. Click here to see the session lineup and here to register now.  

A number of complimentary Cucalorus Festival industry passes will be available by lottery for FFA members who register by October 21. Additional, deeply discounted passes will be available for members as well. (Industry passes allow full access to everything Cucalorus. To see a full list of Cucalorus films, stage, music and off-screen events, click here.

Thank you to our sponsors, Eventive and Film Freeway.

Exclusive SXSW Discount Offers for FFA Members

FFA has partnered with SXSW to extend discounted rates on registrations to attend the 2019 South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals. FFA members will be able to access exclusive pricing for this year’s SXSW event that extends to all badge types: Interactive, Film, Music, and Platinum.

SXSW celebrates the convergence of technology, film, and music industries. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

To activate the discount, FFA Members should Login > Resources > Activate Member Resources > SXSW Registration Discount.

FFA Partners with Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission for Festival Workshop

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.

Early Bird Registration Now Open for 2019 FFA Annual Conference/Art House Convergence!

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 >

New Member Resource: Access to Seasonal Staff Roster

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 >

September Webinar: The Parity Pledge for Film Festivals and How To Embrace It

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: https://zoom.us/j/4288547450
Telephone: 646-876-9923
Meeting ID: 428 854 7450

Sundance & FFA Partner for SIO Diversity Pass Program

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 SIO@sundance.org 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.

FFA Announces Regional Roundtable: Cucalorus

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!

FFA Names Lela Meadow-Conner as Executive Director

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.”

Woods Hole Regional Roundtable: Audience As Stakeholders

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.

Schedule/Agenda:

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.

July Webinar: The Film Festival Starts Online

THE FILM FESTIVAL STARTS ONLINE
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.

LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android (see the slides): https://zoom.us/j/4288547450
Call in from a phone: US: 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 428 854 7450

Webinar: Demystifying Membership

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.

LOGIN INSTRUCTIONS:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android (see the slides): https://zoom.us/j/4288547450
Call in from a phone: US: 646 876 9923, Meeting ID: 428 854 7450

FFA Members Receive Free Listing on CineLife!

FFA is excited to announce another valuable opportunity through its partnership with Spotlight Cinema Networks! FFA members will receive a free premium listing on Spotlight’s mobile app: CineLife.

CineLife, developed in conjunction with the Art House Convergence, is a mobile app that reaches dedicated independent film enthusiasts. Users discover film festival dates, Q&A’s, live arts and other special events in their community as well as independent films, showtimes, and movie news from across the nation.

As a CineLife partner, FFA members will receive a custom-branded profile, with logo and custom color scheme, as well as integration of social media and other feeds. Your custom branded festival listing will appear with the theatre list in your area for about a month, increasing awareness and attendance.

To get started, just fill out this form – it is that easy!

Spotlight Support Program Returns

FFA’s popular Spotlight Support Program, from sponsor Spotlight Cinema Networks is back!

The Spotlight Support Program is a great way for Film Festival Alliance (FFA) members to generate self-earned revenue by leveraging unused/underused screen time during their events. This is a turnkey revenue generating opportunity offered exclusively to U.S. film festivals that are Film Festival Alliance organizational members. Learn more & apply here.

Member Testimonials:

“It would not be exaggerating to say that the Spotlight Support Program helped elevate the experience at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. Because the folks at Spotlight work so hard to find sponsors that are strong fits for us thematically, the sponsor messaging on display at the event was relevant and of interest to our audience. With the helpfulness of the team and the strong financial support of the sponsors they find, the partnership offered by the Spotlight Support Program is unparalleled!” Miguel Rodriquez, Director, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

“The Spotlight Support Program has been indispensable for Other Worlds Austin, supplying us with an easily recognizable corporation that adds credibility to the festival to leverage with the rest of our sponsors, in addition to the always appreciated financial support.  The team is easy to work with and quick to respond to questions.  And someone in our audience told me they actually bought the car we featured two years in a row, so apparently it’s great for advertisers as well.” – Bears Rebecca Fonte, Founder/Director of Programming, Other Worlds Austin Sci Fi Film Festival

Registration Now Open for Regional Roundtable: Woods Hole!

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:
https://airtable.com/shrVItEAuYRTWVVEH
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 as is the WHOOSH Shuttle from Woods Hole to Falmouth.

Meet the Programmers at SIFF

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. 

SIFF Regional Roundtable Agenda

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:

Registration is Open for the Regional Roundtable: SIFF

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.

Helpful Tips from the NEA Regarding Upcoming Grant Deadlines

NEA Art Works Grant Opportunity for Media Arts Organizations – Overview

Part 1 – Submit SF-424 to Grants.gov: 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 Grants.gov (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 (burfords@arts.gov) or Sarah Metz (metzs@arts.gov).

FFA Welcomes Four New Board Members

(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.

DYFF Extends Deadline To January 29th

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:
Sponsorship
Partnerships
Audience development
Programming
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: jemma.buckley@independentcinemaoffice.org.uk

Testimonials
· 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

FFA Is Seeking New Board Members for 2018!

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.

2018 FFA@AHC: Important Attendee Updates!

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:

SOCIAL FABRIC: T-SHIRT EXCHANGE
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 THEY RAN THE PLACE: SHORT FILM PROGRAM
Before you became a festival professional, were you a director, actor, producer or worked on a short film? If so, send a link to jon@filmfestivalalliance.org, 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).

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

LODGING:
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.

Cheers!

Jon Gann & Lela Meadow-Conner
Conference Organizers

FFA@AHC 2018 Panels Announced!

Register Now

Confirmed Panels to date include:

SESSIONS AND PANELS

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.

MAKING YOUR FESTIVAL ‘FESTIVE’
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.

LET’S TALK DISTRIBUTION
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.

REAL DATA = REAL GROWTH
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.

BUILDING A FUTURE: DEVELOPING A LOVE OF CINEMA AMONG CHILDREN
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.

TURNING NON-TRADITIONAL SPACES INTO SUCCESSFUL SCREENING VENUES
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.

WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD WOLF?
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.

FESTIVAL TALES
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.

MARKETING DEEP-DIVE
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.


SPECIAL EVENTS & CONNECTIONS

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

PRODUCT DEMOS
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.

ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE MEETING & ELECTION
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.

EVENING COCKTAIL RECEPTIONS
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.

INTERFACE WITH YOUR TRIBE
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.

PLUS DOZENS OF OTHER SESSIONS ORGANIZED BY ART HOUSE CONVERGENCE — ALL OPEN TO YOU!

Register Now

Interested in joining an FFA Panel at the 2018 conference?

Email us! We’re seeking festivals professionals of all kinds to join in sharing your knowledge with the tribe. Confirmed Panels to Date Include:

  • Making Your Festival Festive/Programming Beyond the Films 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.
  • Let’s Talk Distribution 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.
  • Real Data Means Real Growth 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.
  • Building a Future: Developing a Love of Cinema among Children 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.
  • Festival Tales 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.

FFA members represent @ The University Film & Video Association Conference

On Sunday July 30th, FFA sponsored a Meet The Festival Directors & Programmers panel at the University Film and Video Association Conference in Los Angeles. The panel gave film teachers a chance to meet and ask questions of film festival professionals. Participants included programmers from the Bentonville Film Festival, the Utah Film Awards, Outfest, the Pasadena International Film Festival and the Dallas VideoFest. Over the 90 minutes of conversation, the filmmakers/ teachers learned about our various programming processes and the discussion continued over drinks nearby. Cards were exchanged, friendships were made, and we had fun – as film fest folks do!

New FFA Members Shorts Program at Art House Convergence!

Festival Folks:  Are you a Former (or Current) Filmmaker?

As part of this year’s Film Festival Alliance conference, we’re introducing a new evening shorts program, comprised of films made by YOU!  Submit your short for “Directors on Directing: Shorts from Recovering Filmmakers.” The program will be curated by Jon Gann, founder of the DC Shorts Film Festival and short film programmer extraordinaire.

FAQ’s

  • Submissions are open to anyone who works for an FFA member festival
  • Shorts must be 15 minutes or less (unless it’s REALLY good)
  • Screeners must be available online or downloadable
  • Send links to info@filmfestivalalliance.org
  • Super Duper Extended Deadline: December 31, 2017
  • There is no submission fee and NO waivers will be extended
  • The screening will be followed by a Q&A with all attending filmmakers
  • A prize will be given to the Audience Award Winner
  • The film must have been made and completed between 1957 – 2017.

Register Now for FFA/AHC. (FFA Members Receive Extended Early Bird Pricing.)

Registration is now open for the 2018 Art House Convergence and Film Festival Alliance conference.

Register by September 30th and receive Early Bird pricing. FFA Members receive Early Bird through November 30! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Early Bird + : $495/individual | 3 or more from the same organization
Early Bird: $575/individual

The registration price goes up after September 30th for non-FFA Members. See price schedule below:

October 1 – November 30
Individual: $675
Two or more from the same organization: : $625

December 1 – Conference
Group: $775
Two or more from the same organization: : $725

What does the registration fee include?

  • Complimentary bus to/from the Zermatt & Homestead Resorts from downtown Salt Lake City (More details on pick-up and drop-off location will be sent prior to conference) *only available on Monday and Thursday of the conference*
  • Most meals from Monday evening through Thursday lunchtime (think lunch, dinner, and some light breakfast + Art House Lounge snacks!)
  • Drink tickets for use at events throughout the conference
  • All the coffee your brain desires! (or tea!)
  • Access to all education sessions, workshops, and keynote speakers
  • Access to all evening events, like film screenings, trivia and karaoke
  • Conference Attendee bag, including program guide, Art House swag, and other educational materials (we’ve been known to have *pretty cool* swag…)
  • Online access to speaker and panel presentations following the conference
  • And so much more…

What does the registration fee NOT include?

  • Hotel reservations (see below)
  • Festival Organizer’s Dinner
  • Airfare/your mode of transportation to Utah
  • Transportation to/from the Zermatt & Homestead Resort when our complimentary buses are not running.

Make Your Hotel Reservations Today

Zermatt Resort
784 W Resort Dr
Midway, UT 84049
1-866-937-6288
Rooms start at $149/night
*NEW: There is a 3-NIGHT minimum at the Zermatt Resort*
To make your reservations at the Zermatt, click here
—–
Homestead Resort
700 Homestead Dr
Midway, UT 84049
1-800-327-7220
Rooms start at $129/night
To make your reservations at the Homestead, call 1-800-327-7220

*Make sure to mention Art House to get the discounted rates. There are no minimum nights at the Homestead.

Submit Your Session Proposals for 5th FFA @AHC

The 5th annual Film Festival Alliance conference in conjunction with the Art House Convergence invites film festivals and organizations to submit session and workshop proposals for the January 15-18, 2018 gathering in Midway, Utah.

The largest annual meeting of Film Festival professionals, FFA @AHC continues to define our field, and provide professional development opportunities to film festivals, film societies, art house cinemas and other exhibition-oriented organizations. Together, we build our collective networks, work to identify our common challenges, and celebrate the unique characteristic that make every attendee a valuable member of our community.

The deadline for proposals is July 31, 2017.

Submissions will be reviewed and speakers will be notified by early September. Please note we cannot accommodate every session proposal. (View the 2017 program.)

FFA Members receive discounted registration – more information coming soon. See you in Midway!

FFA Members Receive New Benefits from Film Freeway

Film Festival Alliance is excited to announce our renewed partnership with FilmFreeway, the word’s leading submission platform, including a special expansion of discounted pricing and free marketing on FilmFreeway exclusively for current FFA members.

FFA Member Exclusive Benefits:

  • $100 credit to be used for any FilmFreeway marketing services.
  • Special discounted commission rate:
    • Standard rate: 8.5%
    • FFA Members: 7%
  • Special discounted rate on ticketing services:
    • Standard rate: 3% plus $0.99 cents
    • FFA Members: 2% plus $0.69 cents (All inclusive rate with NO credit card processing fees.)

FFA Members, activate your new benefits today!

Festival Folks Needed for University Conference Panel

Sunday July 30th
2:30pm – 4:15pm
Cal State – Los Angeles

This is your opportunity to address university film and video teachers from around the country. Bart Weiss, from member organization Dallas VideoFest, has arranged for festival programmers and organizers to meet and hold a panel in front of the UFVA (University Film and Video Association) during their annual conference.

After an opening discussion about the FFA and our role in the industry, each festival will be able to address the audience about their events, what they are looking for, and suggest ways to better work with film and video schools. After the session, there will be ample time to talk informally with one another, and build new relationships.

For more information or to be included on the panel, contact Bart at bart@videofest.org

FFA & Spotlight Cinema Networks Launch 2017 Spotlight Support Program


For the second year in a row, FFA has partnered with Spotlight Cinema Networks to bring our member festivals the Spotlight Support Program –  a great way for Film Festival Alliance (FFA) members to generate self-earned revenue by leveraging unused/underused screen time during their events.

“Spotlight Cinema Networks matched us up with a high-profile company and even found  a second choice when the first sponsor was problematic for our venue due to circumstances out of our control.  We loved having a national company associated with our brand and I think it helped festival goers see us in a new light, said Bears Fonte, Founder/Director of Programming of the Other Worlds Austin Sci Fi Film Festival.

Win a Free Registration to the AHC Regional in Philly!

Our friends at Art House Convergence are giving away a FREE REGISTRATION for the AHC Regional Seminar in Philadelphia to one lucky Film Festival Alliance Member.

The 3-day seminar includes networking, a Festival Operations Panel presented by the Philadelphia Film Society, a Fundraising Panel, a special event with the inventor of the Steadicam, a group photo on the “Rocky Steps” & much more.

To enter the giveaway, just fill out our quick FFA Q&A (please complete the quick survey even if you can’t make it – your feedback is deeply valuable!)  We’ll announce the selected entrant on Wednesday, Thursday May 18th to allow plenty of time for travel arrangements.

Make sure to renew your membership or join today to be eligible for this special giveaway!

FFA Wants to Hear From You!

FILM FESTIVAL ALLIANCE WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Following a successful 4th annual conference in conjunction with the Art House Convergence in January, the Film Festival Alliance (FFA) is building on its established foundation to become North America’s preeminent film festival service organization, strengthening this vital segment of the film exhibition industry, and providing even more robust resources to help mission-driven film festivals meet their community needs.

The newly elected Board of Directors includes President Dan Brawley (Cucalorus Film Festival), Vice President Andrew Rodgers (Denver Film Society), Treasurer Anne Chaisson (Hamptons International Film Festival and FFA founding member), Secretary Judy Laster (Woods Hole Film Festival, FFA founding member) and Jon Gann (Founder DC Shorts Film Festival, Past Program Director, FFA.) Members at large include Beth Barrett (SIFF), Clint Bowie (New Orleans Film Society), Mark Fishkin (Califiornia Film Institute) and Josh Leake (Portland Film Festival.)

FFA has hired Lela Meadow-Conner (Tallgrass Film Association) to serve in a consulting role as the Acting Executive Director. A founder of Wichita’s Tallgrass Film Festival, its former Executive Director, and current Creative Director, she brings her entrepreneurial spirit and love of film festivals to the FFA. FFA’s founding members created a strong framework and the group will focus on constructing a productive and valuable organization for all film festival folks. “It’s important to us that we are an inclusive group for all film festival professionals and that we recognize our common threads, and appreciate those characteristics that make every festival unique,” said Meadow-Conner.

“Along with developing the best programming for our 5th annual conference in January, 2018, we’ll be focusing on learning from our members how best we can help service our industry and advocate for film festivals of all sizes and genres across the country,” said Brawley.

We want to hear from you! Tell us how you’d like to see the Film Festival Alliance evolve and better serve your organization. Email Lela @ filmfestivalalliance.org, or 323.810.6909, or email  Dan @ cucalorus.org.

Short Film Survey

The Film Festival Alliance, in coordination with Anna Feder (Emerson College, Wicked Queer), is conducting a survey to collect information about shorts programming at festivals throughout the U.S. The findings will be presented by Anna during SXSW this March, and published anonymously on the FFA website shortly after.

12 Questions. 12 minutes. 
Thank you.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

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…

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 kristin@mccrackhouse.com

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.

 

Are You Deploying Effective Practices for Successful Audience Engagement?

Film Festivals, like arts organizations across the country, are experimenting with new ways to fulfill their missions and keep—if not expand—their audiences, at a time when consumers have more choices than ever before. The Wallace Foundation recently partnered with the American Alliance of Museums and six other nonprofit arts service organizations to share the principles for reaching and retaining new audiences in The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences, by Bob Harlow. Following are some excerpts from the report, courtesy of our AAM colleagues:

Recognizing When Change Is Needed.
Organizations saw a pattern of audience behavior that presented an opportunity or a challenge for their financial viability, artistic viability, or both. They recognized that change was necessary to seize this opportunity or overcome the challenge. In some cases, the urgency of the challenge or opportunity actually served the initiative by keeping it front and center, capturing and sustaining the attention of the entire organization over the years needed to build a following.

Determining What Kinds of Barriers Need to Be Removed.
Successful organizations identified the types of barriers impeding the target audience’s participation and shaped their strategies accordingly.

Thinking Through the Relationship.
Some case study organizations went so far as to spell out a vision of the relationship they wanted to cultivate with the new audience, including specific roles for the audience and themselves. By doing so, they gave their audience-building initiatives structure and a sense of purpose. Leaders and staff members understood how they wanted the audience to interact with their organization and developed programs to fulfill that vision.

Providing Multiple Ways In.
Staff expanded the ways people could access their organizations both literally and psychologically. Many organizations provided gateway experiences to acquaint newcomers with their activities. Others generated interest by making connections to things that their target audience already knew or by showing them different sides of their institutions.

Check out the full report: The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences.


Have a success story? We’d love to share it with the wider festival audience.
Drop us a line at info@ifpfestivalforum.org.

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. 

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

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

C
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
Cinemapolis
Circle Cinema
Clinton Street Theater
The Clover Theater
Cohen Media Group
The Colonial Theatre
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Cornerhouse and HOME

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

E
EatDrinkFilms
Egyptian Theatre Preservation Association
Enzian Theater
EW Booking

F
Fandor
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

G
Gateway Film Center
Gold Town Theater
The Grand Cinema

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

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

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

K
Kalamazoo Film Society
Kristin McCracken, Former VP Tribeca

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

M
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

N
New Orleans Film Festival
newportFILM
Nickelodeon Theatre
The North Group Inc.

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

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

S
Salem Cinema
San Francisco Film Society
San Francisco Indie Fest
Shoreline Entertainment
SpectiCast
State Theatre of Modesto
Studio Movie Grill
Sub-Genre
Summerfield Cinemas

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

U
The United Theatre
Utah Film Center

W
Westport Cinema Initiative
Wilmette Theatre
Woods Hole Film Festival

Z
Zoetropolis

IFP Festival Forum Responds to DOJ Proposal on ADA Compliance in Movie Theaters

In response to the recent proposal by the Department of Justice that “would explicitly require movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed captioning and audio description at all times and for all showings…,” the IFP Festival Forum has submitted the following comment. 

(You can download the full comment here.)


Before the
Department of Justice

In the Matter of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations—Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description 

 

)))

)   CRT Docket No. 12

)   AG Order No. 3449-2014

)   RIN 1190-AA63

)

)

)

)

COMMENT OF THE IFP FESTIVAL FORUM,
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FILM FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS

Submitted By:
Jody Arlington
Acting Director
IFP Festival Forum
3121 South Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
November 29, 2014

COMMENT

The IFP Festival Forum is a professional association that advocates for the needs and interests of Film Festivals and their organizers. We provide a collaborative platform for members to develop and share operational and curatorial efficiencies, set professional standards, and establish best practices. The Forum serves the collective priorities of its membership while leveraging its leadership, expertise, and vision within the international film community and the broader cultural landscape. Founded in 2010, the Forum serves more than 200 U.S. & International festival programmers and executives.

We are also tightly knit with a coalition of filmmaker organizations devoted to the support and advocacy of independent documentary and narrative filmmaking and the media arts, which serves over 400,000 filmmakers and media professionals nationwide.

While there is not a definitive number of Film Festivals in the United States, a recent study calculated 2,000 US Festivals, representing 40% of the approximately 5,000 global film festivals[1].

Similarly, the definition of a film festival is also not settled, but for the purposes of this comment, a festival can be as ambitious as a month long event screening hundreds of films in twenty theaters across a city or region, to a one to three day event in a library, university, convention center, hotel ballroom or outdoor tent.

The current proposed rule would explicitly require movie theaters to exhibit movies with closed captioning and audio description at all times and for all showings whenever movies are produced, distributed, or otherwise made available with captioning and audio description unless to do so would result in an undue burden or fundamental alteration to serve patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing or blind or have low vision.

Film Festivals by their very nature want to attract the widest audiences possible, and are supportive of the widest availability of technologies and training that will support accessibility to cinema for all Americans. But as written, without clarity for film festivals, the order could potentially create undue financial and logistical burdens on festivals, or result in destabilizing uncertainty among the field, non-traditional theatrical venues, filmmakers and audiences.

Film Festivals often provide a platform for independent filmmakers to find an audience and distribution. Therefore the Film Festival exhibition can take place before the film has received funding. Once a film has attended a Film Festival and is fortunate enough to be acquired by a distribution entity the film may go through several edits before being ready to present in a commercial setting. We laud the DOJ for not requiring festivals to bear the cost of encoding for closed captioning nor place this cost on independent filmmakers, which could lead festivals to reject most films due to time and finances. In any of these circumstances, this would represent an undue burden on both the Film Festivals and independent filmmakers.

We respectfully urge the DOJ to consider the following actions to ensure the new rules, which we support for commercial theaters, do not inadvertently stifle film festival culture, or create needless misunderstandings within the film festival industry, their vendors and audiences.

The DOJ should consider explicitly exempting film festivals to prevent undue logistical and financial burdens, or confusion about compliance for temporary exhibition events.

Most film festivals, even those that are presented under the direction of a year-round non-profit film society, institute or even art house theater, face intense logistical challenges as these events come together at the last minute, usually four to five weeks before opening, with short term temporary and volunteer festival staff. Most films are presented before they have been acquired for distribution and are not encoded with closed captioning and/or audio. But sometimes they are encoded. While every effort might be made to schedule an encoded film in an accessible-ready theater, the realities of scheduling are based on filmmaker availability to attend, size of theater appropriate for the anticipated popularity of the film, and even managing different exhibition capabilities and film lengths across multiple venues. The rule as written would not exempt a festival from showing an accessible coded film in a non-accessible theater, which might result in the film not being programmed, or otherwise unduly influence the artistic choices of programmers who are best suited to cater to the interests and needs of their local audiences.

The DOJ should make explicit much earlier in the rule its definition of a movie theater to include only “facilities used primarily for the purpose of showing movies to the public for a fee” to prevent festivals, temporary venues and even audience confusion.

Currently, festival organizers, venue operators and audiences discover that the rule doesn’t apply to temporary venues only after reading through the DOJ’s history of the moving image, analysis of audiences, financial models, and technical descriptions of equipment and systems for the blind, deaf, low-vision, or low-hearing audiences.

The majority of film festivals rely on more than just movie theaters. They utilize hotel ballrooms, armories, convention centers, tents, outdoor screens and even cafés for venues. We applaud the DOJ for recognizing and exempting these temporary venues, so that libraries, hotels and convention centers that rarely show films will continue to make their venues available to festivals and other exhibitions without undue burden. More clarity on this point ensures that these venues continue to make themselves available to festivals, and festivals make films available to the widest audiences.

The DOJ should calculate audiences by average attendance, not available seats, when determining how many devices a venue should purchase.

Festivals work hand in hand with their venues, whether art houses, commercial theater chains or alternative venues. We echo the Art House Convergence and National Association of Theater Owners concerns on the formula that the DOJ currently deploys to determine number of devices for theaters. It should not be based on number of seats, but on average daily weekend attendance, to reflect actual audiences, not maximum potential audiences. The current calculation by number of seats per theater to calculate number of required devices leads to unnecessary expenditures without providing any real enhancement of accessibility for the disabled. Yet that money is critically important to Festival groups and art houses that have small budgets and need more money to promote their important mission.

For its part, the Festival Forum will explore best practices for our members to better communicate on accessibility issues with their audiences, and train temporary staff in the use of equipment in venues where they might be called upon to assist with the operation of such devices. We would support any efforts to help independent filmmakers afford encoding so that larger audiences can experience their films.

[1] See Fallows, Stephen, The Truths Behind Film Festivals (2013), available at stephenfollows.com/film-festivals-pt1-the-truths-behind-film-festivals/

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!

Have You Subscribed to our Newsletter?

The Film Festival Alliance has an e-newsletter, designed to keep you in the loop all year long.

Topics include:

  • Updates about events such as IFP Film Week the Art House Convergence
  • Best practices
  • Invitations to monthly Webinars
  • Updates on our national advocacy efforts
  • Member profiles
  • And much more!

Check it out.  and if you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter below.

2014 IFP Festival Forum: Takeaways

Thanks for joining us in NYC for the 2014 IFP Festival Forum!

Welcome to the takeaway page…
In the coming days, we will continue to list follow-up documents and contacts here for the various panels, workshops and presenters.

Film Festival Programming: Best Practices

Click to download document:

IFPFF-programming-best-practices

Festival Budgets: Best Practices

Lesli Klainberg, Film Society of Lincoln Center | @lklainberg | @FilmLinc
♦ Colin Stanfield, New York Film Festival | @colinstanfield | @TheNYFF

Click for their presentation:

Budgeting Workshop image

Advocacy Tool Kit: Harmony Institute / Festival’s Impact

♦ Harmony Institute | Facebook | @HInstitute
StoryPilot
Debika Shome (presenter): email

Sign up to be a beta user at storypilot.org.

Everyone is on the Marketing Team

♦ Chris Holland | Atlanta Film FestivalFilm Festival Secrets | @ffsecrets
♦ Kristin McCracken | Hamptons International Film FestivalMcCrackHouse.com | @kmc1213

♦ Link to Social Media Handbook for Crowdfunding Filmmakers (c/o Seed & Spark)

Click for their presentation:

Everyone is on the Marketing Team

Festival Tools: Submissions Survey

♦ Jon Gann | DC Shorts | Film Festival Organizers (Facebook) | @jongann

Click for his presentation:

       Acquiring Festival Submissions IFPFF 2014


And of course, please make sure you follow IFP Festival Forum on Facebook and Twitter!

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 kristin@mccrackhouse.com

Join us in Uniting and Supporting the Film Festival Field and Promoting its Importance

All of us at the IFP Festival Forum—a small core of volunteers—are grateful for our members faith in us as we work towards creating a sustainable, national organization that can serve the field.

Look what has been accomplished in this transformative year!

  • Partnering with the Art House Convergence to present programming at their annual conference, we have found a permanent home for substantive professional development.
  • Launching our website complete with moderated discussion group, which is populated with useful materials from previous presentations.
  • Building expanded and member sourced programming for this year’s Independent Film Week in September and…
  • We are weeks away from launching our Industry Organizational Benchmark Survey.

We’ve been busy, and so have our members, serving their communities in diverse and creative ways.

As we transition to a paid membership model, we have negotiated terrific benefits for our members almost equal the cost of joining.  Those who already joined as Founding Members will receive the same Founding Member benefits retroactively. Thank you!  For new members, please go to http://www.ifpfestivalforum.com/membership/how-to-join/ for a complete list of amazing member perks.

Our work has just begun! We are buoyed by the great support and enthusiasm we’ve received from our community thus far.

Join us as a Founding, Organizational or individual member now…

We look forward to working with you!

–Festival Forum Executive Committee