FilmEx Summit

June 21-24, 2023

Registration NOW OPEN for FFA Members
Register during your exclusive two-week window at our Early Bird rate.
Limited spots available and registration opens to the general public on April 5th.

Register here

The FilmEx Summit will bring together industry leaders and decision-makers from film festivals & independent theaters across the United States and Canada, gathering June 21 - 24 in downtown Chicago, to discuss the future of the film festival, and wider exhibition, industry.

The Summit will focus on leadership and professional development for executive directors and high-level decision-makers in your organization. FilmEx has been a leader in critical industry conversations around accessibility, diversity & inclusion, pay equity, staff wellness, and advocacy for film festivals. In its year-round programming, Film Festival Alliance has provided education and training on fundraising, marketing, programming, and operations for film festivals. The Summit will be a space where we bring all of our knowledge together and chart a path forward, outlining the steps to a brighter future.

The Summit is ideal for: Executive Directors, Associate Directors, Board Presidents, and other high-level decision-makers.

Why are we segmenting the conference like this? We want to create a dynamic, safe space for peers facing similar challenges to connect. As an executive director or key decision-maker, you are tasked with balancing the organization's mission and its budget, which can be very challenging. Creating opportunities for your development as a leader is critical to the success of our field. 

Will there be a Summit for my role? FFA hopes to plan an annual Summit with a rotating focus, so the right folks can be in the room together, getting to the heart of the issues, and developing tangible, actionable next steps to tackle our industry's immediate and systemic issues.

FilmEx comprises the semi-annual conference and seminars run by Film Festival Alliance, virtually and in-person. The Summit will be its first large-scale in-person conference since its gathering at the 2020 Art House Convergence conference. 


March 22nd: Registration goes on sale for FFA Members
April 5: Registration opens for everyone
May 17: Price goes up!

Early Bird Registration (before May 17):
FFA Members: $395
Non-Members: $425

Regular Registration (after May 17):
FFA Members: $425
Non-Members: $475

Click Here to Register 

Registration for the FilmEx Summit includes:

  • Pass for all Summit sessions and workshops
  • Keynote Dinner on Wednesday evening
  • Group lunches on Thursday and Friday
  • Evening activities on Thursday and Friday nights
  • Closing Keynote Brunch on Saturday morning
  • Lifetime access to private Community on FFA's Member Hub before, during, and after the conference
  • Lifetime access to online resources and presentations from the Summit
  • And more!

Please note participants are responsible for breakfast and dinner on Thursday and Friday, as well as lodging and transportation to/from the conference.


The full agenda and curriculum for the conference will be announced in early May. Below is a guide to assist with booking travel and lodging!

Brief Agenda (times are an estimate only)

Wednesday, June 21

  • 7PM - 10:00PM: Opening Keynote Dinner

Thursday, June 22

  • 9:00AM - 5:00PM: Sessions and workshops (lunch provided)
  • 5:00PM - 7:00PM: Dinner on your own
  • 7:00PM: Evening Activity

Friday, June 23

  • 9:00AM - 5:00PM: Sessions and workshops (lunch provided)
  • 5:00PM - 7:00PM: Dinner on your own
  • 7:00PM: Evening Activity

Saturday, June 24

  • 9:00AM - 12:00PM: Closing Keynote Brunch

Please note participants are responsible for breakfast and dinner on Thursday and Friday, as well as lodging and transportation to/from the conference.

Travel and Lodging

We recommend staying near the Chicago Loop. All the Summit venues will be accessible by foot, public transit, or private car/rideshare. We do not have an official hotel, but recommend the below for their proximity:

  • The Godfrey Hotel (The FFA Team will be staying here)
    Approx 20min walk to the Gene Siskel and Chicago Cultural Center
    Sign up on their website to access their Member Rates, starting at $250/night for a King
  • theWit Hotel (part of Hilton Honors)
    Approx 3min walk to the Gene Siskel 
    Rates starting at $314/night
  • Cambria Hotel (part of Choice Hotels)
    Approx 1min walk to the Gene Siskel
    Rates starting at $269/night

Flying into Chicago?

Both O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) offer public transit to the Downtown Loop. Please plan for an hour of travel time on public transit or via private taxi/rideshare.

We encourage participants to coordinate arrival and departure transportation with fellow attendees via the Summit Community on our Member Hub. 


Chicago is easily accessible from many parts of the Midwest using Amtrak or Metra. Be sure to check those out as affordable alternatives to driving or flying.

Accessibility and Venues

Tentative venues listed below:

  • Facets Cinema
  • Gene Siskel Film Center
  • Music Box Theatre
  • Chicago Cultural Center

As venues and the conference schedule are finalized, we will update this section with specific accessibility information for each venue.

As needed, FFA will work with participants to provide accessibility accommodations such as but not limited to captioning, ASL interpretation, and quiet rooms. Please reach out directly to the Executive Director, Barbara Twist, to discuss accommodations. She can be reached:

For additional information about our accessibility plans and mission, please click here (Link to URL:

Programming Partners