Film Festival Alliance

Virtual Roundtables

FFA’s Virtual Roundtable video conversations are free and open to all festival professionals. Recordings are accessible for FFA members on the FFA Member Resource page shortly thereafter. Members can visit the archive of webinars on the resource page, once logged in.

To View Our Series of COVD-19/Pandemic Calls, subscribe to our FilmFestivalFlix Channel. 

How to Join Our Virtual Roundtables:
We will post links for upcoming calls here as they are announced.



Join meeting.
Meeting ID: 993 4641 8572| Password: 825608

July 25: Covid-19: 2020 Festival Plans: Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Join Executive Director Mary Ann Ponce, Marketing & Communications Manager Daniel Wingenfeld and Tech Director Engelina Koberna to discuss the plans for the 2020 edition of their festival (October 6-11), which includes both virtual, drive-in and sit-in elements, as well as Fest to Go Boxes and other concessions.
2:00pm EDT/11am PD

July 17 : Covid-19: Best Practices for Q&A’s & Virtual Ways to Support Your Filmmakers
Hear from festival organizers who have hosted various forms of Q&A’s and filmmaker (recorded and live) events about what to do, and what not to do, and how to give your filmmakers the best experience at your virtual festival.
2:00pm EDT/11am PDT

July 3 : Covid-19: Preparing Yourself for the WFH Festival
Hear from festival organizers who’ve been through a work from home festival, and what you might expect when you’re not running from venue to venue, putting out fires, glad-handing sponsors, entertaining filmmakers…but you’re sitting on your couch instead. 2:00pm EDT/11am PDT

June 26: Covid-19: Programming Best Practices in the Virtual Landscape
Programming in the Virtual Landscape: What are best practices for issues including premieres, publicity, audience building, filmmaker agreements and inter-festival cooperation and collaboration. What should we take into consideration when programming for an online festival vs. an IRL event and how can we create an adaptive/hybrid environment for programming that can change as quickly as the world is? Come ready to share. Moderated by Judy Laster & Bryan Glick.
2:00pm EDT/11am PDT

June 19: No Call This Week

June 12: Covid-19: WTF (What the Fall?)
Join representatives from various organizations to discuss their plans for their fall festivals. Some will share concrete plans, other will share various scenarios. Everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts on the fall festival landscape. Moderated by Ryan Watt, Executive Director, IndieMemphis 2:00pm EDT/11am PDT

June 5: Covid-19: Stream Smarter, Not Harder
Join representatives from various organizations to discuss broadcasting skills needed for our new online festival word – including how to share on multiple platforms, engage a larger audience, cast a wider net, and make your content more accessible for everyone. Speakers include Alex Kogan (DKP Image), Isaac Zablocki (Reel Abilities), Megan Mitchell (Matchbox Cine) and Carlos Corral (El Paso Film Festival.) Moderated by Melanie Addington (Oxford Film Festival.) 2:00pm EDT/11am PDT

May 29: Covid-19: Virtual Festival Case Study: OUTstream
The team from OUTstream Film Festival will talk about their experience launching and mounting a full-scale online film festival from start to finish in two months. Co-Founders and Co-Directors Ben McCarthy and Megan Garbayo and Lead Programmer Faridah Gbadamosi will discuss where the idea of OUTstream came from, the response they received from the industry, and how they’ve approached planning an online film festival that was founded for being online. 2:00pm EDT/11am PDT.

May 22: Covid-19: Virtual Festival Case Study: CIFF Streams
Join the entire team of the Cleveland International Film Festival for a case study of their recent and very successful online edition CIFF Streams. We’ll here from staff across departments about what worked, how they measured success and what their future plans include. 2:00pm EDT/11am PDT.

May 15:  Covid-19: Drive-Ins & Outs: Join festival organizers who have successfully created drive-in experiences for their audiences to get the low down on drive-ins – from tech to programming – and if they could be a viable option for you. Confirmed speakers include Jon Gann (Reel Plan), Karl Mehrer (K2 Imaging) Chloe Cook (Sidewalk Film), and Christopher Escobar (Atlanta Film Festival/Plaza Theater.)

May 8: Covid-19: Virtual Festival Case Study: International Wildlife Film Festival: Carrie Richer, Artistic Director of the International Wildlife Film Festival (Missoula, MT) will  present a comprehensive overview of their recent virtual 43rd festival. Carrie will discuss the pivot,  programming and educational opportunities, audience engagement  and their enormously successful marketing which led to doubling their box office and reaching audiences across the country, as well as plans for the future.

May 1: Covid-19: Organizational Collaboration: With so many festivals going virtual and with the ability to attract new audiences, what opportunities exist to create or promote collaborative programming amongst film festivals? Are there ways to share programming and audiences that can benefit multiple organizations simultaneously, bolster our organizational footprints and ensure that our industry comes back stronger? FFA will share information and statistics from their recent Film Festival Day collaborative event. Moderated by FFA ED Lela Meadow-Conner and Director of Membership Barbara Twist, with ideas & thoughts from Bart Weiss (Dallas VideoFest),  Brian Newman (Sub-Genre) and attendees.

April  24: COVID-19: Audience Engagement and Community Building (2:00-3:30pm EST) Moderated by Alyx Picard-Davis, Director of Festival & Operations, deadCenter Film. This call will be a facilitated discussion about how to engage festival audiences on their turf and how creative community partnerships can help inform and support your programming. Special guests include Naoma Serna of Nuevo Studio who’ll discuss social media experiences festivals can design in-house for their specific audience and Yousef Kazemi with the Oklahoma Film Office who’ll provide some insight into film at a state level, and as a programming partner for deadCenter. 

April 10: COVID-19: Reading the Relationship Temperature: Filmmaker & Festival (2:00-3:30pm EST) Moderated by Katie McCullough of Festival Formula and other guests.
Filmmakers: without them there would be no content… And with them comes lots of complexities. Just like every festival has its own audience, every filmmaker has their own quirks. In the present situation we find ourselves in now is the time to strengthen (or hopefully continue to nurture) the existing exchange between the two entities. Filmmakers can go off radar, ask a million questions you’ve already answered, or be angels and deliver on time and respond to requests without ever needing to nudge. They’re also sitting the other side of the table when it comes to COVID-19 doing its best to disrupt everything.

In the discussion Katie will share some insights into the perspectives of filmmakers from around the world, about the landscape right now including their concerns, as well as what has reassured them. We’ll talk about communication and use of language/verbiage when delivering news, and open the discussion to what festival organizers have found to have worked or lessons learned from this area. Like us, filmmakers are worried about the future and now is the time to be as clear and transparent as possible. Meeting Password: 033246

April 3: COVID-19 Pivoting & Planning Call/Brain Trust): (2:00pm – 3:30pm EST/11:00am -12:30pm PST): This call will spotlight festivals who have or are in the process of taking their film festival online. The first part of our call will be dedicated to a case study of the Live Stream of the 58th Ann Arbor Film Festival, with Leslie Raymond/ Festival Director, Tom Bray/Tech Director, Angela Lenhardt/ Operations Manager, Katherine Pertuso/Marketing and Communications Manager and Marin Smith/Festival Assistant. Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, etc: 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.

March 27: Pandemic Contingency & Planning Call/Brain Trust 4 (2:00pm EST/11:00am PST): FFA will be closely tracking developments as they occur and is dedicated to facilitating these group conversations, brainstorms and sharing of ideas and information. Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, etc: 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.

March 20: Pandemic Contingency & Planning Call/Brain Trust 3 (2:00pm EST/11:00am PST): FFA will be closely tracking developments as they occur and is dedicated to facilitating these group conversations, brainstorms and sharing of ideas and information. Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, etc: 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.

March 13: Pandemic Contingency & Planning Call/Brain Trust 2 (2:00pm EST/11:00am PST): FFA will be closely tracking developments as they occur and is dedicated to facilitating these group conversations, brainstorms and sharing of ideas and information. Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, etc: 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.

March 10: Turn Technical Difficulties into Technical Excellence: (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST): Tech…one of the most vital and frustrating parts of running a film festival! Join Adam Howell, Director of Operations for the Heartland International Film Festival, to discuss  tech tips & tricks. Bring your burning tech questions and horror stories for a group think. Adam is responsible for running all the behind-the-scenes operations at Heartland and Indy Shorts Film Festival. This includes planning logistics, event management, technical production, quality control, vendor liaison and more. Adam has worked 13 festivals over the past 10 years with Heartland Film. As a fellow artist/musician Adam understands the importance of presenting the art of film in the highest of quality.

March 6: Pandemic Contingency & Planning Call/Brain Trust (2:00pm EST/11:00am PST): 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. Watch the Roundtable Recording Here.

February 18: Increasing Accessibility Across the Festival Landscape (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST): Festival professional Mara Bresnahan will discuss her experiences as Festival Director for the Boston ReelAbilities Disability Film Festival (2015-2019) where she  worked to increase the accessibility of screenings and venues across Greater Boston. She most recently served as the  Accessibility Consultant for the Netflix  documentary Crip Camp at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Mara will share insights, tools, resources and example as well as answer questions about how we can work towards ensuring our festival footprints become truly accessible to all . A fan of all things non-fiction, she is currently in post-production on the short documentary Les Deux featuring identical twin brothers from The Perkins School for the Blind.



December 18: Networking for the Film Festival Professional: (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST): Heading to Art House Convergence or Sundance? Keep hearing how valuable these experiences are for “networking” and start to panic? Join us for a pre-convergence online gathering and discussion about how other film festival professionals get the most out of these networking opportunities. Bring your tips and tricks and hear from others, or at minimum, put a few faces to names together before we connect face to face. Hosted by FFA Board Member Cara Ogburn of Milwaukee Film.

September 17: The D in Diversity: Making Your Festival Truly Accessible (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST): Isaac Zablocki, Director of Reel Abilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival will talk (and answer questions) about  the many ways in which we can make our festivals more accessible for people with varying disabilities. From venues, to marketing, operations and screenings, how can we all be more aware about the vital importance of accessibility for all?

August 20: Groupthink: AHC 2020 (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST):
Join your 2020 Art House Convergence Film Festival Track Chairs Bears Rebecca Fonte & Lela Meadow-Conner for a groupthink conversation about panels, session and speaker ideas you’d like to see at January’s annual gathering. We’ll collect ideas specific to the film festival track, which will help the track heads and conference planning team create robust programming at AHC. We need your input to make this the best conference it can be!
Official Session Proposals may be submitted through August 13th here:

July 23: Mid-Season Support Circle (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST):
Bring all of your burning questions, issues and conundrums,  from programming to sponsorship, tech and marketing,  board and staff and anything in between, for some in-person group feedback (and possible therapy) session. And remember – what happens on Zoom stays on Zoom.

June  12: Trash Talk: Evolving Towards A Greener Film Festival  (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST)
Join Roslyn Chao, Principle, Insight + reDesign Consulting, LLC, for a case study on her work with the Cleveland International Film Festival, where she designed and implemented a waste diversion program for their 43rd festival, diverting over 4.5 tons of waste for composting and recycling. Roslyn will share an overview of the program along with ideas that can be easily implemented to more in-depth programs involving educational and sponsorship opportunities and more.

May  15: Working With Academic Institutions to Engage Students  (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST)
Join FFA member Anna Feder, Director of Programming in the Visual Media Arts Department ay Emerson College, and curator of the school’s Bright Lights Screening Series, for a conversation about engaging students within your festival and organization. From building institutional relationships with faculty and administration to providing opportunities for students to volunteer and attend, Anna will share her experiences and invite virtual roundtable attendees to share theirs, so that we can work towards promoting the value of cinema culture to younger generations. 

April 17: The F Word (Fee Waivers) (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST)
A civilized conversation on the “F” word, aka Fee Waivers. It’s a hot topic amongst film festival organizers and filmmakers. Now is the time to share your opinion. Should there be a standardization of fee waivers amongst festivals, should there be a barter or exchanges system, or should every festival just do what they’d like? There are advocates for all of these ideas, and we want to know what you think!

March 20: The Gender Parity Pledge: A Case Study (1:00pmEST/10:00amPST)
As we celebrate women’s history month, our March Virtual Roundtable conversation takes an inside look at Heartland Film’s decision to publicly take the Gender Parity Pledge. From demystifying the pledge itself, to potential obstacles and why it made sense for their organization, this webinar will focus on Heartland Film’s commitment to achieve parity by 2020 and the strategies they are employing to achieve that goal. The conversation will be moderated by Linda Broker (Executive Director, Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival) and will feature Heartland Film’s Director of Programming Greg Sorvig.

February 20: Defining Our Industry (1:00pm EST/10:00am PST)
How do we define a ‘film festival’ and how can we use specific language to shape our ecosystem within the greater film industry? How do we best advocate for our sector of the industry as a sustainable means for the distribution of creative storytelling, and within our own communities? How do we harness the collective power of the Film Festival Alliance to tell our own story? Join us to share your ideas and thoughts as we work towards better illustrating the enormous impact of film festivals on cities and towns, audiences, storytellers and other industry stakeholder.