Film Festival Alliance

Michigan Film Festival Forum

The Michigan Film Festival Forum takes place September 26-29 at the Hell’s Half Mile Film Festival in Bay City, Michigan.

Michigan film festival directors, organizers and programmers have been invited to the inaugural Michigan Film Festival Forum:

Please register at the link on this page no later than August 1. Full schedule, and discounted lodging links coming soon. The total cost of registration is $75, but the total cost to each attendee is only $5. $70 of the registration fee is being generously subsidized by MDFMO.

Discounted Lodging can be secured at the Comfort Inn (501 Saginaw St, Bay City, MI 48708.) Rates are $89/night single or double occupancy, additional guest in the room $7 each per night. Ask for Hell’s Half Mile Filmmaker Rate

The MFFF is Sponsored by Michigan Film & Digital Media Office in partnership with Film Festival Alliance, Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival and Elevent Ticketing.


Michigan Film Festival Forum 2019  Agenda and Schedule
(Session Times Coming Soon)


MFFF Check-in and Registration
12:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Phoenix Building, Suite 203, 721 Washington Avenue)

Hell’s Half Mile Welcome Reception/Mixer
6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (Pere Marquette Depot, 1000 Adams Street)


MFFF Check-in and Registration
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. (Delta College Planetarium, 100 Center Avenue)


Festival, FFA & MFDMO Intros & Orientation – Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO) and Film Festival Alliance (FFA)
Introduction to hosting organizations. Introduction to attendees. Why are we gathering? What should we expect over the next few days?

Making the Case for Cinema Culture (round table discussion)
How do you build or identify an independent film audience in our various Michigan communities? From building your connections with existing audiences to cultivating new generations of film-lovers and movie-goers, what does your strategy and outreach look like?


Michigan Film Tourism
An introduction to the MFDMO’s film tourism activities and opportunities to promote film festivals (Presented by Selam Ghirmai and Tony Garcia, MFDMO)


Michigan Film Tourism, continued (presentation)
Film festival survey results (Presented by Lauren Branneman, Manager, Corporate Research (MEDC) and Kaitlyn Ahlers, Senior Customer Experience Analyst (MEDC))

Travel Michigan
David Lorenz, Vice President – Travel, Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

Building Community Support (round table discussion)
From sponsorship money, to in-kind donations, to getting butts in seats, how do we make valuable connections within our communities to grow our festivals? How do we expand on existing relationships to create new opportunities, and how do we creatively involve various stakeholders for a real return on investment?

Hell’s Half Mile Welcome Reception/Mixer
7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (Unity Park, 115 Center Avenue)


MFFF Check-in and Registration
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. (Delta College Planetarium, 100 Center Avenue)


Beyond the Screen (round table discussion)
What’s the personality of your festival and how are you making your fest “festive”? What unique aspects of your community or geography do you incorporate into your festival experience, and what “add-ons” have been successful (and perhaps not so successful)?

Festivals as a Critical Part of Business Infrastructure for Filmmakers (round table discussion/panel)
Explore the nature and scope of the current relationship between Michigan film festivals and the Michigan local/expat filmmakers. What other roles do or can film festivals occupy in the filmmaking ecosystem to elevate local filmmakers? Is the filmmaker viewed as a “customer”? How can film festival networks and platforms be leveraged to foster a sustainable film business ecosystem? How can film festivals, as current/potential curators of film education and business opportunities, help filmmakers fund, market and distribute their future films?



Meet the Michigan Festivals (panel)
This session is designed to create connectivity between festivals and filmmakers and is an opportunity for Michigan-based festivals attending the MFFF to network with filmmakers at HHM. Festivals will be able to introduce their organizations and weigh in on all of the burning questions that filmmakers have about the festival process.

Hell’s Half Mile Welcome Reception/Mixer
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (Davidson Building, 916 Washington Ave)

Thursday, October 10

The Future of MFFF (roundtable webinar) hosted by FFA and MFDMO
Conference feedback and direction for future forums or convergences.