Film Festival Alliance


FilmEx Regional: Atlanta Film Festival

Join Film Festival Alliance in Atlanta for an in-person, regional FilmEx!

Regional roundtables are designed to bring together film festival organizers for networking, capacity building, and collaboration. We are thrilled for the return of our in-person format, hosted at the Atlanta Film Festival from April 28-May 1.

Your $75 registration includes a complimentary Industry Pass to the Atlanta Film Festival.

Full schedule coming soon! Following schedule subject to change.

FilmEx Regional Schedule

April 28: Evening Welcome Drinks
Time/Location TBD

April 29: Tour of Plaza Theater
Time TBD

April 29: Festival Organizer Sessions with Breakouts
Time/Location TBD

April 29: Meet the Festivals/Filmmaker Mixer
Time/Location TBD

April 30: Eventive VR Program
(This will be a hybrid event and will be free and open to any festival organizer virtually)
Time/Location TBD

April 30: Festival Organizer Sessions with Breakouts
Time/Location TBD

May 1: Farewell Coffee
Time/Location TBD

Check out the Atlanta Film Festival’s schedule and film guide to plan your festival alongside the conference.

Virtual RR: Indie Memphis

FFA presents its final Virtual Regional Roundtable of 2020 at the Indie Memphis Film Festival.

October 30 (NEW DATE)
12pm -4pm ET | 11am – 3pm CT | 9am – 1pm 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 30 (NEW DATE).

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. (You may register for the RR and watch the recorded sessions later, as well.)

October 30 (NEW DATE): 

12:00pm EDT/11:00am CDT/ 9:00am PDT: Behind the Success Keynote: How festivals increased sponsor and patron support, audience size, and exponentially increased viewing with their Virtual Festival Channel, presented by Film Festival Flix – THIS SESSION IS FREE & OPEN TO ALL.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 946 3137 7073
Passcode: 534284

2:00pm EDT/1:00pm CDT/10:00am PDT: Beyond Numbers: Qualitative Rather Than Quantitative Program Evaluation
What are ways we can evaluate the success of programs (films, talks, engagement) beyond numbers of attendees? Roundtable conversation moderated by Indie Memphis Artistic Director Miriam Bale.

4:00pm EDT/3:00pmCDT/1:00pm PDT: Politics and Programming
A few days before a national election, film festival programmers look at how we balance politics and programming, whether on an international, national, or local scale. Speakers: Toby Leonard (Belcourt), Abby Sun (The Doc Yard), Brighid Wheeler (Indie Memphis) and Kayla Myers (Indie Memphis, The Doc Yard.)

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.

Virtual RR: aGLIFF | Prism

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.

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

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

Full Schedule:

Friday, August 21: (All session times are in EST)

2:00pm-2:50pm: Building Audiences in the Virtual World, sponsored by Elevent
Authentic audience building through programming can already be a challenge for film festivals. We’ll hear from leaders at focused festivals about how  the virtual festival platform has affected their audience building for worse, or maybe for better? Speakers include Andria Wilson (Executive Director, Inside Out Film Festival), Hanna Huang (Executive Director, Austin Asian American Film Festival), Mercedes Cooper (Director of Programming, Array), Anoushka Ratnarajah (Artistic Director, Out on Screen) and Jim Brunzell (Artistic Director, aGLIFF.)

3:00 – 3:50pm: aGLIFF 2020 Case Study:
This session with the aGLIFF team, dives into the 2020 virtual festival, and will include information about programming, marketing, attendance, and an emphasis non-film audience audience engagement.  As festivals pivoted to the virtual space, aGLIFF struggled with a decision that seemed adverse to the very foundation of Queer festivals. Hear how they overcame the instinct to cancel, and even changed a few board member opinions along the way.

4:00 – 4:50pm: Filmmaker Lounge: Special Happy Hour Edition, Sponsored by Film Festival Flix:
Join us in the Filmmaker Lounge with our host Katie McCullough of Festival Formula, LTD. to hear from Austin-based filmmakers Lisa Donato (Gossamer Folds), Gary S. Jaffe (Last Summer with Uncle Ira) and Jessica Wolfson & Jessie Auritt (The Paint Wizzard). We’ll hear from each of them about how they’re navigating/treading through the virtual festival circuit, and how the Austin filmmaking community is weathering the pandemic.

5:00-5:50pm: Rebranding of A Festival: From Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival to aGLIFF to Prism:
For years aGLIFF stood for the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival, a name that by the 30th anniversary of the longest running festival in Austin no longer described the films it played nor to the community it served. Hear how aGLIFF became the All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival on its way to Prism.

Virtual RR: SeriesFest Online

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

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

Register 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.

Check out a panel from this year’s SeriesFest here: The 2020 Platform- Content & Politics

RR Agenda:

12:00pm – 1:20pm EST: SeriesFest Season Six: Case Study: The staff of SeriesFest will discuss their recent Season Six virtual festival, including programming, marketing/partnerships, audience & community building, education and networking sessions, and mentorship and initiatives.

Short Break

1:30pm-2:15pm EST: Building A Virtual Voice, sponsored by Elevent: 2020 is the year of retention and it’s time to let your fest flag fly. Join Elevent (Top-end ticketing & membership platform used by SXSW and SIFF) Co-founder Jeremy Wine as we dive into identity-first tactics that some organizations are using to retain and grow their audience, maintain sponsor legitimacy, and build a third-arm for the festival, cinema, and institute that’ll stand the test of time. Guest speaker: Phil Gilpin, Catalyst Content Festival and Storieroad Institute (formerly ITVfest)

Short Break: Film Festival Scavenger Hunt

2:30pm-3:20pm EST: Programming Episodic Content 101: As episodic content becomes more and more prevalent and the norm for home-viewing habits, the SeriesFest programming team will take us through the process of programming episodic content at a film festival, including best practices for creating programming blocks, how to engage filmmakers and audiences and why including episodic content in your festival is more timely than ever. Hosted by the SeriesFest team.

Short Break

3:30pm- 4:15pm EST:  Beyond Covid-19: Virtual Channels to Augment & Amplify Your Festival, sponsored by Film Festival Flix:

Beyond COVID-19: Virtual Channels to Augment & Amplify Your Festival, sponsored by Film Festival Flix: Major festivals such as Sundance, Tribecca, and SXSW have offered complimentary cable and online streaming channels for years. The COVID-19 Pandemic accelerated this paradigm shift forcing many festivals to take place virtually. Those who took advantage of this opportunity saw their audience reach, engagement, and viewership grow exponentially on a national, and even global basis. Join our panel of festival directors as they share their virtual and hybrid experiences from this year and their vision and ideas for the future when physical gatherings and live festivals return. Panelists include: Erica Thompson (Ashland Independent Film Festival), Steven Fulbright (Macon Film Festival), Ron Truppa (Catalina Film Festival), and Cindy Stern (Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema).

Short Break

4:30pm – 5:15pm EST: Meet the Creators Happy Hour:  Grab your beverage of choice and meet some of the creators behind this year’s SeriesFest, including the independent pilots GENERATION POR QUE, FREEZE, EVERYONE TOGETHER and DISTEMPER. Attendees will be emailed links to the content prior to the start of the roundtable. Hosted by the SeriesFest team.


Ashland: Home Edition

In the wake of COVID-19, 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. Registration is now closed.

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


Prior to April 17th, we’ll send you all the information you need, including zoom links, phone numbers for breakout group conversations and ingredients you’ll need for our group activities, should you choose to participate. Please register by April 10.

11:00am EST: Ashland Independent Film Festival Pandemic Case Study: Join AIFF’s Executive Director Richard Herskowitz, Managing Director Erica Thompson and the Film Festival Flix team to hear how they planned, processed and pivoted during the COVID-19 outbreak to create an online film festival experience for their audience.

12:30pm EST: 15-min Grab Your Breakfast or Lunch break sponsored by Film Festival Flix: Create Your Own Fancy Toast with FFA Executive Director &Toast Chick Lela Meadow-Conner

12:45pm EST: Why Focusing on Major Gifts and Donors Cultivates Greater Results: A key percentage of individuals have the financial capacity to propel your festival forward. Building and growing trusted relationships with them is the best way – the only way – to create the confidence in them to invest in you. Jessica and Ron Cohen of 2468 Appreciate will lead you through a data-focused approach and have a strategic conversation about how this important area of development work can be lifted up and prioritized. NOTE: while not required, participants who complete a short survey by Friday, April 10 will get far more value out of this session.

1:45pm EST: 15-minute Tea Break sponsored by Eventive: Steep Your Tea with FFA Director of Membership Barbara Twist

2:00pm EST: From Survival to Inspiration with Eventive (Sponsored): From survival to inspiration: What we’ve learned and where do we go from here? As the online and on-site ticketing platform for over 100 festivals and art house cinemas around the world, Eventive has had a unique vantage point on audience responses to the coronavirus crisis. Eventive co-founder Iddo Patt leads a discussion of observations and strategies moving forward, featuring current Eventive partners, special guest Daniel Spada –  ticketing operations manager for the Sundance Institute, and open-ended conversation with all who would like to share.

3:00pm EST: 15-minute Mind Game, sponsored by Film Festival Flix

3:15pm EST: Crisis PR & Communication: Join film festival publicist John Wildman for a session on crisis PR & communications and a publicity Q&A.

4:15pm EST: 10-minute Break & Desk Yoga with Rachel Taylor (Programming Director, Cucalorus), sponsored by Eventive

4:25pm EST: Small Groups Breakout: Participants will be randomly assigned to each other to participate in a 15-minute phone call/Zoom to discuss a specific topic.

4:40pm EST: 5-minute Shake Your Cocktail Break, sponsored by AIFF: Film Festival Guru with Jon Gann will shake us into happy hour.

4:45pm EST: Filmmaker/Festival Happy Hour: We’ll close out the gathering with a meet-and-greet session for festival organizers and the filmmakers behind the AIFF official selections. 

5:45pm: Adjourn!


The Southern Oregon Film Society was founded in 2001 and produces the nationally acclaimed Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF), as well as educational and cultural programs for more than 10,000 patrons annually. The AIFF has grown from an all-volunteer organization to one with six year-round and a dozen seasonal staff.

AIFF is the largest independent film festival in Southern Oregon and the Siskiyou region of California. Set in the picturesque town of Ashland (also home to the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival), AIFF provides an intimate setting that allows audience members from our rural area, filmmakers, and industry representatives a rare opportunity to interact over five days at various events including screenings, forums, conversations, educational programs, and informal gatherings. Festival attendees cite the ability to interact with filmmakers as one of the key draws of AIFF.


FFA presents our second Regional Roundtable of 2019, taking place August 22-25 at the 21st Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama.  The overall theme for this gathering is “Communication & Connectivity with Filmmakers” – and a full roundtable agenda will be announced soon.  Click here to see the weekend’s schedule of panels and events and to register now. 

Discounted hotel rooms are available through July 29th  – find out more about planning your trip here.  (PLEASE NOTE: when travel planning, Roundtable Conversations will take place on Friday, August 23- Sunday, August 25th. We recommend a Thursday arrival.)

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.


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), sponsored by Elevent.

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 Meet Ups, 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.

Attendees are responsible for their own travel and housing. Click for SIFF partner hotels.

Register now
Registration: $50/FFA Members; $75 FFA non-members // SIFF Industry Pass: $100


FFA has announced the agenda for our first-ever Regional Roundtable at SIFF, May 25-27. 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.

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: FFA Drinks + Bites, Solo Bar (200 Roy St)
Gather for FFA-hosted drinks and appetizers  to share programming tips and continue the conversation.

Woods Hole

FFA’s second roundtable takes place July 27-30 at the 27th annual Woods Hole Film Festival in Massachusetts, with support from Elevent and Film Freeway. Registration is $75, or $50 for FFA members. Lodging information can be found here.

Group discussions, centered around audience as stakeholders, take place on Saturday July 28th and Sunday July 29th along with FFA’s signature Meet The Programmers session. See the full agenda below.


July 27:

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

4:00pm: Welcome Drinks, Sponsored by Elevent

6:00pm: Private Party, RSVP Required

July 28:

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

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

12:30pm: Lunch

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

Sunday, July  29:

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

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

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

5:00pm: Sunday Drinks sponsored by Film Freeway

Monday, July 30:

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


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 21. Additional, deeply discounted passes will be available for members as well. Register now!


(Industry passes allow full access to everything Cucalorus. To see a full list of Cucalorus films, stage, music and off-screen events, click here*Please allow adequate time for impromptu group shenanigans!)

Thursday, November 8:

  • Pass pickup: Beginning at 9:00am (CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • 10:00am – Films Begin and run all day (various venues)
  • 6:00-7:30pm: Brews + Bytes Welcome Reception, Sponsored by North Carolina Technology Assoc. (CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • Late Night Party: Jengo’s Backyard (815 Princess Street)

Friday, November 9:

  • 10:15-11:00am: Workshop: On-boarding Your Staff to New Technology, Presented by Eventive, (Startup Breakout Room CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • 11:15am: STAFF: Building & Maintaining A Balanced Team: Our first session delves right into staffing, and the many issues that arise with this topic, including interviewing, hiring (seasonal staff, interns), on-boarding and parity within your hires. Who is managing the various groups of staff – from full time to seasonal and what is the best organizational structure to handle large groups, of often underpaid, people? What happens when you are the founder of your organization and carry years upon years of institutional knowledge? How do you transition to ensure the longevity of your festival or association to a new regime? (Startup Breakout Room, CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • 1:45pm: VOLUNTEERS: Managing & Retaining A Vital Workforce: We all know festivals wouldn’t happen without volunteers. How do you reward your volunteers, beyond the basics? How do you handle the blurred lines between volunteers who work as hard as staff, are volunteer staff or provide professional services? What does your volunteer handbook look like? What volunteer management system do you use and how can volunteer tracking, retention and recruitment be improved? (Startup Breakout Room, CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • Late Night Party: Jengo’s Backyard (815 Princess Street)

Saturday, November 10

  • 9:30am: BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Forming Your Core Framework: The elephant in the room…Boards. How do you attract and retain effective board members, manage them and set realistic expectations? How do you handle the blurred lines between governance and operations? How do you motivate your board to fundraise and become strong ambassadors for your brand?, Moderator: Iddo Patt (Startup Breakout Room, CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • 11:00am: CODE OF CONDUCT: Setting Expectations Internally & Externally: Most film organizations don’t have the means to run their own HR department. What are the codes of conduct that you set forth and what kind of messaging do you create around those for your employees and for your patrons? What is the “unwritten understand” vs. the “policy?” How do you navigate the blurred lines of professionalism vs. the film festival “family” environment, and what happens when an extreme situation comes up? (Startup Breakout Room, CFCC Union Station 5th Floor)
  • 2:00pm: Meet the Festivals AMA: Meet programmers & professionals from across the country for a candid conversation about the film festival process. Roundtable attendees will serve as panelists and experts. (The Blind Elephant, 21 N. Front Street)


Download the RR-CIFF43 Schedule, or  view it online below.

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 To Your Community” – with an emphasis on marketing, media, community engagement/ partnerships, branding, and volunteers. Register here. (PLEASE NOTE: when travel planning, Roundtable Conversations will take place on Friday, April 5th and Saturday April 6th! We recommend a Thursday, April 4th arrival.) Plan your stay here. 

Festival organizers and programmers will have the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations of CIFF, with a visit to their Media Hub, as well as special presentations by CIFF partners. In addition to roundtable sessions, attendees will have access to CIFF Filmmaker Networking events, all festival films, and a group field trip to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!

The 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival will be held March 27 – April 7, 2019. More than 500 screenings will take place during the 12 days of the Festival, with over 300 guest filmmakers from around the world who will be visiting Cleveland for the Festival. CIFF43 program details will be available at on Friday, March 1.  Attendance has exceeded 100,000 for the past four years.

Join us along the shores of Lake Erie as we discover one of America’s largest film festivals under one roof. 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.

FULL RR:CIFF Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 4: (Arrivals + Group Outing)

8:30am-10:00pm: CIFF43 all-access Guest Pass Pickup
Location: CIFF43 Hospitality Headquarters (Tower City Center Level M3)

All Day / 9:15am-Midnight: CIFF43 screenings
Location: Tower City Cinemas / Tower City Center Level M1 (plus two screenings at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

3:30-5:30pm: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Group Field Trip
Sponsored by FilmFreeway (meeting location TBD)

Optional:  10:00 p.m.: CIFF43 Filmmaker & Guest Nights Out
Location: Great Lakes Brewing Company (2510 Market Avenue, Cleveland – Ohio)
Take a Lyft (CIFF43 sponsor) or RTA Red Line Rapid to Great Lakes Brewing Company

  • Nearby CLE Happening
    Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ 6:10 p.m. @ Progressive Field


Friday, April 5: Case Studies: Communicating To Your Community

All Day / 9:10am-1:30am: CIFF43 screenings
Location: Tower City Cinemas / Tower City Center Level M1 (plus several screenings at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

9:00am: CIFF Case Study: Youth Engagement through Educational Program
(FilmSlam Educational program for grades 5-12)
Location: CIFF43 Hospitality Headquarters / Tower City Center Level M3
A complimentary continental breakfast (courtesy of CIFF) will be provided and there will be a brief program explaining FilmSlam, CIFF’s student engagement program.
9:20am: FilmSlam Student Arrival
Location: Tower City Cinemas / Tower City Center Level M1
Witness the rush of hundreds of students as they arrive at CIFF43 for screenings.

9:45am-10:30am: CIFF Case Study: Communicating with Staff and Departments
Location: Tower City Cinemas lobby / Tower City Center Level M1
Observe an all-hands-on deck gathering of daily CIFF staff and departmental reports and Festival updates.

10:30am-11:15am: CIFF Case Study: Media Hub Tour
Location: CIFF43 G4 Studio, Tower City Center Level M2
Observe where the CIFF media action occurs: from a podcast studio, to photographers, writers, digital marketing team and interns, see the magic in action. (Presented by Debby Samples,  Marketing & Media Director, CIFF)

11:15am-12:30pm: Lunch on your own

12:301:15: Agile Sponsored Session
Location: Cleveland Public Library Learning Commons (325 Superior Avenue, 2nd floor)
A sponsored conversation presented by Agile Ticketing Solutions.

1:30pm- 2:30pm: CIFF Case Study & Dialogue: Engaging Community with Nonprofit Partnerships
Location: Cleveland Public Library Learning Commons (325 Superior Avenue, 2nd floor)
The CIFF Community Engagement Program builds and strengthens partnerships with other nonprofits by connecting them to Festival films that are relevant to their mission and work. As a result, the CIFF continues to embed itself into the fabric of Northern Ohio.  The partnering entities agree to publicize Festival films in exchange for visibility at the Festival and a platform to talk about their missions and promote their causes. There are 160 nonprofit Community Partners for CIFF43. (Presented by Patrick Shepherd, Associate Director, CIFF)

2:45pm-3:45pm: CIFF Case Study & Dialogue: Making the Most of Your Marketing Campaign
Location: Cleveland Public Library Learning Commons (325 Superior Avenue, 2nd floor)
A look behind the scenes of the creative process behind launching a yearly marketing and branding campaign for a 43 year-old festival, from the creative groups that produce CIFF’s overall marketing campaign, including print & digital merch, festival trailer, with Q&A and discussion. (Presented by Type Twenty Seven and Fusion Filmworks)

Optional: 5:00pm-6:30pm: Filmmaker and Guest Networking Happy Hour
Location: The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland (adjacent via Tower City Center Level M3)
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks courtesy of CIFF

Evening: Dinner on your own + CIFF43 films

Optional: 10:00pm: CIFF43 Filmmaker & Guest Nights Out
Location:  Johnny’s Downtown (1406 West 6th Street, Cleveland – Warehouse District) Meet at CIFF43 Hospitality Headquarters (Tower City Center Level M3) at 10:00pm and walk over to Johnny’s Downtown

Nearby CLE Happenings

  • Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ 7:10 p.m. @ Progressive Field
  • 6:00-10:00pm MIX at the Cleveland Museum of Art: The Museum’s monthly first Friday art-filled happy hour will take place on Friday, April 5 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The theme is Funk. Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 day of event


Saturday, April 6: Communicating to Your Community: Facilitated Roundtable Conversations

All Day / 9:00am-1:30am: CIFF43 screenings
Location: Tower City Cinemas / Tower City Center Level M1 (plus several screenings at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Museum of Natural History)

8:45am – 9:45am: Roundtable: Defining the Region
Location: CIFF43 Hospitality Headquarters / Tower City Center Level M3
This conversation points the lens on the Great Lakes region as a host for film festivals, examining audiences, their preferences and expectations and the unique aspects of the region that make festivals here a unique experience. (Moderated by Cara Ogburn, Milwaukee Film) *Complimentary continental breakfast courtesy of CIFF

10:15am – 11:30am: Roundtable: Speaking to Your Community Stakeholders
Location: Cleveland Public Library Learning Commons (325 Superior Avenue, 2nd floor)
How can we best engage and speak to the many facets of our community who are essential parts of our success? From volunteers, to community partners, to audiences and even our own staff, each requires their own language and tools. Looking at the various CIFF case studies from the prior day, what are the similarities and challenges that are unique or universal? (Moderator TBD)

11:45am – 1:00pm: Roundtable: Managing Media Relationships & Expectations
Location: Cleveland Public Library Learning Commons (325 Superior Avenue, 2nd floor)
How do you create strong communication plans and lasting relationships with media? How do you create in-house opportunities for filmmakers, and manage all of the moving parts of a media and communications plan when you may not have abundant resources at hand? This conversation will explore how we message and stay on brand when speaking to everyone from your local influencer to a national publication, and how to create more opportunities for media coverage in a challenging environment. (Moderator TBD)

1:00pm-2:30pm: Lunch on your own

2:30pm-3:30pm: Meet the Festivals
Location: CIFF43 Chat Room / Tower City Center Level M1
This moderated conversation with attending festival organizers and filmmakers creates an opportunity to connect for a frank conversation about the film festival process.

Optional: 5:00pm-6:30pm: Filmmaker and Guest Networking Happy Hour
Location: The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland (adjacent via Tower City Center Level M3)
Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and drinks courtesy of CIFF

Optional: 10:00pm: Filmmaker & Guest Nights Out
Location: House of Blues Foundation Room (308 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland – Gateway Neighborhood)
Meet at CIFF43 Hospitality Headquarters (Tower City Center Level M3) at 10:00pm and walk over to House of Blues Foundation Room

  • Nearby CLE Happening:
    Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays @ 4:10 p.m. @ Progressive Field


Sunday, April 7: Screenings & Case Study: Volunteer Engagement + CIFF Events

All Day / 9:00am-9:00pm: CIFF43 screenings
Location: Tower City Cinemas / Tower City Center Level M1

10:30am – 12:00pm: CIFF Case Study: Volunteer Engagement Tour & Appreciation Breakfast
Location #1: CIFF43 Volunteer Headquarters / Tower City Center Level M1
CIFF is fortunate to earn the generous support of approximately 1,000 volunteers — donating over 10,0000 hours time — over the course of 12 days.  Take a tour of the volunteer hub and meet CIFF43 Volunteer Managers and then walk over to the Volunteer Breakfast and join hundreds of volunteers for the CIFF43 annual appreciation breakfast.  Breakfast included for all #FFAinCLE participants.  Walk over to Location #2: Higbee’s Silver Grill (Tower City Center Tower Court Level 3)

Optional: 11:00am – 1:00pm: Tribeca IF/Then Pitches
Location: The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland (adjacent via Tower City Center Level M3)
Tribeca Film Institute and CIFF have jointly selected six finalists to present their projects at a live pitch event before a panel of industry judges. Each pitch team will have 7 minutes to present their project, which will be followed by a short, moderated discussion with a tailored jury.  One project, selected by the jury, will receive up to USD $25,000 in project funding and will have the opportunity to participate in TFI’s IF/Then Shorts program, which provides year-round mentorship and career development opportunities.

Approximately 9:00pm: CIFF43 Closing Night Ceremony
Location: Tower City Center Skylight Concourse / Tower City Center Levels M1/M2/M3

Approximately 11:00pm: Festival Wrap Party for CIFF43 Staff, Filmmakers, & Guests
Location: Panini’s Bar & Grill – Gateway (820 Huron Road East, Cleveland – Gateway) Walk over or take a Lyft.

Nearby CLE Happenings

  • Cleveland Indians vs Toronto Blue Jays @ 1:10 p.m. @ Progressive Field
  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs @ 3 p.m. @ Quicken Loans Arena