Well, that was fun, wasn’t it? If you’re like us, you’re still on a (re-oxygenated) high from the jam-packed trip to the mountains of Utah—a double dose of Art House Convergence and Sundance. If you’re lucky, you avoided the Park City Flu, and came back refreshed and ready to tackle another productive year of festival planning…
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we want to thank you all for your enthusiastic participation, your friendly good nature, and your endless stream of ideas. We always learn so well from each other—our collective knowledge is unstoppable—and we are energized by the camaraderie that comes from sharing our experiences. (It’s so good to know we are not alone!)
What came out of our Convergence? In addition to friendships forged and renewed, we have a few big announcements to share:
1. In the coming months, our organization will make the transition to an independent and vocal organization with a new name: we will soon become the Film Festival Alliance. As a community, we will benefit from strength in numbers as we advocate for best practices and symbiotic relationships with filmmakers and distributors.
2. What’s more, membership in the Film Festival Alliance just got a bit sweeter: entertainment legal eagles Michael Donaldson and Corey Field have offered their services as a first line of defense, should any of our member organizations face an unforeseen legal hurdle. This is huge.
Reminder: If you have not yet officially joined the IFP Festival Forum, what are you waiting for? (Membership will transition to the new organization automatically.)
During our time together, our panels—including a legal clinic from Donaldson and Field—covered the gamut, from rush lines to hospitality to Oscars to board management and beyond. Our roundtable discussions were especially fruitful this year, centering on topics such as social media, sponsorship, ticketing, tech, the (dreaded) program guide, and making the most of a small budget.
Once we got to Park City, we of course reconvened in line for Press & Industry screenings, and gathered more formally at what has becoming an annual tradition: our colleagues at the Sundance Film Festival showed off their terrific hospitality, hosting festival organizers at an intimate brunch last Tuesday. (Thank you!)
All of these conversations will continue throughout the year; we’re just getting started. In the weeks to come, we will compile the learnings from our various sessions, sharing the wealth with those who weren’t able to attend and serving as a concrete refresher (and to-do list) for the rest of us. Please stay tuned, and keep in touch on Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the comments selection below.
We’ve got a lot of work to do, and it’s easier to do it together. Happy New Year!
As the landscape of the business side of filmmaking—distribution, platforms, revenue streams—becomes more and more murky, Sundance Institute, Cinereach, and other organizations have launched The Transparency Project to counteract the complexity. Recently previewed at Art House Convergence and launched at Sundance, IFP Festival Forum has come on board as a collaborator in this nonprofit initiative, which explains itself with the following motto:
As Anne Thompson outlines in her detailed piece introducing the project, the “goal is to collect and share current data on both revenue and expenses for independent film distribution in order to help filmmakers be more creative and efficient in funding, marketing and releasing their work.”
For the project to actually work, the filmmaking community (filmmakers, distributors and exhibitors—including film festivals, where applicable) needs to participate by submitting data about individual projects, specific production factors, and detailed revenue numbers.
So far, the following non-profits have come on board as collaborators, in addition to IFP Festival Forum:
Arthouse Convergence |Austin Film Society | Britdoc | IDA | IFP | ITVS | The Film Collaborative | FIND | POV | San Francisco Film Society | Tribeca Film Institute |WGA East | Film Society of Lincoln Center
In addition, the following “for-profit distributors and industry leaders have expressed their support of mission”:
Alchemy | Amplify | Bond 360 | Brainstorm | Cinedigm | Cinetic | Film Movement | Ocilloscope | Paladin | Preferred | Premiere Digital Services | Radius | Roco | Tribeca Film | Vimeo | VHX
For the project to take root and succeed in empowering the film community, all parties must agree to provide input. “The website is still being designed and updated,” Thompson explains, “but the idea is to fill in your budget and cast levels and genres, and when relevant, reviews and festival exposure, to see what numbers comparable projects obtained using different release platforms. The numbers will not—initially—reflect individual returns on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon etc., but rather throw them all into the same online platform bucket.”
We encourage all IFP Festival Forum members to become more acquainted with the project. Together, we can make a collective difference.
First step: Please read Anne Thompson’s full article by clicking on the following image.
Second, sign up for their mailing list, and get involved.
Annual Conference For Festival Organizers
For the second consecutive year, the IFP Festival Forum is partnering with the Art House Convergence (AHC) to offer a series of panels, events and professional development opportunities for film festival leaders and staff during the 2015 AHC, January 19-22, 2015 in Midway, Utah. The AHC provides a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues, film industry professionals and leaders in the non-profit film exhibition community, and to discuss our shared challenges and successes.
Set during the days before the Sundance Film Festival, the AHC offers a relaxed atmosphere for meetings and conversations before the business of Sundance begins. It is also a chance to combine a terrific conference and Sundance into one plane ticket, an efficiency we can all appreciate!
This year, the Festival Forum will offer a set of panels integrated into the AHC’s overall agenda, with a diverse group of speakers, experts and panelists on hand, allowing delegates to focus on issues specific to film festivals as well as broader issues of non-profit management in the film community.
If you have a panel idea you would like to propose, or if you are interested in participating on a panel as a panelist, please download the submission form here (festivals may ignore the deadline).
Also, if you are willing, please take a moment to share this post with your colleagues, as we would love to expand our pool of attending festivals.
Finally, it is important to say that the Festival Forum receives no financial support from the AHC and receives no money from this event. Your event registration fee goes directly to the AHC, covering the cost of putting on the conference, and includes your meals. The AHC itself is a non-profit conference; our shared goal is to keep costs low and the event accessible to as many organizations as is possible while still putting on a meaningful event.
As such, The AHC is offering Film Festival delegates the $450 rate until December 31, 2014. This represents a significant savings and gives delegates time to plan their trip.
If you are interested in attending, please click here or check out the flyer below to register.
We look forward to the opportunity to spend time together with our festival colleagues and hope you will join us for another wonderful conference.
See you in Midway!
P.S. If you weren’t able to join us at the IFP Festival Forum at Independent Film Week, check out our Takeaways post, including full presentations and contact info for the presenters!
For the first time the IFP Festival Forum partnered with the Art House Convergence to present a Film Festival track at the annual conference January 13-15 in Midway, Utah. The IFP Festival Forum at the Art House Convergence conference featured inspirational speakers, informative sessions and panel discussions that provided productive tips about programming, marketing, fundraising, technology and industry trends to help improve the quality and effectiveness of festivals. Over 50 film festival organizers attended the inaugural event, and over 70% of the art houses in attendance present or host film festivals, creating a vibrant exchange of best practices, curatorial efficiencies, research and advocacy discussions. Plans to make next year’s Festival Forum at the Art House Convergence even more meaningful and accessible to members are underway.
Following the Art House Convergence, more than 150 festival organizers had the opportunity to convene again at the annual Sundance Film Festival Organizer Brunch, held during the Sundance Film Festival. See photos below from the conference. We hope to see you at both events again next year!