Nicky Beaumont from CINECITY attended the Developing your Film Festival course led by the Idependednt Cinema Office in July 2014
“The Developing Your Film Festival Course was a 4 day event led by the Independent Cinema Office. It was a mixture of networking opportunities, lecture, and workshop constructed around the themes of developing business strategy, audience development and maximising professional relationships.
High profile speakers included Geoff Gilmore of Tribeca Film Festival who presented a lecture on the future of film festivals in the Video On Demand era. Mikeal Fellenius, CEO of Goteborg International Film Festival delivered a talk about how he grew his festival to become the largest in Scandinavia through planning and business strategy. The notion of approaching the festival as a business was echoed later in the course in discussions about income building, which provided some useful tips on approaching sponsorship and potential sponsors.
Sarah Boiling of the Audience Agency gave some useful information on conducting Qualitative research, and I took the opportunity during a break out session to speak to her about developing a strategy for promoting cultural tourism, although she did say that it was a difficult thing to do with film. Domenico La Porta Chief Editor of Cineuropa gave an excellent presentation on how to generate online community engagement with the aim of getting your content to go viral.
Alessandro Raja, CEO of Festival Scope spoke about his experience of working with Venice Film Festival on creating an online window for preview films within a festival context. This made a contrast to Geoff Gilmore’s talk on Video On Demand and highlighted the differences between the US and Europe in this area.
On the maximising professional relationships day there was an opportunity to talk to two international film sales agents about how they approach film festivals. This was particularly relevant to my role at the CINECITY festival as I regularly deal with sales agents. Also of relevance to my role within CINECITY was Tiina Lokk’s, Director of Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, presentation on how she built her festival by developing her programme strategy year on year.
Overall the course was well run with a high quality selection of speakers. The workshops and break out sessions gave participants the time to share experiences of their own festivals and gave participants the opportunity to learn from each other. I was pleased to be able to meet Ian Francis, Director of Flatpack Festival in Birmingham, as the festival has many common elements with CINECITY. We were able to talk about the possibility of future collaborations and perhaps joint commissioning of work.
From a professional point of view the course has given me more insight into business planning and strategy. This will come in useful when I write funding applications as it has informed me better on how to write the kind of strategy documents that now form part the applications to funders that I work on for CINECITY.”
Nicky Beaumont, CINECITY, 2014