Mitch Levine is the founder of The Film Festival Group, a global consulting firm for festivals, distribution companies and the independent film world, specializing in startup strategies, strategic planning, programming, sponsorship, marketing, industry relations, executive recruiting, administration and operations, technical production and special events. He served as Executive Director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals, produced the first Bahamas International Film Festival, the first International Emerging Talent Film Festival in Monaco and served for many years as the Production Director of the LA Film Festival. Mitch has written, produced and directed tributes to many of the world’s greatest cinema artists, directed the Spirit of Independence Award for Film Independent and was the founding producer and host of the AFI’s Great Filmmakers series. He provides extensive editorial consulting to producers and filmmakers and helps design festival, market, acquisition and distribution strategies for their films.
Mitch regularly presents the workshop, Preparing Your Film for the Global Marketplace, to festivals, universities, conferences and institutes throughout the world. The workshop deals with the many issues producers and filmmakers need to consider, from pre-production through production and post-production and everything thereafter, including markets and festivals, distribution and exhibition. He is a regular host of many of Hollywood’s Conversations With…, was the host of the Producers Forum at the Cannes Film Festival, moderates the annual Festivals and Markets panel for NALIP, is a mentor at the annual Latino Producers Academy and has chaired or participated on panels focusing on almost every aspect of the art and craft of cinema and the performing arts.
Mitch is also a film and stage director with credits the world over in theatre, film, opera and dance. He was a fellow in performance and design at the Juilliard School in New York and was the first James Cameron Fellow in Directing at the American Film Institute, where he directed COLETTE, based on the French writer, STALE IDENTITY, an homage to Hitchcock and film noir and SHADOWS, a multi-award winning exploration of love, family and the attraction of evil during the Holocaust. He directed nine episodes of the new sit-com, LIVING & LEARNING for C/W in New York and the documentary feature film, HUNGRY IS THE TIGER, which utilizes traditional performance and focuses on the food crisis in India and Indonesia. He currently has two films in post-production, the feature documentary, MORPHING GRAVITY, chronicling the creation of an aerial ballet, and the drama IN CONFIDENCE. Before his directing career, Mitch could be found trodding the corridors of the United Nations in New York as a Special Representative to the U.N. Disarmament Programs and chairman of the World Conference on Disarmament.
'Do Film Festivals need an Academy in this day and age? The answer is, resoundingly, yes! A complex mixture of the professional and the cultural, the economic and the cinephilic, film festivals today are increasingly complex beasts – and no festival is an island unto itself. Connected in a tight web of international exchanges, comparisons and manœuvres, festivals are all about giving value to particular films or particular types of films – and finding, or creating, the audiences for them. The new Film Festival Academy is ideally placed to integrate the already widely scattered field of researches, discussions, trainings and co-operative interrelationships occurring within and between the literally thousands of film festivals in the modern globe. It is a new world on every level – from the challenge of projection formats to the politics of curating – and the Film Festival Academy will open the doors to it.'
'The new Film Festival Academy initiative is to be very much welcomed by all film festival professionals and anyone interested and involved in the increasingly central role played by film festivals in the international cinema industry; this is definitely the right thing at the right time and promises to be an exciting and important development that will be of great service to all of us working in the film festival arena.'
'To focus on film festivals, not in opposition to but in articulation with critical and scholarly thought, is what world cinema needs in order to be understood in all its complexity. The Film Festival Academy deserves our applause and support for providing, for the first time, a common platform for festival professionals, critics and passionate spectators.'
'The creation of the Film Festival Academy is a very important step in the ongoing process of consolidation and exchange on the European festival scene. I wish all possible success to this important initiative.'
'The role of the film festival in today's digital world is constantly being re-evaluated and debated, but it's clear that film festivals are still as relevant and important as they have ever been. The Film Festival Academy should provide an important focus for the rich and diverse amount of film festivals in the world while giving festival practitioners an important outlet for networking and collaboration.'
'The enormous growth of film festivals – in number, location, diversity, and artistic influence – is accelerating by the day. But not until now has their importance to global culture been matched by an organization with the cinematic acumen, media savvy, networking skills, and expert leadership needed to provide top-level support, training, information, and connectivity for participants in all areas of festival activity, from programmers and publicists to filmmakers, academics, and critics. The arrival of the Film Festival Academy is the most exciting development in years for moving-image professionals everywhere.'
'The Film Festival Academy has my full support. It is amazing that in a market overflowing with all kinds of professional training it has taken until today to come up with a simple and great idea: high level opportunities for the exchange of ideas and programmes for learning more about the complex art and the technical skills of running a film festival. Anybody who has participated in any of the rather dubious endeavours that were made in this field before will appreciate the non-profit approach of the Film Festival Academy; anybody who knows its founders will trust their professional knowledge and personal integrity. I will support the Film Festival Academy in every possible way.'
'The unswerving positive response from film festivals, professionals and academics regarding the launch of the Film Festival Academy comes as no surprise. Sharing between academia and industry is essential in developing highly-trained film professionals and we look forward to the collaboration between film schools, film institutes, festivals and other film industry partners through this unique platform.'
'The Film Festival Academy has a great potential to become a truly valid platform for creative film festival professionals willing to share knowledge and experience on a collaborative basis. This initiative should be welcomed with enthusiasm and excitement.'
'The inauguration of the Film Festival Academy brings important and long overdue attention to film festivals as cultural locations for the traffic in filmmaking, from glitterati events with red carpets, to those that shed light on human rights abuses, to the world-building projects of activist communities.'
'The Film Festival Academy offers a much needed interchange of views between filmmakers, festival programmers and academics doing research on film festivals. That this interchange takes place not in the academy but at festivals themselves will be a huge boon to film festival scholarship and to an important sharing and deepening of the perspective of those interested in not only theorizing but also intervening in the continued growth of these events which play such a crucial part in the disseminating of a global cinema and in the breaking down of commerical barriers.'
To become a member, please read the descriptions of the two levels of membership to select which one better fits your needs, and then select one of the them. You will be redirected to a registration page where you will create your Film Festival Academy account, and will soon begin to benefit from the many advantages afforded by membership.
The two kinds of membership are:
PREMIUM (€90 per year, or €60 per year if taken out before 31 December 2012)
To become a member, please click below: