The Film Festival Academy is an international community network platform for film festival professionals. We welcome members from the wider film community of filmmakers, distributors, film critics, students and academics. The Academy provides a credible and ethical space for knowledge exchange, vocational training, and actual collaboration.
The project was established to create specially curated industry events at and with film festivals and other film organisations, organised in parallel with many online services and activities, offering diverse festival-related content, in order to explore the nature and role of film festivals, in historical and contemporary context, and to identify the ways film festival management and organisation can be improved – combining theory and practice for the benefit of all.
WHY WAS THE FILM FESTIVAL ACADEMY CREATED?
– in response to the fact that what has traditionally been called 'the film festival circuit' (suggesting some kind of parallel track or thread running through or alongside or around the film industry itself) is actually a complex and dynamic fully-fledged industry sector, and yet unlike other recognisable industry sectors it lacks any central body or organising principles that can serve to assist individuals and organisations in drawing the map of this terrain and being useful as a platform upon which to chart a path through this complex field
– in response to the fact that of the 5,000+ events out there that call themselves film festivals, very big and very small, some 80% are under ten years old; this suggests that a great many number of people responsible for film festival management and organisation are relatively new to their position, and so could benefit from considered assistance, in a genuinely neutral and collaborative environment
– existing attempts to address these facts (whether small, one-off events happening at minor festivals, or generic conference-type affairs that have questionable credibility) are unable to fully address the complexity of the film festival industry sector, and so a space exists that the Film Festival Academy hopes to fill, thereby establishing a credible, viable, durable, ethical organisation, capable of meeting its members actual needs
– the project is the brain-child of Yoram Allon, director of Cinephilia Services, publishers of the International Film Guide, the definitive annual review of world cinema, and of academic film studies books under the name of Wallflower Press, as well as other programming and production projects, and Tomas Prasek, founder of Eventival, leading suppliers of festival data management software and keepers of one of the largest databases of film industry professionals.
WHAT WILL THE FILM FESTIVAL ACADEMY DO?
– the main activity of the Film Festival Academy will be organising specifically designed industry events, run at and with established film festivals, as well as with other film organsations, all over the world and at least four times a year; these events are to be hosted by the festivals themselves, ie as listed festival industry events, or 'in association' with them in other flexible ways, and then co-produced with them in terms of decisions regarding actual content, format, durarion, invited speakers, hospitality and networking functions etc
– these events will be themed as appropriate to where and when they are taking place, but will focus on various aspects of film festival micro-organisation and the relations of festivals to all the various related constituencies involved, from filmmakers, producers, distributors and sales agents, to film scholars and film historians, film critics and trade journalists, to national/regional film commissions and various diverse cultural organisations involved in the production and consumption of cinema and the moving image
– these activities in 'offline reality' will be complemented by a range of services and activities online, from allowing 'access' to the events themselves via various forms (eg live video broadcast and/or radio/podcast, edited transcripts of sessions etc), sophisticated means of members' interconnectivity (allowing for direct or mass contact, troubleshooting or calls for assistance, offers of collaboration or requests for advice/consultancy etc), access to many different kinds of film festival-related writing and publications (from academic work and film criticism to industry reports and festival catalogues), all the way to daily updated festival reports and industry news feeds etc.
HOW WILL THE FILM FESTIVAL ACADEMY GENERATE REVENUE?
– The Film Festival Academy will operate on a well-established membership model, whereby anyone/everyone will be invited to take out a modest annual subscription; this PREMIUM membership will allow completely free registration to industry events as well as free access to all online services and activities. Furthermore, the Film Festival Academy will be able to arrange many diverse packages for advertisers and sponsors, due to possible exposure at the events, online, and in dedicated event print literature. Finally, by virtue of having professional training as a central component of our activities, we are confident of securing external funding from various national/regional bodies whose interests include ensuring the best possible efficiencies on the part of festivals, many of which they already fund or subsidise in some way, and so again, here we can show that 'we're here to help'.
HOW WILL THE FILM FESTIVAL ACADEMY DEVELOP ITS IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES?
– not only will the Film Festival Academy invite input at any and every stage from any Academy member and look to develop its operation based on suggestions from film festival-involved people now part of the family, we are creating an Advisory Board of forty or so internationally respected experienced professionals to act as a more formally constituted steering committee, although its actual operation will be informal and voluntary
– in addition to this, there will be a layer of Honorary Members, primarily individuals already known to the Film Festival Academy principals, who will be invited to join without subscription but whose involvement, experience, contacts, and good will should prove of immediate and longstanding value
– we therefore envision the Film Festival Academy as growing into a genuinely democratic and egalitarian organisation where members are directly involved in the generation of ideas and establishment of collaborative practices, feed into the discussions regarding best practices and any other operational consideration, and are ultimately comfortable with 'where their money is going', ie the development of a professional platform designed to be of direct relevance and benefit to everyone
'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 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.'
'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 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 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.'
'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 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.'
'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 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.'
'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.'
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: