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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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MEET YOUR EDITOR Bruno Chatelin - Check some of his interviews. Board Member of many filmfestivals and regular partner of a few key film events such as Cannes Market, AFM, Venice Production Bridge, Tallinn Industry and Festival...Check our recent partners.  

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Ten Ways for Festival Directors and Staff to Sharpen Their Skills

1. Ten Ways for Festival Directors and Staff to Sharpen Their Skills

I. Always work to add general knowledge and skills, improve on what you know during the slow periods. Take a computer or business class, film history or film theory class, learn marketing or work on learning a language. Many of these programs are available through the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or local business associations.
II. If your travel budget is limited, offer to serve on panels or juries at festivals.Seeing the hospitality experience from the perspective of a guest is an invaluable way to get ideas for improving service at your festival.
III. Many universities offer non-profit executive management programs. If a degree program is unrealistic for your timeline or budget, taking a single course can still be very beneficial and keep you up to date on non-profit trends and best practices.
IV. There is better festival education than attending festivals around the world in order to see and experience what others do. While observing what your peers are doing to make their festivals successful is useful, there is no replacement for a structured learning environment. Critiquing methodology, examining practices step by step and getting feedback from those with more experience can be the most effective way to improve your professional skill set.
V. Volunteer at another non-profit outside of the festival world, and maybe even outside of your area of expertise. Serving on the board of a smaller festival than yours or another non-profit, for example, is a great way to make a contribution while learning to work from a different strategic perspective.
I. Attend conferences and events like IFFS, IFP, and NAMAC. Conferences afford the staff valuable networking opportunities in an environment dedicated to enrichment. Unlike festivals where you are often pressed for time, and have to run off to a screening, conferences are designed for social interaction, sharing knowledge, and working collaboratively for the future of independent film.
II. Attend other festivals—one of the most valuable development activities for festival staff is to attend and participate in events produced by peers. Doing so not only builds relationships, but also provides the opportunity to borrow good ideas, to see what works better, and to show you what you do better. Take notes on everything, from ticketing to introductions, from festival trailer to the marketing campaign, from customer service experiences and hospitality to parties, from sponsorship activation to technical and projection set-up. You also get to watch films and meet filmmakers--social activities you may not experience while producing your own event.
III. Partner with local and regional groups: festival staff can volunteer for and participate in planning and staging regional arts, film, music, and other like events. Volunteering and co-producing events with like organizations increases efficiency, provides perspective into the way other organizations do things and saves money.
IV. Take time to go to the movies as a staff: during your off-season, try to set aside two afternoons a month to go to the movies, as a group. We all love movies--it’s the reason we all do what we do. But when we get caught up in the action, we sometimes lose sight of this. Setting aside work time to watch a movie from time to time resets this, and puts our priorities back in line.
V. If your festival employs seasonal staff, arrange work exchanges with other festivals. This serves a number of purposes including: building professional relationships with other festivals, maintaining professional skills and building knowledge, bringing in fresh ideas and providing broader perspective in the festival industry.
Special thanks to AFI Fest, Atlanta Film Festival and Seattle International Film Festival for contributing to this month’s content.
2. Monthly Sponsorship Tip
Determining the value of in-kind contributions can be a contentious issue between sponsorship buyer and seller. The challenge: Sponsors typically want to receive the full retail value of whatever is being provided.
While that sometimes is fair to the property, in many cases it is not, and regardless, it can still be difficult to determine the specific cash value.
To reach a fair market value for contributed goods and services, it is necessary to first determine which of three categories the donation falls in:
Budget relieving: By far the most desirable form of VIK, the type of partnership helps properties eliminate the costs of goods and services they would normally purchase as part of their operational expenses, such as phones, hotel stays and airline tickets.
IEG’s recommended value: cash equivalent.
Non-essential. This includes products a property does not need from an operations standpoint, but which it could use for fundraising, to enhance the attendee experience or for some other purpose.
Although these goods and services have the potential to positively impact the property’s bottom line, such results are not guaranteed. Therefore, they should not be treated the same as budget-relieving products.
IEG’s recommended value: 50 percent of cash equivalent.
Requiring additional property resources. This category includes products and services that would require the property to incur additional costs to capitalize on. For example, a sponsor gives the property product it can sell to event attendees and keep the proceeds.
For these items, the value should account for the costs to the property to generate revenue, such as building and staffing an on-site booth to sell the product on site.
IEG’s recommended value: 50 percent of cash equivalent minus implementation costs.
This monthly sponsorship tip is brought to you by IEG. For more information on our sponsorship solutions, please visit us on the Web at or contact Nancy Atufunwa at 1.800.834.4850 or
3. Being a Tiger
If any of you are fans of the PGA Tour or Tiger Woods, you will have seen commercials and ads over the past 3 years featuring Accenture’s High Performance Business research program. The campaign builds on the Tiger Woods’ image by spelling out the ingredients for becoming a high-performance business – “We know what it takes to be a Tiger.” The ads translate Tiger’s performance on the golf course into the traits shared by “high-performance businesses” – including foresight, preparation, flexibility, relentless consistency and moving from focusing on outperforming the competition to outperforming themselves.
While designed for the sphere of global industry, these principals have great relevance to the film festival community, as well. The campaign is based on a three-year Accenture research program that analyzed 6,000 companies worldwide and identified what it takes to be a high-performing organization -- one that out-performs peers across business and economic cycles, often across generations of leadership, and as measured by widely accepted financial metrics. More information about the High Performance Business research program can be found on the Accenture Website
The take home message from this is that while festivals are focused on the arts and not maximizing profits, they can still operate like an efficient business – utilize market research, consult with peers and more experienced festival professionals, work to outperform yourselves rather than the “competition” and embody traits like flexibility, consistency and preparation. So at the risk of copyright infringement, go out today and begin working to Be a Tiger!

10 Degrees of IFFS Monthly Newsletter - Issue 8

Please direct additional comments or questions to Wyatt Royce, Industry Relations & Education Program Manager, at 561-227-9452 or

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