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Festival sector tailored course DYFF hits a fourth successful mark


- 34 participants and speakers, from across 17 European countries, gathered in Motovun, Croatia, to discuss the current challenges and opportunities in the festival sector

Festival sector tailored course DYFF hits a fourth successful mark
Mikael Fellenius, CEO, Göteborg International Film Festival, at Developing Your Film Festival 2014

Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) is a niche training course organised by the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), with the support of the MEDIA Programme and the British Council, and partners Motovun Film Festival and Vilnius International Film Festival. Since the inaugural edition in 2011, the course specifically designed for film festival personnel has trained over 100 professionals from across Europe in business and creative strategies in order for them to be able to expand their organisations and audiences for cultural cinema.

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The fourth edition, which took place in July 2014, welcomed festival delegates from European events such as Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Republic), Ani’mest International Animation Festival (Romania), Leeds International Film Festival (UK), Torino LGBT Film Festival (Italy), Krakow Film Festival (Poland) and Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece).

Highlights from the programme included a keynote from Geoff Gilmore (chief creative officer, Tribeca Film Festival) with the key messages: “The best festivals celebrate art but walk the line of culture and commerce” and “Festivals have a key role to play in the disruptive innovation of the entertainment industry”; Domenico La Porta (editor in chief, Cineuropa) on making online presence viral and increasing “social currency, awe and gamification... make your followers feel like insiders”; Mikael Fellenius (chief executive officer, Göteborg International Film Festival) on encouraging thinking-outside-the-box strategies to make your festival stand out from the crowd; and Tiina Lokk (festival director and programme manager, Black Nights Film Festival) on increasing their festival budget by 30% over the last six years. 

The key discussions and debates that emerged from this year’s course included: utilising technologies to reach new audiences through online festival screenings; communicating goals, ethos and value to audiences and funders; and balancing creativity and business strategies to build culturally important yet sustainable festivals. 

The mountaintop location of Motovun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a unique setting, ideal for fostering partnerships and collaborations among the inspiring, infectious atmosphere of the Motovun Film Festival (see news). After three days of intensive training and strategising, participants were able to cement new professional relationships with two days of networking, concerts and festival screenings from an eclectic international programme.

One month after the course, ICO has once again collected positive feedback from the participants. A total of 90% of them came away from the event committed to working in partnership with their fellow attendees on Europe-wide collaborations, building on the fruitful legacy established by previous DYFF alumni. 

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