Welcome To Movie Church…

The third and final instalment of Sally Folkard’s blog from Art House Convergence 2015

Laby Untitled

I have to admit it was a relief that there wasn’t another 8am networking session this morning so after a more relaxed start to the day I headed to the Learning from European Models session with representatives from CICAE- International Federation of Art Cinemas, Picturehouse – representing Europa Cinemas and The Loft Cinema from Arizona.

CICAE is an interesting model with the head offices in Paris they have members from across the world. Each year that host a film awards ceremony where the jury consists of exhibitors rather than actors/ filmmaker. Winners are selected on how the films will work for audiences.

CICAE also runs a training course for exhibitors each year coinciding with the Venice Film Festival there are 2 levels of training- juniors and executives which is simultaneously translated into 3 different languages. The training looks fantastic and one I’ll be promoting to Hub Members when I get back to the UK.

Alamo Drafthouse hosted the next panel on their Action Pack Cinema model- I was surprised to see them looking so awake (and dressed as David Bowie’s Goblin King from Labyrinth) as I hear their Convergence parties cause more than a few sore heads! Action Pack is a series of interactive hosted nights which have included Indiana Jones Quote-a-long together with giant real life boulder and my personal favourite – Glow in the Dark Kanye West Sing-a-long! Back on the cinema thread it would be easy to write these events off as gimmicky, and yes they are, but Drafthouse make it clear that these events make money or they wouldn’t do them, their audiences are varied and diverse.

Key tips:

  • Events have to be hosted – it’s part of the experience
  • This is Movie Church – it IS about the film, you’re there to celebrate the movie not talk and text throughout
  • Be careful about title choice – you have to care about the film and have ideas about how it will work
  • Develop a hook….yes a gimmick
  • This is still serious stuff so you have to have an event producer, a plan and a clear budget
  • Invite the press – make them your best friend it will pay off!

I left the session exciting about the evening’s Labyrinth Quote-a-long and eager to plot how to bring Drafthouse into TWU discussions….

After making good use of my snow boots wading across the road to the other venue I joined a group of film festivals to discuss board development. This was particularly interesting as we are looking to open recruitment for our Hub Steering Group soon…however I soon realised this was not for me as in the US board members come on board on a Give-to-Get system- basically they have to contribute to the festival/ venue to apply to be on the board- some have a minimum of $30,000- any takers?

Moving swiftly on I picked up some insight from the critics panel including Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood, Indiewire) and Variety. Is the term art-house useful at all—should it just be smart films?! Indiewire run a critics mentorship scheme, the lines are blurred between blogger, commentator, critic, journalist- how good are we in the UK at encouraging development in this area?

I left the panel wondering how true one of their points was “Every programmer thinks every film in their programme is great…” Do they? I’m not so sure, good programmers select and curate for their audiences not for themselves, don’t they? Maybe I’m wrong….the critics seem to think so!

So it’s Labyrinth quote-a-long, a leaving brunch tomorrow and then a sad goodbye to Utah. We picked up a number of good ideas for TWU, met some great speakers who we will continue to work with on our return and networking with what felt like the whole of America! No more 8am speed sessions for me!