Australian Feature Film Summit unveils full program and virtual offering

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As next month’s Australian Feature Film Summit (AFFS) nears capacity, organizers have added a virtual offering for those unable to attend in person in Sydney.

The full program for the event was also unveiled today. Recently announced speakers include Matt Liebmann (COO, Movio), Peter Drinkwater (Group CEO, Screen Audience Research International), Michael Matrenza (Senior Marketing Director, Madman), Fiona Nix (Corporate Director, NIXCO) and Anthony Grundy (Directing Distributor, Screen Australia).

Mitu Bhowmick Lange (Filmmaker and Founder, Mind Blowing Films), Craig Rossiter (Writer, Researcher and Political Analyst), Cailah Scobie (Head of Content, Stan), Deanne Weir (Co-Founder, Storyd Group), Emma Madison (Head of commercial and industrial services, Screenrights) and Claire Gandy (general director of content, Event Cinemas).

These are in addition to previously announced speakers such as Leah Purcell and Bain Stewart of Oombarra Productions, who will unveil the creative process and business strategy behind Purcell’s upcoming feature film. The Herdsman’s Wife The legend of Molly Johnson.

In addition to the case study, the day will also include three sessions titled Capturing the Audience, Building Audience and Incentivizing Success.

The day will end with the Road Test Pitch Forum, which will see 10 producers test a feature concept with a panel of exhibitors, determining if there is an audience for their idea.

As previously announced, the panel of exhibitors includes Gandy, Michelle Gater (General Manager of Programming at HOYTS Group), Alex Moir (Head of Marketing at Palace Cinemas), Ingrid Van Den Berghe (General Manager of Luna Palace Cinemas), Sasha Close (program manager at the Brisbane & Gold Coast International Film Festivals) and Kieren Dell (general manager, Majestic Cinemas).

Held at Event Cinemas George Street, AFFS is designed to break down silos between producers, distributors, exhibitors and funding agencies to see the local feature film industry working together to create more successful films on the commercially and culturally relevant.

The event takes place alongside the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC), which will be held in the previous three days. It is expected to attract over 270 delegates and builds on the virtual Stage One event held last October.

Tickets for the virtual offer are $40 and will include a live stream of all sessions except the test drive session.

“The response to the in-person event has been overwhelming,” said summit manager Sue Maslin.

“We are delighted to be able to make the Summit as accessible as possible with a virtual offer. But it’s not a talk fest. Everyone who participates wants to see real change that will lead to better results for Australian features.

The AFFS will take place on May 12. www.affsummit.com.au

Session details below:

CAPTURE THE AUDIENCE

Moderator: Patrick May (Head of Strategic Policy and Ideas, Screen Australia)

Speakers: Matt Liebmann (COO, Movio), Sue Maslin (Producer/Distributor, Film Art Media), Peter Drinkwater (Group CEO, Screen Audience Research International)

Focus: Data is increasingly at the heart of business and creative decisions in the industry, but who has it and who needs it? How can we ask better questions, capture better data, and aggregate anonymized data so that it benefits all parts of the value chain and results in better connections between films and audiences. What don’t we get? How can producers access and work with the data?

BUILD AUDIENCE

Moderator: Sasha Close (Program Manager, BIFF & GCFF)

Speakers: Michael Matrenza (Senior Marketing Director, Madman), Fiona Nix (Corporate Director, NIXCO), Anthony Grundy (Director of Distribution, Screen Australia), Mitu Bhowmick Lange (Director and Founder, Mind Blowing Films)

Focus: Audience development at every stage of the value chain. From strategic unit advertising, social media campaigns, film festivals to distribution and exposure strategies. What better can we do to grow Australian audiences over time? Can exhibitors be encouraged to better support local films and give them time to find their audience?

INCENTIVE TO SUCCESS

Moderator: Sandy George (Journalist)

Speakers: Craig Rossiter (Writer and Researcher), Cailah Scobie (Director of Content, Stan), Deanne Weir (Co-Founder, Storyd Group), Emma Madison (Head of Business and Industry Services, Screenrights), Claire Gandy (General Manager of Content, Event cinemas)

Focus: How can we leverage investment in Australian films, dramatically increase marketing spend, offset producer and distributor risk, incentivize streamers to support cinema windows, and allow exhibitors to screen films made by streamers ? How do you provide a fair risk/reward ratio in the recovery cascade that works for all parties in the value chain?

CASE STUDY – THE DRIVER’S WIFE

Moderator: Sandy George

Speakers: Leah Purcell, Bain Stewart

Focus: What makes an idea cinematic? The creative process and how it informed business strategy. Transforming the film into a cinematic experience that engages the audience with a culturally significant work. An opportunity for exhibitors to see how production is organized up close and for delegates to better understand an entrepreneurial approach.

ROAD TEST PITCH FORUM

Manager/Moderator: David Court

Speakers: Michelle Gater (General Manager of Programming at HOYTS Group), Alex Moir (Head of Marketing at Palace Cinemas), Claire Gandy (General Manager of Content at Event Cinemas), Ingrid Van Den Berghe (General Manager of Luna Palace Cinemas), Sasha Close (Program Manager at Brisbane & Gold Coast International Film Festivals), Kieren Dell (General Manager of Majestic Cinemas)

Focus: Ten producers have 3 to 4 minutes each to test a feature film concept with a panel of exhibitors made up of both majors and independents/mini-majors. The goal is to determine if there is an audience for the idea and to answer: “Would you like to play this film in your cinema? If yes, why? If not, why not? “. The panel of exhibitors will give 5 minutes of in-session feedback on each pitch. All AIMC delegates in attendance will also be asked to complete an online survey at each location. All comments will be collated, categorized and shared privately with the filmmakers.

NETWORKING DRINKS (Sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners)

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