Developing Your Film Festival 2018

20/03/2018 - 25/03/2018

Vilnius Film Festival, Vilnius

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About the Course Scholarships Testimonials Speakers

If you want the next edition of your film festival to have a bigger audience, stronger international reputation and improved sponsorship and partnerships, this course was designed for you. Developing Your Film Festival is an intensive programme for film festival professionals, taught by some of the world’s experts on taking your festival to the next level.

Don’t just take our word for it: We are 100% recommended by our participants, which include over 120 film festivals from around the world. If you want to be next to discover the secrets of success from top film festivals, then apply now with the button above.

Developing Your Film Festival 2018 is taking place at Vilnius Film Festival. You will have the chance to make new connections and see the beautiful Lithuanian city of Vilnius, as well take in the one of the most incredible festivals in Europe.


20/03/2018 - 25/03/2018


€1200 (Scholarships are also available)


Vilnius Film Festival

About the Course

Developing Your Film Festival is taught interactively by experts from the Independent Cinema Office as well as key festival staff from the best festivals from around the world (in the past, we have welcomed representatives from the Berlinale, Hot Docs, Rotterdam, Toronto and many more). You will come away with a clear strategy that you can implement immediately, as well as new contacts from festivals around the world.

The deadline for applications is Monday 29th January 2018.

The fee for attending DYFF18 is €1200. This includes accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and some meals. There are scholarships and bursaries available to make it easier for you to attend.

On the course you will learn practical lessons about:

  • Sponsorship
  • Partnerships
  • Audience development
  • Programming
  • Press strategy
  • Income building


The fee for attending DYFF18 is €1200. This includes six nights accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and most meals.

We have a limited number of the following scholarships available:

Full scholarships worth €900 towards course fees (leaving €300 to pay in course fees)

Part scholarships worth €700 towards course fees (leaving €500 to pay in course fees)

Travel scholarships worth €200 (to spend on travel only)

To apply for scholarships, please complete the section in the application form, which can be found here. Scholarships are allocated on a first come, first served basis so early applications are encouraged.

Please note, due to funding agreements, priority for scholarships will be given to film festival professionals working for not-for-profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than €400,000 from low capacity countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) or non-EU countries that participate in the Creative Europe MEDIA Programme. This Scholarship is also open to freelance film festival professionals whose financial circumstances would otherwise prevent them from participating in the training.

In order to qualify for travel support, applicants need to live at least 50 miles from the course location. No travel expenses will be payable without official receipts.

If you have any further queries about scholarships, please email us on


100% of participants questioned said they would recommend Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) to a colleague or peer.

100% of respondents said the course was ‘very relevant’ or ‘relevant’ to their job and career development.

100% said the overall organisation of the course was either ‘excellent’ (77%) or ‘good’ (23%)

96% rated the speakers expertise as ‘excellent’

What our participants say:

“I secured a whole bunch of sponsorship for GSFF this year, including a sizable commitment from our one sponsor. Don’t think I would’ve really gone for it without DYFF15!” – Morvern Cunningham, Glasgow Short Film Festival, UK

“We changed our ticketing strategy and overall ticket sales increased by 35%. We implemented an intensive rebranding and have received rave reviews from the board, and our partners”. – Marian Spier, KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival, Netherlands

“A wonderful collaborative atmosphere” – Richard Ashrowan, Alchemy Film + Moving Image Festival, UK

“Since attending DYFF, we’ve trebled annual turnover of the festival, implemented a five year strategic plan, received international attention and acclaim for our projects and had 79% capacity at last year’s festival.” – Holly Tarquini, Bath Film Festival, UK

“Extremely insightful. The course will allow me to bring back a variety of tangible ideas which I can implement immediately.” – Damian Connor, Belfast Film Festival, UK

What our speakers say:

“It’s not only about training, it’s about collective problem solving. Having this platform where you can exchange ideas is fantastic.” – Sten-Kristian Saluveer, Industry Director Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia

“There’s such an appetite from the people here. There’s such a need for this course. It’s amazing.” – Wendy Mitchell, Film Programme Manager, British Council, UK


Catharine Des Forges

Director, Independent Cinema Office

Catharine has spent over 20 years working in the exhibition sector for a variety of organisations including the BFI and Arts Council England. She has worked as a freelance programmer and arts consultant and progammed for festivals and cinemas both in the UK and internationally. She has lectured on film at a number of UK universities and is a regular contributor to industry events and a frequent filmmaker Q&A host. Catharine founded the ICO in 2003 and has been its Director ever since.

David Sin

Head of Cinemas, Independent Cinema Office

Over the past 25 years, David has worked as a Programmer, Consultant and Distributor, on occasions two or three of these at the same time. From 1998-2002, he was Director of Cinema at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where he programmed an award winning season of Japanese experimental film, increased admissions by 100% and also made a success of the ICA’s cutting edge distribution company; releasing over 40 films including Ring, A One and a Two and Kandahar. Whilst Head of Content at the British Film Institute, he co-produced a screening of Borderline staged at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall; and A Throw of Dice with a live orchestra in Trafalgar Square.

Mindaugas Morkunas

Head of Sponsorship Development, Vilnius International Film Festival

Vilnius International Film Festival (VIFF) celebrated 21 years anniversary in 2016 with over 113 000 admissions. Mindaugas is responsible for sponsorship and development of festival organisation. After joining VIFF in 2011, he increased festival sponsorship revenues over four times. For over 14 years he worked with various festivals and outdoor events in Lithuania including fashion festival Fashion infection which is leading fashion event in the Baltics. In 2010 Mindaugas was the winner of the British Council International Young Fashion Entrepreneur competition and visited a management training course at London Fashion Week 2010. In 2012 he launched sponsorship conference in Lithuania which aims to develop sponsorship market in Lithuania and across Baltics.

Wendy Mitchell

Contributing Editor, Screen International

Wendy Mitchell is a Film Programme Manager at the British Council, where she looks after various film programmes (such as our new UK-Nigeria screenwriting lab Script Junction), as well as running the festival selector screening programme in London for the world’s top festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and many more. She is also a contributing editor at Screen International and, the global film business publications headquartered in London. Prior to joining the British Council in January 2015, she was editor of Screen International. Mitchell previously worked as staff news editor for Entertainment Weekly in New York and as Managing Editor at indieWIRE. She has also written about the entertainment business for The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Variety, Rolling Stone, the Dow Jones News Service, Time Out New York, Billboard, and the New York Daily News. She has attended hundreds of films festivals as a journalist, juror or panel moderator. She has also moderated on-stage talks with the likes of Ang Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, Pawel Pawlikoski, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Gere, David Gordon Green, Justin Chadwick, Naomie Harris and the Backstreet Boys. She is also a contributor for SkyArts’ TV series Discovering Hollywood and has appeared as a film industry commentator on the BBC, CNN, and Sky.

Jennifer Frees

Senior Director of Partnerships, Toronto International Film Festival

Jennifer Frees has diverse fundraising, marketing, and strategic partnership experience in both for-profit agency and non-profit sectors. Her innovative projects have won marketing and design awards for highly regarded international brands, as well as directly generating tens of millions of dollars for her non-profit clients. As Senior Director, Partnerships at TIFF, Jennifer provides senior sales, negotiation, property development, and account stewardship direction for the organization’s 150 corporate and hospitality partnerships. In addition, Jennifer oversees the event partnerships and bookings strategy for TIFF Bell Lightbox, TIFF's cultural institution and cinema in downtown Toronto. TIFF's Partnerships team generates ~40% of the organization’s total revenues. Jennifer resides in Toronto, Canada with her film-loving husband and screen savvy toddler.

Sarah Boiling

Independent Consultant and former Deputy Director of the Audience Agency

Sarah Boiling started her career at Tyneside Cinema, and since then she has worked in senior marketing positions at many of the UK’s most innovative cultural organisations including Broadway, Tate, and the Barbican Centre. For the last eight years Sarah was Deputy Director of The Audience Agency (and its forerunner, Audiences London) where she led projects for clients including Film London, BFI and Into Film. She is now an independent consultant specialising in audience and organisational development, facilitation and training.

Marcin Pienkowski

Artistic Director, New Horizons Film Festival

Since 2016 he is an Artistic Director of New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. Lecturer, film historian, editor and co-author of several books about films (Billy Wilder; African American Cinema; Documentary Methods in Film). Between 2011-2015 he was a spokesman and director of PR & marketing of New Horizons IFF, American Film Festival and New Horizons Cinema in Wroclaw – the biggest arthouse cinema in Europe. He worked as a communication strategist for many Polish film productions, including high-profile artistic films as well as successful blockbusters.

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