Training Courses

Developing Your Film Festival 2019

22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019

New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland,

Applications for Developing Your Film Festival 2019 are now closed.

Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) is an intensive programme for film festival professionals, taught by some of the world’s experts on taking your festival to the next level. The course is 100% recommended by our participants, which include over 170 film festivals from around the world.

In 2019 DYFF is taking place at New Horizons International Film Festival in the beautiful Polish city of Wroclaw, which boasts the largest art house cinema in Europe.


22/07/2019 - 28/07/2019


€1250 (Scholarships are also available)


New Horizons Film Festival, Wroclaw, Poland

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). Delegates come away with a clear strategy that they can implement immediately, as well as new contacts from festivals around the world. Scroll down to see the full list of speakers for 2019.

The fee for attending DYFF19 is €1250. This includes accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and some meals. Limited scholarships and bursaries are also made available.

On the course delegates learn practical lessons about:

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


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 speaker’s 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

“Our overall ticket sales increased by 30%” – Ornela Cop, Animafest Zagreb, Croatia

“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

“It calibrated my work: what we are doing right, what we are doing wrong and how to move forward.” – Nita Deda, Dokufest, Kosovo

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.

Jennifer Frees

Vice President, 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 Vice President, Partnerships at TIFF, Jennifer sits at the organization's senior leadership table and 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.

Wendy Mitchell

Contributing Editor, Screen International and delegate for San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals

Wendy Mitchell is a journalist, moderator and film festival consultant. She is a contributing editor at Screen International (where she previously served as editor in chief) and is the editor of the European Film Academy's Close-up magazine. She is the Nordic and UK delegate for the San Sebastian International Film Festival, a consultant for the Zurich Film Festival and Zurich Summit, Connext by Flanders Image, Goteborg's Nordic Film Market and TV Drama Vision, and CPH:DOX. In the US, she previously worked on staff at Entertainment Weekly, indieWIRE, Time Inc and Rolling Stone. Her website is

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.

Clare Wilford

Independent Press & PR Consultant

Clare is one of the UK's leading film, television and animation publicists, specialising in event and film festival PR. Clare gained over ten years' experience in arts marketing and PR at organisations including the Barbican Centre, London, Opera North in Leeds, and the Arnolfini in Bristol, before moving into Film PR in 1992. She has orchestrated press campaigns for the following festivals: Berwick Film Festival; Brief Encounters, Bristol; Borderlines Film Festival; the Times BFI London Film Festival; the Cambridge Film Festival; Cinecity, Brighton Film Festival, and the Bradford International Film Festival. Clare was Associate Producer and Talent Manager for several Empire Magazine Film Awards, as well as Guest Speaker and Hospitality Co-ordinator for the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival for three years. She has also freelanced for Premier PR and Corbett & Keene for over 10 years, handling press campaigns both at international festivals and in UK distribution. From 2006 to 2009 Clare lived in New Zealand where she worked as a PR consultant for the New Zealand Film Commission. She currently lives by the sea in the North East, has a dog called Freddie and works for a variety of regional film exhibitors.

Algirdas Ramaska

Executive Director, Vilnius International Film Festival

Algirdas Ramaška is Executive Director of Vilnius International Film Festival “Kino pavasaris”, the biggest and unquestionably one of the most anticipated annual cinema events in Lithuania. Also, he is one of the initiators and organizers of “The best ad campaigns at Cannes Lions” event. Creativity, futuristic thinking, achieving the dreams, focusing on goals, the ability to inspire others - Algirdas' traits that successfully lead him and his projects forward.

Mindaugas Morkunas

Head of Sponsorship & Development, MO Museum, Lithuania

Being Head of Sponsorship at Vilnius International Film Festival for 2012 – 2018 Mindaugas increased sponsorship revenues five times which reached 30-40% budget of the festival. Over that time VIFF as property went through various development stages to open its doors to corporate partnerships. Currently he is a Head of Development at museum of modern arts MO Museum. It was designed by Daniel Libeskind Studio and opened in October 2018. For its first year MO Museum fundraised 30% revenues from sponsorship. MO has been already awarded for the best launch marketing campaign of 2018 also received few more awards as Event of The Year in Lithuania. Over the last 10+ years Mindaugas has built a diverse career providing consultations & leadership services for culture organizations of strategic planning, fundraising, development, communication, training of management teams & freelancers for art festivals of music, cinema, fashion. In 2012, he launched Smart-Sponsorship conference in Lithuania and provides various development & fundraising consultations for national cultural projects.

Sven Schwarz

Administrative Director, Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg

Sven Schwarz is the Administrative Director of Hamburg International Short Film Festival (Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg) since 2010 and is responsible for all financial, logistical and personnel aspects of one of the and oldest and biggest short film festivals in Germany. Before taking over the position at the Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg he was working at the Hamburg feature film festival (Filmfest Hamburg) from 2004 on where he was responsible for the event planning, fundraising and marketing activities of the festival. He frequently serves on International film juries and gives lectures about film festivals and is also a member of the screening group A Wall is a Screen which organises short film events in inner-city areas worldwide

Olle Agebro

Editor, Draken Film

Olle Agebro has a background in journalism and marketing and has worked with film festivals, cinemas and distribution over the past 10 years. Since 2015 he's a programmer for the Göteborg Film Festival and editor of the festival VOD platform Draken Film, he is also a member of the board of the Swedish arthouse distributor Folkets Bio and the arthouse cinema Fyrisbiografen.

Guy Borlee

Coordinator, Il Cinema Ritrovato

Since 1995, Guy has been the coordinator of the international festival Il Cinema Ritrovato, dedicated to the study of film history. He specialises in the search of the best film sources at the international level, in the management of a large production team, in the creation of musical accompaniment for silent films, in the organisation of international conferences and in the economic management of events. Also the coordinator of the summer programming Sotto le Stelle del Cinema (Under the stars of cinema), presenting film classics open-air on a huge screen on Piazza Maggiore (central square of Bologna).

Jodie de Groot

Marketing & Communication Manager, International Film Festival Rotterdam

International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is one of the biggest audience and industry driven film festivals in the world with more than 2,400 film professionals and 300,000 visits every year. As Marketing & Communication Manager Jodie de Groot is responsible for ensuring the festival meets both audiences and professionals expectations. This means generating a growing awareness across multiple communities commonly summarised as "public", infusing a strong appetite for the festival identity and programme, and obviously prompt enthusiasm and engagement before and during each edition! Those objectives are implemented through the expansion and professionalism of the Marketing and Communication team; 2019 edition more specifically focused digital and online innovations. The outcome generated a 30% online presence increase, an increase in screening room occupancy, and the launch of innovative products geared towards younger audiences.


How do I apply to attend the course?

Applications for the 2019 edition of the Developing Your Film Festival training programme are now closed. Subscribe to our mailing list to hear about up-coming courses.

Will the course be affected by Brexit?

The funding that we have received from Creative Europe in order to run this course has been confirmed no matter what the outcome of the current negotiations.

This means that the Brexit negotiations will have no effect on this iteration of the Developing Your Film Festival Training Programme.

Are festivals from outside of Europe able to attend the training?

Although the course is primarily funded by Creative Europe, we still welcome applications from candidates representing festivals that take place in any country.

Previous participants on the course have represented festivals from Japan, Peru, the USA and Mexico.

What is included within the course fee?

The fee for attending DYFF19 is €1250.

This includes six nights accommodation, course materials, film festival accreditation and most meals.

In regards to meals, this will include breakfast and lunch every day, as well as dinner on specified days. This will be confirmed at a later date.

Where is the course taking place?

This iteration of Developing Your Film Festival is taking place in Wroclaw, in collaboration with New Horizons International Film Festival.

As part of your course fees, you will receive accreditation to attend the festival during and after the course.

How long will it take for a decision to be made on my application?

Decisions will be communicated no later than four weeks after applications are received.

How will the decisions be made on applications?

Each application will be assessed by two members of senior ICO staff, who will then discuss and finalise the decision.

We welcome applications from staff members from established film festivals all over the world.

There are no restrictions on the type of film festival you represent. You may be in a paid / unpaid or freelance position at your festival but must be in a position to influence change in your organisation. You must have been working in festivals for a minimum of 2 years and be based at an established festival or event that has been running for at least 2 years.

All sessions will be conducted in English, so you must have a high level of fluency in written and spoken English.

Who should I contact if I have any further questions?

If you have any further questions about the course, then please get in touch with us via email at the following address:


Subscribe to our mailing list

What would you like to receive emails about? *
* indicates required