Training Courses

Developing Your Film Festival 2022

08/08/2022 - 12/08/2022

Applications for Developing Your Film Festival 2022 are now closed.  To register interest in the next edition please email

Now in its 11th year, Developing Your Film Festival (DYFF) is an internationally renowned training programme for film festival professionals. Taught by experts from some of the world’s best festivals and with alumni hailing from over 220 film festivals from around the globe, DYFF is a complete guide to taking your festival to the next level. If you want the next edition of your festival to have bigger audiences, a stronger international reputation, and improved sponsorship, this course is for you.

In 2022, DYFF is taking place in the historic city of Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The course dates are from 8-12 August. Accommodation in Edinburgh is provided from 7-13 August.


08/08/2022 - 12/08/2022


€1250 (Scholarships are also available)

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, IFFR (Rotterdam), TIFF (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.

The fee for attending DYFF22 is €1250. This includes six-nights accommodation, course materials, and most meals. Limited scholarships are also made available.

Course Location – Edinburgh

For the first time since 2017, the course returns to Edinburgh, in collaboration with the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The training will take place at the Pollock Campus of the University of Edinburgh – roughly 20 minutes from the City centre, and 15 minutes from the Royal Mile.

This year, the course is taking place at the same time as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. On the final day of the course, all course participants are invited to the opening night of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

What you will learn

During the programme, delegates will cover the following topics:

Strategic Planning & Income Building

As a part of this session, delegates will interrogate their festivals on a granular level, and begin to discuss their operation in a way they may not have done in the past. What will start as a simple SWOT analysis will lead into a greater discussion about how you can work strategically to not only be more successful but also more economically stable.

Sponsorships & Partnerships

A course favourite, delegates will partake in a workshop to develop a sponsorship strategy using real-life examples taken from festivals in the room, before presenting this strategy to a panel of industry experts.

Audience Development & Programming

Due to the vast array of films, genres and stories that are told at every film festival, there is always an opportunity to reach out to new audiences. This series of case studies and practical sessions will draw from some of the best examples of audience development currently being conducted in the field.

Press Strategy

Whilst you could have the best festival in the world, it’s sometimes a struggle to make sure that everyone knows about it, and that’s where our Press Strategy comes in. Through this workshop, you will work alongside your colleagues to develop a plan for a real-life festival to increase their press output.


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:

“There’s such an appetite from the people here. There’s such a need for this course. It’s amazing.” – Wendy Mitchell, Film Festival Consultant

Speakers - more to be confirmed soon

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

Senior Vice-President, Business Development, Toronto Region Board of Trade

Jennifer Frees has diverse fundraising, marketing, brand development, and strategic partnership experience in both for-profit and non-profit sectors. Her innovative projects have won marketing and design awards for highly regarded international brands, as well as generating over $180M for her non-profit clients. Jennifer joined the Executive Leadership Team at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in October 2020 in the role of Senior Vice-President, Business Development, where she leads the revenue-driving Commercial unit (Membership, Marketing, Events, and Partnership teams). Until this Fall, Jennifer served as Vice President, Partnerships at TIFF, where she led a team of Canada's strongest partnership and events industry professionals and one of the most successful partnerships programs in the film festival world. Jennifer is an internationally sought-after business development speaker and workshop facilitator, and provides senior sales, negotiation, and business development advisory services for a variety of charitable causes close to her heart.

Algirdas Ramaška

CEO, Vilnius International Film Festival

Algirdas Ramaška is the CEO of Vilnius International Film Festival ‘Kino Pavasaris’ – the largest cinema event in Lithuania. He has over 15 years of experience working in the film sector, with a skill set that covers cultural event organization, film distribution, communication, marketing and sponsorship. A. Ramaška also organizes the international industry event Meeting Point – Vilnius and runs Kino Pavasaris Distribution. He consults other film festivals and cultural institutions on organizational matters, lectures at international seminars, and sits on the board of experts at major cultural organizations. He focuses on creative decision-making in his work – a skill that was incredibly useful while reorganizing the 25th edition of Vilnius IFF as a digital festival due to the coronavirus pandemic. The team succeeded in making this happen within just one week, to great results. Algirdas is most passionate about cinema and cycling, which complement one another by providing him with the creative energy necessary for everyday tasks.

Wendy Mitchell

Journalist, Moderator and Film Festival Consultant

Wendy Mitchell is a journalist, moderator and film festival consultant. As a journalist, she is contributing editor and Nordic correspondent at Screen International, where she used to be editor in chief. She has also written about film and entertainment for The Guardian, Variety, IndieWire, Rolling Stone, Sight & Sound, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News and more. She is the producer of Sundance Film Festival: London, the UK and Nordic delegate for San Sebastian. She is also been a speaker, mentor or consultant for Berlinale EFM, Cannes Marche, EAVE, First Cut Lab, The National Film and TV School and more.

Dave Taylor-Matthews

UK & Europe Sales Consultant, Eventive

Dave Taylor-Matthews is an experienced festival organiser with 10 years experience in film exhibition. Dave worked on multiple editions of Encounters and Dublin International Film Festival, before joining Eventive in 2021 where he works predominantly with festivals based in the UK and across Europe. He has also been a programmer at Bristol's Cube Cinema, led an outdoor cinema project for children displaced by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, is a festival pre-selector and a BIFA voter. Dave holds an MA in curating film.

Sarah Boiling

Freelance Consultant, Sarah Boiling Associates

Sarah Boiling is a freelance consultant specialising in bringing culture and communities closer together through strategy, research and evaluation, and facilitation. Sarah held a number of senior audience development roles at organisations including the Barbican, Tate and The Audience Agency before establishing as an independent consultant in 2015. Since then she has worked with a wide range of clients to help them understand the needs of their communities, and shift their approaches to become more relevant and engaging to the people around them. She has been a regular contributor to the CICAE Art Cinema = Action + Management course, and has delivered training and development for the British Council in Malaysia, Georgia, Russia and Greece. Closer to home she works regularly with the BFI’s Film Audience Network, and with Arts Council England's Creative People and Places. Sarah is also an accredited Action Learning facilitator and coach.

Kim Yutani

Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival

Kim Yutani is the Director of Programming of the Sundance Film Festival; she assumed that role in 2018. She began programming short films for the Festival in 2006, and became a feature film programmer in 2009, focusing on US and international fiction feature films, overseeing short film programming, and working on the Festival’s Offscreen panels and conversations. She was instrumental in creating Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong, which has now expanded to become Sundance Film Festival: Asia. Kim represents Sundance internationally, serving on juries, speaking on panels, and working to cultivate relationships with film commissions, industry, and artists around the world. Since 2014, she has also overseen a collaboration with the Berlinale’s European Film Market -- housed within the Sundance Film Festival at EFM program -- which has provided exposure and sales opportunities for Sundance films immediately after world-premiering at the Festival. She started her programming career at Outfest Los Angeles, one of the world’s leading LGBT festivals, where she was the Artistic Director and the Director of Programming. She was also a programmer for the Provincetown International Film Festival. She is currently a member of the SXSW Film Advisory Board, #GoldOpen Advisory Council, and Advisory Council of Vidiots Foundation. Prior to her film festival work, Yutani was a film critic and freelance journalist focusing on independent film, and got her start in the industry as assistant to the director Gregg Araki.

Kristy Matheson

Creative Director, Edinburgh International Film Festival

Kristy Matheson is the Creative Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival. Kristy is the former Director of Film at ACMI, Australia’s national museum of screen culture, served on Screen Australia’s Gender Matters Taskforce and is a recipient of the Natalie Miller Fellowship. Kristy currently serves as a committee member for online journal, Senses of Cinema.


How do I apply to attend the course?

Applications for the 2022 edition of the Developing Your Film Festival training programme are open.

You can find all the necessary materials at the bottom of this page.

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 DYFF22 is €1250.

This includes six nights accommodation, course materials and most meals. The nights covered will be Sunday 7th August – Friday 12th August (check-out Saturday 13th August).

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

Where is the course taking place?

This iteration of Developing Your Film Festival is taking place in Edinburgh, in collaboration with Edinburgh International Film Festival. The training and accommodation is based at the Pollock Campus of Edinburgh University.

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

Decisions will be communicated no later than two weeks after the deadline for applications.

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.

How many scholarships are available?

For this course, the following scholarships are available:

10 x Full Scholarships – €900 reduction in course fees

8 x Part Scholarships – €650 reduction in course fees

10 x Travel Scholarships – €200 towards the cost of travel to attend the course

Scholarships are limited, so it is best to apply early if you are interested.

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:


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