Training Courses

Developing Your Film Festival 2018

20/03/2018 - 25/03/2018

Vilnius Film Festival, Vilnius

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

Supported by

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.

Kathleen McInnis

Founder, See-Through Films

A festival strategist/publicist (press agent) with more than 25 years experience, KATHLEEN McINNIS believes in employing long-range strategic planning and targeted publicity to help emerging world-cinema filmmakers cultivate new audiences and launch careers from the global film festival circuit platform. Under her company banner See-Through Films, Kathleen has curated and directs a team of international publicists dedicated to those filmmakers premiering their work at such festivals as Sundance, Toronto and Berlin: The team uses strategic festival consulting to design premiere film publicity to ensure the films, and filmmakers, reach their goals.

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.

Margo Cayla

Project Manager, Festival Scope

Launched in 2010, Festival Scope Pro has become a leading industry hub for film professionals worldwide. In partnership with prestigious film festivals, accredited members of the platform have access to programmes from over 100 festivals and organisations in order to help independent films acquire new programming opportunities and distribution deals. In 2015, a sister platform called Festival Scope was launched to help cinephiles catch-up with the line ups of international festivals including Directors' Fortnight, Locarno Festival, Venice International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. As project manager, Margo is involved in developing media partnerships and overseeing the communication campaigns of the various public initiatives. She is also actively involved in the technical developments of both platforms in order to ensure users and partners’s needs are met.

Juul Veenboer

Head of IT, International Film Festival Rotterdam

In the year 2000 Juul started as an intern at IFFR. She worked on various departments in the festival and other festivals in the Netherlands. In 2009 she became Head of Event / Production at IFFR. The department focuses on all the festival locations, technique, events, volunteers, logistics, etc. Besides production she is also involved with ticketing, database implementation and the technical development of the website. Starting from June 2017 she became Head of IT. This position was created by the IFFR because they felt the need to pay more attention to IT and innovation.

Ruth MacKenzie

Artistic Director, Holland Festival/Theatre du Chatelet

In 2017, Ruth Mackenzie became the first woman to be Artistic Director of the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, for which she is now planning her first season which will be 2019/20. She was appointed Artistic Director of Holland Festival in 2013, on a five year contract delivering four festivals 2015-2018 in Amsterdam. She was Director of the London 2012 Festival (the official cultural programme for the London 2012 Games), widely regarded as the most successful cultural programme of any modern Olympics & Paralympic Games. She has also been General Director of Scottish Opera and the Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, consultant dramaturg of the Vienna Festwochen, special adviser to 5 Secretaries of State for Culture, Media & Sport and consultant to the Barbican Centre, the LSO, Google, the BBC and the Tate, amongst others.

Paul Rieth

Film Marketing and Crowdfunding Consultant

After graduating (Media, Communication & Sociology) focusing on film and new media, he joined the Professional Media Master Class (PMMC) and participated in the Audience Design program of Torino Film Lab (TFL) in 2017. Today he works as a freelance Crowdfunding & Marketing consultant and Audience strategist based in Berlin, Germany. He consults and supervises campaigns for his clients and develops individual marketing & outreach strategies. He regularly lectures and gives workshops for festivals, organizations and film schools within Germany and around the globe. In 2015 he published his first book DOK&CROWD about financing and distributing documentary films in Germany.

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 event called “The best ad campaigns at Cannes Lions” initiators and organizers. Creativity, futuristic thinking, achieving the dreams, focusing on goals, the ability to inspire others - Algirdas traits that successfully lead him and his projects forward.

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