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IDA Member Hours: Festival Strategy


A very small number of film festivals seem to hold an enormous amount of sway over a film’s sales and distribution prospects, as well as the filmmakers’ chances at creating a sustainable living through filmmaking. This perception drives many filmmakers to pin their hopes on just a handful of market-driven festivals that are most important in their region, whether it’s North America (where Sundance looms large), Europe (Cannes, which accepts very few documentaries), Asia (A-list festivals like Busan or Singapore) or elsewhere. In reality, there is a vast ecosystem of film festivals that can all contribute to the healthy life of a documentary film project, and distribution that doesn’t rely on the catalyst of perceived film festival success.

In this semi-regular IDA Festival Strategy member hours, IDA’s Director of Artist Programs Abby Sun will take 20-minute strategy sessions with select filmmakers who fill out the optional project intake form at the end of the following registration form.

As these office hours are open, all attendees will be able to observe all of the strategy sessions. Six projects will be selected to take part. Depending on interest, not every project will be selected.

In addition, attendees are required to listen or watch the 38-minute recording of the Festival Strategy Workshop, which will answer many common questions about festival applications, negotiations, and communications.

Registration is required to attend and is limited to the first 100 IDA members to sign up. Login to the IDA membership portal to register. Members with projects at any stage are encouraged to attend. Having a project to workshop is not a requirement of attending the office hours.

If you are interested in workshopping your project, you must fill out the intake form by 5 PM PT on Friday, June 2, 2023.