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Art House Convergence Plans For the Future

Art House Convergence Plans For the Future

A new national film organization has formed and thrived in the US. Art House Convergence meets yearly in Midway, in the mountains of Utah, in the days just before the Sundance Film Festival starts.
The organization is composed of US cinema art house theater owners from all over the US. Also attending are film festival directors whose regionally based
US events are held in these art house theaters.
This year over 600 people attended from all over the US. They came to network and learn. The energy and idea level here is hard to describe.. Let’s say both are very high and powerful and invigorating.

About
Art House Convergence

The idea of the Art House Convergence was born when a group of
exhibitors were brought together at the Sundance Film Festival as part
of the Sundance
Institute’s Art House Project.

For two years, this small group of exhibitors met at the
Sundance Film Festival to discuss independent film and independent film
exhibition. In 2008, the group expanded and hosted the first Art House
Convergence conference in Salt Lake City, UT, with 25 attendees.
Over the next several years, the conference attendance grew
dramatically and it moved to the Zermatt & Homestead Resorts in
Midway, UT.
By 2013, the conference attendance reached 350, including
several international art houses. The first Regional Seminar was hosted
by Cinema Arts Centre
in August, 2013. The regional seminars continue (in San Rafael,
CA in 2014 and in Boston, MA in 2015) to grow in attendance, with a plan
to expand to
multiple regional seminars annually. In 2015, over 500
exhibitors, film festivals, and allied organizations joined for the
annual conference in Midway,
UT.
In partnership with the IFP Festival Forum, the Art House
Convergence presented its second film festival track, in addition to the
dozens of art house
and independent exhibitor sessions.
The Art House Convergence, having grown into a year-round
organization, relies on several staff members and a huge number of
volunteers to coordinate
and plan all the events and programs. The organization strives
to reflect its core intention, community-based, mission-driven, in all
its programs,
seminars and conference.
The workshops
The daily dozens of workshops which are held throughout each day are
full of information for theater owners, fest heads and industry types
who also attend.
This one was about involving and interesting families and young people in theaters, activities, films etc.

Amy Averett spoke from the famous Alamo DraftHouse Cinema / theater in Austin Texas.

“Re families – What’s in the lobby is really important, keep an eye on
them, the posters. Some supplied to theaters can be objectionable.

So what’s the quality of programming? Will parents want their kids
to see this or that film? Our theater also has a restaurant for
families. We like to publicize aggressively kids’ programming. We also
have many charitable tie ins to screenings,
activities.
How can a theater get ‘ownership’ so to speak of the kids? Get them
young with great programs and courtesy, compassion, kindness.
We have a strict rule – NO texting or phones on in screenings.
We have regular Alamo DraftHouse family events. We schedule these
off ‘peak’ theater hours (e.g. mornings) and we supply special kids’
foods. We have special Teen Programs, teen oriented film screenings. We
have them fill out forms for screenings with youth oriented questions,
tests.
We have special Kids Camp. It costs them just a few dollars to
attend and all money goes to non profits and charities for families and
these last all
summer.
We have set up special family messaging. How to do this since most
staff are non parents. How do we appeal to families? What interests
them, catches their
attention?

Firstly we develop a family friendly schedule. Study school and general family event schedules and work around those.”

Mats Gilmor spoke.

He runs a theater, Palladium, in small town in southern Sweden, Vaxjo.

“They are always trying to interest and attract kids to the theater and to see films.
They have youth clubs there. How to get kids to promote film to their peers?
How to grow their audience in collaboration with the society locally? They like to promote the aesthetics of cinema.
They have many local pop up cinema events. (films screening not in theater but outside, in parks, churches, halls, etc.)
They have programs where kids will program and screen films for kids.
They sell special family tickets.
Kids can download special films to watch at home.
The main question is always how to attract the young ones to cinema.
We keep at it. Persistence is needed to attract them
Encourage parents to take their kids to the cinema.
And we especially try to claim for cinema a space in the digital arena.”

Holly Mahadeo spoke.

She manages the Enzian indie theater and Florida Film Fest in the Orlando area.
“We have regular events, series like the weekly Peanut Butter Matinee and the Family Film Series.
We are trying to bring in young children and their parents.
So we schedule these events regularly Saturday afternoons monthly plus we’ll have a special restaurant for them. And raffle prizes.
The idea is all about cultivating the next generation of film lovers – and theater goers.
We have a Science on Screen series.
These will be for kids presentations before screenings of recent museum bound archaeology arrivals locally.
We have a special Kid Fest.
This is 4 weeks long. 64 kids. 5th to 9th graders.
2 sessions or camps. 32 kids each and we break them into smaller groups. There is a young filmmakers camp (with 22 scholarships). We have guest speakers
for returning kids about film craft.
They actually make films here.
We have a Youth Acting program.
A professional acting coach. After school, 8 kids, once a week, divided by age.
They have Reel which is a short film fest by teens. Just starting.
Holiday programming. Easter egg hunt. At Xmas Santa comes by.
Kids programming. Always off hours at optimum family times. Saturday, Sunday mornings, afternoons.”
Needless to say this was an eye opening presentation, especially for those of us who have young children in our families.
All about the future and how to attract youngsters to films and theaters. And their parents.

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