When the Ann Arbor Film Festival started, it was a "film" festival, accepting submissions on 16mm and other purely film formats. Now, a substantial portion of its submissions are digital, and it has developed a presence on Youtube.
In its 46th year, the Ann Arbor Film Festival is one of the longest running in North America. Each March, the festival presents a highly selective sample of the 2000 cutting edge film submissions it receives from 30 countries. As a non-profit, the festival funds its operations from donations, submission fees, ticket sales, and merchandise.
In this 9 minute segment (download iPod compatible video, 46MB), Donald Harrison, Director of Community Development, outlines how the Ann Arbor Film Festival is adapting in the changing world of media. When the festival started, it was a "film" festival, accepting submissions on 16mm and other formats. Now, a substantial portion of its submissions are digital, and it has developed a presence on Youtube.
Donald views the festival's online and offline activities as both separate and reinforcing each other. As an example of the separation, Youtube videos start to lose viewership at lengths of more than a minute while festival attendees expect programs of 70 minutes or more. However, many of the festival's producers and attendees regularly use Youtube. The festival's enduring value proposition is this changing media landscape is to allow producers, attendees, and industry people to come together in a forum devoted to innovative and pioneering film making.
In future segments, we'll explore how the festival's business model is evolving and how it competes with the over 2000 annual film festivals in North America alone.