Art House Convergence (AHC) and Film Festival Alliance (FFA) will mount a joint conference for the independent film exhibition sector to take place June 24-28, 2024 in Chicago, IndieWire announces exclusively.
Building on their previous collaborative programs over the last decade, including the FilmEx virtual conference and the Art House Convergence’s Annual Conference, this event welcomes exhibitors, distributors, and other industry stakeholders to address the future of the independent film exhibition sector (from festivals to theaters) with workshops, keynote speeches, networking, and breakout sessions.
Collectively, the two organizations represent hundreds of film exhibitors who serve millions of moviegoers each year. In an increasingly fractured industry, independent exhibitors have taken on multiple roles: curators, placemakers, and champions of independent filmmaking. Many work year-round to lure audiences to the increasingly threatened but still vibrant theatrical experience.
“As longtime collaborators with shared challenges and goals, AHC is thrilled to partner with FFA for the return of an in-person gathering next summer,” said AHC board president Lela Meadow-Conner. “Like the energy created when independent film exhibitors bring people together around movies, we look forward to harnessing that same vitality with our colleagues.”
“With the continued consolidation of studios and distributors, the ongoing financial impact of the global pandemic, and a sustained lack of resources for audience development, our eco-system is fragile and in need of a new direction,” said FFA executive director Barbara Twist. “It is imperative that we come together to build a new system that is fair and equitable, for exhibitors, for filmmakers, and for audiences. This convening provides a needed opportunity to nurture those discussions.”
Since the last in-person Convergence in January 2020, AHC has undergone an organizational transformation, turning into an independent incorporated organization with new leadership and a member-elected board of national directors with a breadth of experience. Over this same period, FFA has expanded its virtual education and year-round programming, including its Film Festival Leadership Lab, and the recent FilmEx Summit, which gathered leaders from festivals and cinemas to explore themes of sustainability and leadership.
“This new conference will look to the future of our sector,” said FFA board president Alyx Picard, “creating space for critical conversations around the value of labor, accessibility, and the constant innovation of exhibitors as they refresh, reset, and rebuild their organizations.”
“We are looking forward to the convening of exhibitors and cinematic arts professionals in Chicago – a city with a spirit of facing challenges with creativity, determination, and resourcefulness much like our colleagues and our field,” said AHC managing director Kate Markham. “We are thrilled to highlight the more than forty local Chicago cinemas and festival organizers who represent this vibrant exhibition community.”