Moviemaker Dialogue: Film Festival Strategies

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Date and Time

Thu, Dec 12
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


FREE for AFS MAKE and LOVE members; $7 for AFS WATCH members and AP Producers; and $10 for General Admission.


Austin Public
1143 Northwestern Ave, Austin, TX 78702

The 2020 festival season is right around the corner. Applications are out and decisions are soon to follow. Before you find yourself on the festival circuit, you’ll want to devise a strategy for how to make the most of your on the ground experiences and how to best position your film for those application deadlines still on the horizon. To help you in that planning, AFS is convening a panel of festival savvy filmmakers and film programmers who can give insights into festival success and answer your questions in this Moviemaker Dialogue: Film Festival Strategies.

We’ll be joined by Fantastic Fest programmer Logan Taylor, SXSW Film Festival chief publicist and programmer Jody Arlington, as well as filmmakers Kenya Gillespie (JEREMIAH), Yen Tan (PIT STOP, 1985), and producer Monique Walton (BULL, PAHOKEE). Panel moderated by producer Jeffrey Brown (NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY, NOTHING STAYS THE SAME: THE STORY OF THE SAXON PUB).


LOGAN TAYLOR is an Austin-based film professor and programmer. She has worked for numerous festivals in programming and event support including Fantastic Fest, SXSW, Boston Underground Film Festival, and Austin Film Festival. She also teaches courses in communications and film at Austin Community College. She’s never afraid of any movie and always afraid of every spider.

JODY ARLINGTON will be enjoying her 5th turn as the chief publicist for the SXSW Film Festival, where she also sits on the programming committee.  She is an industry veteran with a wealth of experience in entertainment PR, issue advocacy and special events. She has helped launch several new business entities and currently consults on non-profit arts organizations, festivals, narrative and documentary independent film projects, books, and congressional education activities. Previous clients have included Sundance Institute/Sundance Film Festival, Independent Filmmaker Project, Made in NY Media Center, The American Film Institute/AFI Docs (formerly Silverdocs), dozens of independent films at all stages of the distribution cycle plus The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, The Kennedy Center Honors, Pen/Faulkner Gala, The Foundation for the National Archives, The Atlantic Council, US Treasury Department, US Mint, Indiegogo, Snagfilms, and Applegate.

KENYA GILLESPIE is a Japanese-American filmmaker and composer based in Austin, TX. His short film JEREMIAH received its international premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival (Cinéfondation) where it was nominated for the short film Queer Palm. He was also nominated for the 2019 Kodak Excellence in the Craft of Filmmaking Award. His documentary short THE CRYSTAL CITY and narrative short PRAY FOR DOTTIE were winners of the 2018 and 2019 RTF Longhorn Denius Student Showcase at SXSW. Kenya received a BA in music from Yale University and an MM in music composition from Rice University. He is currently an MFA graduate student in Film & Media Production at the University of Texas at Austin where he is in development on the narrative short film GIVE and a feature length script.

YEN TAN is a Malaysian-born writer and director. He premiered the critically-acclaimed PIT STOP at Sundance 2013. It was nominated for a John Cassavetes Awards at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Yen also co-directed UNTIL WE COULD (2014) with David Lowery, an Addy-winning PSA for FREEDOM TO MARRY that was narrated by Robin Wright and Ben Foster. His latest NYT Critic’s Pick feature, 1985, premiered at SXSW 2018 and was inspired by his Short of the Week of the same title. Yen has been a fellow of Austin Film Society’s Artist Intensive, IFP’s Film Week, and Film Independent’s Fast Track. He was named one of Out Magazine’s OUT100 of 2018. Yen is based in Austin, where he also works as an award-winning key art designer for independent films and documentaries.

 is an Austin-based filmmaker. She received a BA from Yale University and an MFA in Film from the University of Texas – Austin. Monique produced the short film SKUNK (written & directed by Annie Silverstein) which won first prize at 2014 Cannes Film Festival – Cinéfondation. She was selected for the 2016 Sundance Creative Producing Lab and was named the Mark Silverman Honoree. Monique recently produced BULL (directed by Annie Silverstein), which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard. BULL was also selected for the Deauville Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize for first film, and the Critics’ Prize.

JEFFREY BROWN has produced a number of award-winning narrative features and feature documentaries in Europe, Africa and N. America, playing festivals such as Sundance, IDFA, Tribeca, SXSW, Rotterdam, New York FF, Berlinale, Edinburgh, Durban, and being released on Netflix, HBO, Showtime, PBS, ESPN, AMC, Sky, among others. Overall, he has produced over 25 films, screened in over 100 festivals and 50 countries. Brown consults on numerous film projects and regularly conducts Documentary Master Classes internationally. He has extensive experience with foreign markets and film festivals around the globe.

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